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Angel Luis Rodriguez

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DOB:2nd October 1963
Place of Birth:Pochutla, Oaxaca
Painting Style:Mouth Painter
Member of MFPA since:    1998

I was born on October 2, 1963 in Pochutla, Oaxaca, Mexico.My childhood was as normal as any other in San Pedro Pochutla, spending time between games and the fields, working on the land and taking care of the animals we had. I attended primary education in the town´s rural school, and when I graduated I started working as a construction worker locally.

By the time I was 16, I had some practice as a bricklayer which helped me to always find work. One day, one of the engineer contractors offered a few of the workers the opportunity to work in another site close to the capital of Oaxaca. I thought it was a good offer and I accepted, even if this meant being away from the family for the first time. The construction site where we went was very close to the road, and there were electric and telephone cables just a few meters away. The construction project advanced normally for a few months. When we were building the third floor we had to go up and down taking materials and using a provisional wooden staircase that was facing the exterior. It was December 28, 1980 in the morning when I was asked to carry some rods to an upper level. I placed them on my left shoulder as I had done many times before, but I noticed that they were heavier and large.As I was passing by the second floor I adjusted them again over my shoulder since I felt they were hanging too much by the back end. When I arrived to the first resting area of the staircase, I turned to the right to take the next set of steps, and it was there where everything happened in less than one second. One of the points of a rod over-sloped towards the street and accidentally touched one of the high voltage cables. The electric shock that I received was so intense that my body was thrown in the air many meters away, until I fell on the road.I was immediately helped by the person in charge and was taken to the nearby hospital in the engineer´s pick-up.

Due to the seriousness of the lesions, the doctors decided I should be transferred to the civil hospital "Aurelio Valdivieso” in the city of Oaxaca, where they had the proper equipment and installations. To save my life, they had to amputate both my arms. After surgery I remained unconscious for 9 days and was in recuperation for 8 months. From there I was taken to a Center for Rehabilitation and Physical Education (CREE), where I received physical, occupational and psychological therapy. A metallic prosthesis called "grafios” was adapted to my body. I was there for almost 15 months, and later was taken to the Social Security Mexican Institute for Rehabilitation (IMSS). One day, as I was walking the streets in Oaxaca, I went into the Oaxaqueña House of Culture to see a painting exhibition for free.I wandered around various rooms and then went into the area of the workshops were art classes such as painting, sculpting, music, poetry and literature were offered. I was attracted by the painting workshop and I stood by the door watching the students. The teacher saw me and very politely came over and invited me in. He then invited me to participate as a student and encouraged me to paint with my mouth. So I did. The following day I returned, as suggested by the teacher, and had an interview with the Director.

When I shared the story of my accident, I was offered all the support to register as a regular student with a scholarship, including all the materials necessary.In this manner and starting in 1982, I was introduced to the fascinating world of painting. I was there until 1985, and for 3 consecutive years thereafter, I became a part of the Plastic Arts workshop "Rufino Tamayo”.I have had the support of my family every step of the way. I´ve also had the opportunity to find wonderful people that have crossed my path. One of these people with nothing to gain, informed me about the existence of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in the city of Mexico.Even though I had studied in the Oaxaqueña House of Culture and later in the "Rufino Tamayo” workshop developing my artistic capacities, I had no way of promoting my work nor obtaining income that would allow me to help my family and pay for my own expenses. So when I learned about the possibility of a scholarship with the Painters Association, I was very motivated to contact them. After sending my application and samples of my work, I waited for their answer, and thank God I was accepted. I have been a part of the Association since 1999.
They are my great family.

Paintings of Angel Luis Rodriguez
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