Jesus Sosa Calvo

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Jesus Sosa Calvo is a carver from San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca. He began to carve in the mid 1980's after having typhoid fever. Like most of the people in rural Oaxaca Jesus struggled to support his family; before carving he was an electrician, a bee keeper, a pig breeder and a government employee, each and every one of those jobs ended by forces beyond his control.

Jesus Sosa Calvo

Jesus Sosa Calvo

When Jesus got ill and unable to work for a long time he tried wood carving. The inspiration came while he was waiting for a doctor check up and saw a pamphlet about amoebas.

While he looked at the parasite picture he decided it was going to be his signature pattern. The other decorative pattern that identifies his pieces is the painting with variegated colors on the figure's face as if it was masked.

Jesus Sosa feels blessed for he gets to do what he likes and others feel joy with his work. He continuously takes courses to learn new techniques like marionette making and to improve his skills such as painting with oil and drawing.

Jesus best known figures are cats; he makes whimsical cats with long necks, playing with balls, reading, playing jazz and lazy cats with their legs hanging.

Other animals carved by Jesus are dogs, penguins, lizards, armadillos, rabbits, rams and giraffes. He also makes a wide variety of Day of the Dead skeletons and skulls, angels, devils, mermaids, masks, dioramas and special works by order such as a pair of stilts based on a traditional dance from Zaachila, Oaxaca made for Laura Anderson Barbata's art exhibit about communities that use stilts for dancing.

Like many other Oaxacan wood carvers Jesus Sosa is helped by his family in the making process of the wooden figures; his wife and children help him carve, sand, paint and decorate his whimsical figurines.

San Martin Tilcajete, Jesus hometown, is a community with tight bonds among its inhabitants and communal work is required from its members.

Jesus has always fulfilled his duties giving his time to perform tasks such as being the Chairman of the Supervisory Board that defends the town's land, organizing the different festivities around the year, participating in the committee that was in charge of remodeling the town's church. He helps fellow carvers selling their artwork when traveling abroad and is an enthusiast participant in copal tree reforestation.

Recognition to Jesus Sosa artwork has taken him to the USA, especially to California where he has exhibit his pieces and given workshops to teach wood carving. Among the places he has visited are The Berkeley University, the South Western Museum of L.A., 50 Avenue Gallery and Blackwoolf Gallery.

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