Gregorio and his wife, Vicenta, live in San Pedro La Laguna where Gregorio has his studio. They also have a small gallery in San Juan La Laguna to sell their paintings to tourists. His wife also paints and is a skilled maker of beaded belts and other accessories. The have a son and a daughter who also show much enthusiasm and talent for art.

The following are quotes from an interview with Gregorio in May of 2013: “I was born in San Juan La Laguna in 1977. Since I was a small child, I have always had artistic talent. My father liked to draw and had a lot of talent, but he was not able to support his family as an artist and had to work in the fields . Two of my older brothers are artists. I started at 16 years old to to paint for half a day and work in the fields for the other half of the day.”

I started by practicing drawing on paper from nature. My first paintings were small and I had to take them to sell in a larger town called Santiago Atitlan where I had to put them on consignment and sell them very cheaply. When I first started painting, it was hard to make a living and I suffered a lot. I hardly had enough money to buy paints and brushes and canvas. I love art. I wouldn’t be able to do any other kind of work. Sometimes I dream ideas for paintings.”

It’s very important to value our culture. Art helps to preserve our culture, and it is depicted in our paintings. It helps to remind us of the traditions which we are quickly losing. That is why we speak with our elders about the past.”

Coffee growing is a very important here because it generates work. During the coffee harvest, people come from all over to pick coffee. You can see in the paintings of the coffee harvest that many different types of typical costumes are depicted. That is because people from each village wear unique clothing which identifies them. You can also see that women carry their babies on their backs while they are harvesting coffee. You can also see people with gourds. Gourds are used to carry drinking water.”

I believe in God. When my wife who is from San Pedro wanted me to move to her town, I agreed to with the condition that I be able to build an altar in the room where I would paint. I ask God for help. God gives you surprises and I am now successful as an artist and paint full time.

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