Tribus Mixes Studio Workshop
We were fortunate enough to pay a visit to the workshop of the most independent group of Oaxacan wood carvers the ones who call themselves Tribus Mixes. One of the only carvers found in the city of Oaxaca. Their styles have often been imitated but their methods of magic defy approach.
What first impresses is the stark difference between the exterior and interior of their workspace. The outside is nondescript and small in appearance but once inside opens up into large interior stone tiled cactus gardens, showrooms for larger works, and areas specific to carving or painting.
Our earliest memories of Tribus Mixes artists were in some of the juried shows back in the 1990’s. Nobody from the other villages used their materials or made dragons, cats, or insects anything quite like them. They had the purest observations of nature that they projected into their pieces and it’s even more extravagant in 2019.
Although they prefer larger than life pieces they send to other destinations of Mexico and beyond they do a brilliant job in pieces under a foot long. Some of their natural woods are so beautiful they are reluctant to paint them. They use a variety of unusual woods such as encino, willow, ocote, cedrillos, and aguacatillos.
It’s easy to lose track of time when looking at their tremendous array of subjects. Wondering what unpainted or unassembled pieces will eventually morph into. Some painters of Mixes love complex colors while others prefer almost monotone. They cater to tastes beyond the scope of what popular artists villages have focused on over the last few decades. We were most dazzled with their birds and how they look real on tree branches. Who knows what supernatural creatures they will transform into on our next visit to the studio.