Antonio Coche Mendoza was born in the Tz’utuhil Maya village of San Juan la Laguna on Lake Atitlan in March of 1968. He began to draw with crayons and tempura on paper at age 7, and was painting in oil on canvas at the age of 1 2. In 2002, Antonio and his wife Angelina Quic Ixtamer opened a gallery called Galeria Chi Ya. It is the most prominent gallery in San Juan La Laguna. It is an association featuring 15 artists including several of his brothers. Antonio and his wife Angelina are the featured artists. They have one adopted daughter and also operate a small variety store next to the gallery to help bring in a little extra income.

The following are quotes from an interview with Antonio in May of 2012.

“I was the first person in my family to start painting. At that time there were no other painters in San Juan depicting popular culture such as festivals, Guatemalan buses and portraits, etc. Now there many who paint similar themes.”

“My father did chiaroscuro drawings. He worked in the fields planting corn. I am one of ten children. Now, five of my brothers paint and several have learned my techniques and style from me. At one time I taught art to children and had many students.”

“My work has been featured in many expositions both nationally and internationally and I won several prizes. Collectors have taken my work to the United States, Mexico, Israel and Switzerland.” (Antonio is represented in the UNESCO book titled “Arte Naif – Guatemala”, published in 1998. Two different paintings by Antonio Coche are pictured in that book.)

“Painting the culture and the traditions helps to preserve them, and in addition helps to validate them. Many of the residents of San Juan appreciate how we are depicting and valuing our culture through our art. It is important to paint life as it was in the past. We are happy that the painters of San Juan attract tourism.”











1998 – Biennial de Paiz, Guatemala – first prize

2003 – Pyrus Collection Gallery, Park City, Utah, USA

2003 – Oasis Café Gallery, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

2004 – American Embassy, Guatemala City, Guatemala

2004- Gallery at Library Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

2006 – “Magic Mountains, Mystic Valleys”, GINA Gallery of International Naïve Art, Tel Aviv, Israel


2001 – Art Naif: Contemporary Guatemalan Paintings, UNESCO/Fundacion Pais


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