el Taller, the Workshop
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Master woodcarver Alejandro Gomez working on a Head of Christ in his backyard workshop in 1978 (JSG)
Sr. Gomez learned his carving skills in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, a center for traditional crafts of various kinds. He has carved religious statuary for several churches and individuals in the Tucson area in his more than 20-year residence here.
Juan de la Cruz shaping neon letters in his sign shop on North Stone Avenue (JSG)
Sr. de la Cruz learned glass blowing in Nogales, Sonora, and moved to neon bending as a means of making a living. His work can be seen all over Tucson.
Neon Virgin of Guadalupe and cat by Juan de la Cruz (JSG)
Sign for the el Vaquero Marinero ("The Seafaring Cowboy") restaurant by Paul Lira (JSG)
Restaurants -- and their signs -- can come and go quickly. This one, with its magnificent painting of a vaquero riding a bucking shrimp in the Gulf of California, with a shrimp boat "riding pickup" for him, disappeared after about two years of existence. Paul Lira, originally from South Texas, is responsible for many of Tucson's most interesting recent signs. He brings to his work a thoroughly Mexicano sense of aesthetics and humor.
Front of El Pico de Gallo Restaurant South Sixth Avenue (JSG)
The sign was done by Paul Lira; the window painting and store color add Mexicano touches to the assemblage.
The sign for Lizárraga's Restauranton Grande Avenue (JSG)
The ubiquitous Paul Lira created el Chilito Bandido.
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