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David Mecalco, Imagery and Artifacts Found and Combined

January 14, 2003

The first time I layed eyes upon David Mecalco's magical boxes and naïve ex-voto paintings, I was hooked. That was about eight years ago, and we have been collecting his work ever since.

Crammed between the stalls of the infamous Thieves' Market of Mexico City, a place where even cab drivers do not want to leave us…a place where our friends who live in the city advise against visiting, David is crammed between stalls filled with action figure toys, comic books, and antiques good, bad, and not so old.

But his "found art" collage boxes and paintings keep us coming back for more, and he surprises us with fantastic visual treasures on every visit.

With no formal art training, he is a true folk artist who is compelled to speak through his work combining the most unlikely bits of life into something beautiful…something soulful. An old photograph, baubles of gaudy jewelry, old baby dolls, and other discarded possessions are creatively assembled in painted boxes pealing with age, old suitcases, and anything else suitable for containing his imagination.

A few years back, things were very difficult when drinking interfered with his work and his life. But he is strong, sober and more productive than ever now, for which we are very grateful.

Last summer when a London-based artist needed ex-voto painters to continue a project whose first phase has already been exhibited at the Tate Museum, David Macalco was called upon and contributed greatly to the unique project. He has settled into a comfortable life of creating his art, providing for his family, and now enjoys a considerable following of collectors.

One thing is certain…as we venture through the crowded (and some say dangerous) stalls at the Thieves' Market, David will be waiting with something magical as our journey's reward.

By Debra Hall
ZOCALO Fine Folk Art
San Miguel de Allende, MEXICO
Pátzcuaro, MEXICO