Tony Ortiz
Oaxaca Alebrijes

“I would like to preserve my tradition, and have my daughters be the fourth generation of this work.”


Cultural Community: Oaxaca, Mexico
Location: Tucson AZ

Tony Ortiz

Tony Ortiz was born in the beautiful state of Oaxaca Mexico, a very cultural state. The art form alebrijes is widely known in Oaxaca and is the art form that Tony has been creating. Since his childhood, Tony has been connected with the practice of wood carving, which he first learned from his grandmother. This led him to learn and pick up craving alebrijes. Since then, with his mother and uncles, his family has been making alebrijes as a way of working for more than three generations.

Tony has worked at Disney World demonstrating how alebrijes are made. Alebrijes are typically made from copal wood and are painted with amazing detail, making each one unique. Tony says that to make a small one, it typically takes him about 3-5 hours, and a larger one usually takes about 12 hours, a very laborious art form! Today, he continues to create alebrijes during his spare time, with hopes of becoming a full-time artist one day.

Tony would like for this unique and beautiful tradition to be passed on to his daughters. Since his grandmother taught him, he is now teaching and involving his children in how to create alebrijes because it helps them preserve their cultural identity. And have them continue to be the fourth generation!