Cesar Menchaca, is the founder and head of Menchaca Studio, one of the most important groups promoting Huichol Art in México and abroad, founded in 2010.
Cesar Menchaca, forced both by his passion and immense love for Mexican art, invited a group of Huichol artisans, and founded the Menchaca Studio, standing up to his vision regarding the spreading and expansion of the particularity and special beauty of Huichol art globally.
The brought out handcrafted authentic creations, embodied with various tiny fine crystals beads, reveal the visions of Huichol shamans as well as Huichol history and mythology. They constitute the continuation of a variation of ritual arts, long practiced by the Huicholes. Today, the outcome of this art production leads up to an enormous support to Huichol communities simultaneously preserving and promoting the Mexican art.
The artworks of Menchaca Studio are constantly becoming part of important collections in Mexico and abroad, are exhibited in several museums in Mexico and USA, and are traded in numerous respectful auctions. They are displayed in very influential venues, around the world, including luxurious hotel chains such as: Fairmont Hotels in Canada, InterContinental Hotels in Mexico, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, etc.
Furthermore, in collaboration with established international brands, important Huichol art adaptations have been made onto designated pieces. Worthy of notice is the cooperation with:
- Johnny Walker, creating a limited edition set of fine crystals beaded whiskey bottles entirely decorated with Huichol art
- 5 Corum Watches, employing Huichol art on limited edition fine products.
Moreover, Menchaca Studio is issued with the Huichol art decoration of several racing cars for Mexico City Grand Prix, as well as with its application on helmets for the NFL.
The Longines Global Champions Tour of México has also been accompanied with astonishing Huichol art horse sculptures made by the Menchaca Studio while the Champion’s Belt of the World Boxing Council bearing the Menchaca Studio signature.
Of great importance is the monumental jaguar exhibition that will take place in Germany this year, representing and reflecting the significance of one of the most enduring symbols in ancient Mexican culture.
Hence, exhibited in various interesting art scenarios internationally, the income of the sales of the artworks of Menchaca Studio have greatly succeeded in contributing to the development of the Huichol communities in a very substantial way whilst allowing their members to feel proud of their work.
- Huichol Art: The Sierra Madre Occidental, a mountainous region in central and northwest Mexico, is home to the Huicholes, the aforementioned millenary cultural group of native Mexican Indians whose culture has survived through thousands of years.
In these territories, they have been embracing their beliefs, hidden from the modern world. Their cosmological vision holds on to laws that keep the universe in equilibrium, and define the purpose of human existence on earth.
It is a privilege to see and enjoy the Huicholes through their art, and a way to better understand and learn about them. It is amazing to see the way they place fine crystals beads to sculptures, making the most beautiful and colorful designs bead by bead, and achieving pieces of high quality and aestheticism.
The beading is excellent, with every bead in place. The tiny ‘chaquira’, or seed beads, are applied by covering the surface of a carving or bowl with a beeswax mixture called ‘campeche’. The beads are then applied one by one using a needle. The vision of the artist comes to life as soon as the beads are applied.
The images may also be clicked to bring up a slideshow of enlarged images. Because smaller size 15 beads are used – called microbeads – instead of the larger size 11, greater skill and artistry is required. The quality of the beading is unparalleled!
- The iconography in these outstanding artworks reflects some of the most important beliefs, gods, elements and traditions of Huicholes.
➞ Fire represents the main god, the ruler.
➞ Sun is being dangerous and powerful.
➞ Deer, clever and magical, imbues sexual passion.
➞ Peyote, a small cactus plant that contains psychoactive hallucinogenic properties, is a major element of Huichol culture as it allows the shaman or leader to communicate and speak with Gods.
➞ Corn maintains a deep cultural symbol related to food and daily life.
- Furthermore, traditional Huichol art is full of colours, and each colour has its own meaning. Through the ritual consumption of peyote, colours can be experienced as language and song, and stories may be revealed. Huichol art captures these stories and colourful visions and, during creation, colours are intentionally used as they are integral to the stories.
➞ Red represents the East, the Fire God Tatawari and masculinity.
➞ Blue represents the South, the Pacific Ocean, water, rain and femininity.
➞ Green represents the Earth, Grandfather, the heavens, healing, growth and heart.
➞ Orange represents Wirikuta, which is the homeland where life began. It is the sacred area where peyote that allows communication with the Gods is found.
➞ Yellow, a special root, called Uxa (pronounced Urra) found in Wirikuta, the sacred homeland. It used for face paint done before ceremonies. This is a young pilgrim in Wirikuta, the sacred homeland.
All these elements and colorations are woven together in Huichol Art, a legacy of techniques and beliefs placed in the most beautiful and stunning sculptures.
Curator’s note: Primordial Symbols ➞ Eternal Chronicles, inspired and handcrafted in Mexico for connoisseurs worldwide.
The highly praised artworks of Menchaca Studio are globally recognized for their fantastically intricate and spiritually significant application onto them of the unique and highly creative style of Mexican art known as Huichol art.
They are mainly produced by the Huichol people who alone, among the indigenous peoples of the mountains and canyons of Mexico, managed to maintain their pre-conquest religion, culture and traditions nearly intact.
In total accordance with the encoding and channeling of the stories and myths of the Huicholes, the pieces of Menchaca Studio embody their immortal ideals and their everlasting cultural beliefs. Motifs, patterns, designs, symbols that date back centuries, and carry a timeless quality, reflect a profound knowledge with regards to nature, history and civilization. Being expressed with such communicable high spirit and energy, inevitably thrust themselves into attention.
So vivacious in coloration, and vigorous in symbolism, the collection of Menchaca Studio effortlessly magnetizes the audience into its captivating world of mysticism and saga. From statement sculptural objects like skulls, down to a rich collection of enduring animal symbols of the Ancient Mexican culture, fashioned from diverse beads of high quality, and specially designed or customized in varied dimensions, they cater for many different tastes.
The graceful coherence of their morphological structure is like a descriptive narrative, like lyrics or emblems from the distant past that are as strong and echoing and forceful, as if they were generated and adorned today.
But then again, someone would wonder what makes Menchaca Studio truly significant within the Huichol Mexican art field?
I would say, the fact that Menchaca Studio never stops maintaining and preserving the original symbols of Huichol Art although consciously chooses to adopt new materials, as for instance Swarovski crystals. In addition, Menchaca Studio masterfully incorporates such new objects like Formula 1 racing cars, helmets or FIFA football game prizes, and many more, welcoming in this way the audience to a whole new impressive world of modern folk classiness.
As a result, deceptively sensational in appearance or thrilling in effect, Menchaca Studio sculptures put forward a contemporary interpretation of the Ancient Mexican folk art whose transcendent artistry still vibrates with its brilliantly colorful beads and vivid imagery. Thus, they constitute a mere paradigm of an inventive contact between ancient art techniques and modern aesthetics.
Working closely with Huichol indigenous people, Cesar Menchaca himself, the founder and the core of Menchaca Studio, states: ‘…every bead they place on a sculpture is full of history, love, accuracy and beauty…‘.
Therefore, the outstanding pieces of Menchaca Studio manage to record the sacred visions of Huichol people, and ensure the continuity and survival of their legacy whilst synchronously showcasing both sophisticated luxury and an elegant neo-Mexican appeal that turn them into a series of upper class, unique collectables and unparalleled contemporary objects of desire.
Getting up close through these iconic Huichol artworks, and becoming involved with all the surprising and impressive detail of Huichol Art, truly makes up a highly enlightening and fascinating experience.
Special Thanks to Mexican-Italian art-dealer and curator, Paola Aluzzi, for the launching of this fruitful collaboration, and the important information provided.