Alebrijes (hand-carved animals & creatures)
Born in San Antonio Arrazola, Oaxaca in 1976, Eleazar Morales is a well-known alebrije (carved wood creature or animal) artist. His recognizable style is easy to spot amongst the many Oaxacan woodcarvers of today. His realistic animals and innovative painting techniques bring his creatures to life.
He began carving at the age of 17. He uses copal wood and turns the often gnarled pieces he finds into incredible living creatures. One of the better qualities of using this wood, is that it sands down to a very smooth finish. Copal’s fragrant resin is also used for incense.
Sanding the wood is a very important step in the process of creating an alebrije. As the wood dries, small cracks are sanded out and sealed. Often, Eleazar will carve an entire animal from the same piece of wood. Eleazar’s tools are machetes, axes, and small kitchen implements.
The craftsmanship, imagination, creative and unique ability to bring his creatures to life, have earned Eleazar Morales the title of maestro (master/teacher) in his art form.