Cristino Flores Medina

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Cristino Flores Medina (1937- 2007) was born in Ameyaltepec, a small village on the region called La Mezcala, on the Balsas River basin in Guerrero State. The area is inhabited by Nahuatl speaking people sharing traditions and culture.

Ameyaltepec like other neighbor villages had a pre-Hispanic pottery tradition that later evolved to the painted clay from the Balsas folk art style.

Like most of the activities in the community, craft making was a family matter. Everyone helped in the painting process. From a family of artisans Cristino began painting at a young age.

In 1962 his neighbor Pedro de Jesus invited him to Mexico City to paint wooden figurines in Max Kerlow's gallery patio. There Cristino and Pedro met Felipe Ehrenberg an eclectic Mexican artist.

Felipe fully appreciated the talent these young artists had and was able to see the cultural value of their artwork; therefore he suggested them to paint on Amate paper.

The Pre-Hispanic paper that was used by Mesoamerican cultures was still made in
San Pablito Pahuatlan, a small village in Puebla State.

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Cristino and Pedro turn into pioneers in a painting style that became one of the most valued in the country. They returned to their village and spread their knowledge. Soon amate paintings were made in the entire region.

At first Cristino painted colorful scenes but as his work evolved he changed the acrylics for pen and ink. With a simple fountain pen and India ink on rough amate he skillfully draw what he knew, what he was most proud of; his community and his culture:

The maize harvest, the deer hunting, the fishing traps him and he sons put in the river and the wood chopping. Weddings, funerals, Patron saint celebrations and Rodeos with fireworks. He became a chronicler of his town.

Through his artwork one can see how Nahuatl people from Guererro live, think and feel.

He worked in the field every day and whenever the harvest cycle allowed it he painted. Twice a year he went out of town and sold what he was able to paint in his spare time.

Each drawing took intensive work and many hours of dedication, although the themes repeated, the drawings were always different. He made them from his head.

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Cristino Flores Medina was a folk painter and his drawings present all the characteristics that define the style:

His work is fresh, natural, simple, and imaginative which gives it directness and makes it very appealing.
His artwork can be considered naïve because traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed. His drawings are bi dimensional.

The lines are fine and delicate and the composition is always balanced between the blank and the drawn spaces.
Cristino was meticulous, generous and honest and spared nothing in his work.

By 1970 Cristino Flores Medina was nationally recognized for his talent.
By the time he passed away he was internationally known and respected as a pioneer in the Nahuatl painting from the Balsas folk art style.

Just as he did, his children, Crecencio, Andres and Juanita Flores learned to paint in the house as kids and are proudly following his father steps painting on amate paper and clay.

Please click on an amate drawing below to go to the related page.

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