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  #1  
Old 07-10-2011, 05:49 PM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
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Default A chance meeting with Michelangelo

Meeting Michelangelo
My wife Franca has been asking me to paint a mural for several years.
I have always declined as I was sure that it was beyond my capabilities. One day after returning from her hairdresser she told me that she had learned of a muralist who was out of work and needed a project and his name was Michelangelo, but he prefers to be called “El Gitano.”
I was happy to know that someone other than me was willing to take on the task of being under Franca’s very particular supervision, but I was very curious to meet the man named Michelangelo who painted murals. I tried to imagine what he would look like, but all I could see was someone dressed like a Gypsy wearing a gold ring in his ear lobe.
Franca had in mind to turn a wall into the entrance of a Tuscan Villa and I knew for sure that it was a wise decision on my part to let this man take on a project that was far beyond my capabilities.
After much searching on the web Franca found several murals that she liked.
She down loaded and printed them. When she asked my opinion of what should be a fair price to pay for such a painting, I estimated it would take two weeks to complete and based my estimate on labor rates paid here in Mexico, “Around eight hundred dollars” I said.
Taking the prints she went to find The Gypsy who sleeps in his car rather than in his house with his wife. (I did not ask why.) The price for the mural was agreed upon at $300 dollars plus paint, lunch and half the bus fare needed to come here every day. His car was not running and he wanted to start project immediately.
The next day Michel Angelo came to the gate carrying a small bag with five pint size cans of acrylic paint and a stick about four feet long with a worn out 3 inch brush wired to it. “I am ready to begin” he said in Spanish. To my astonishment he was a very small man, clean shaven, well dressed and most polite, who hobbled along on two badly deformed legs that I later found out had been crushed by a horse when he was a boy.
My first thought upon seeing him was that there was no way he could climb up or down a ladder, so I asked how he intended to paint a ten foot wall,” This is my ladder” he said showing me his stick. “I have painted walls twice as tall as this with a stick.
“People always underestimate what I can do because of my legs, but I always prove them wrong. I know too well the sting of being underestimated to let such things bother me. I remember once I had a chance to work for a retired General. When I entered his office he took one look at me and told me that he needed a man who could walk. I became very angry and told him that if he put a man like me on the front line of a battle I would not run away, I would fight for him until my death.”
When do you want to start, and how long do you think the mural will take to complete? I asked. “I will start today and I will finish when I put the last spot of paint on the wall where it belongs, only then will it be done and only when I am satisfied with my work will I will sign and date it.
During our lunches together I learned more about this unusual Mexican artist. He slept in his car because he liked the freedom to think that any morning he wished to leave, he was already packed. “If I stay here much longer I will starve to death. There is little work for me here in Zihuatanejo. With the money from this work I will fix my car and soon I will go to Cancun where I will sell my small painting to the tourists that come on the cruise ships, then God willing, if I make enough money I will go to Texas where I have been before. I know there is work waiting for me there. While I am there I will buy me a new pair of boots that are made so I will not walk so crooked.”
I could see that his left leg was about two inches shorter than his right. I shook his hand and said “I am pleased and honored to have met you Miguel Angel.”
Attached Images
File Type: jpg El Gitano (2).JPG (45.4 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg first brush strokes.jpg (111.8 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg more manchas 2.JPG (111.5 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Miguel Angelo and Franca.JPG (132.1 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg signed and dated.JPG (163.2 KB, 0 views)
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:33 AM
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Roger Bleile Roger Bleile is offline
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Default Re: A chance meeting with Michelangelo

Joseph,

Thanks for passing on that experience and for the pictures of El Gitano's work. I guess the car thing is part of his Gypsy blood.

It is amazing the interesting people you meet when you become involved in the arts.

I hope that El Gitano finds success and is able to realize his aspirations.

Cheers,

Roger
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:05 PM
tomlittle tomlittle is offline
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Default Re: A chance meeting with Michelangelo

What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

Tom
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:03 AM
chujybear chujybear is offline
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Default Re: A chance meeting with Michelangelo

I cant get past this artist being paid less than half of what you had reccomended... Was his work poor? Is he an amateur?
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:23 PM
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JJ Roberts JJ Roberts is offline
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Default Re: A chance meeting with Michelangelo

Miguel is a true artist,the prospective pull me right into the painting,I feel I can walk across the stone floor and though the arched door and beyond.J.J.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:52 PM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
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Default Re: A chance meeting with Michelangelo

Quote:
Originally Posted by chujybear View Post
I cant get past this artist being paid less than half of what you had reccomended... Was his work poor? Is he an amateur?
His work more than met my expectations.The price set was his, it actually took him less than 40 hours.I paid him what he asked ,plus tipped him extra.
Here the wages for a skilled mason,carpenter,auto mechanic,etc.are about 25.00 dollars a day,Minimum legal wage is $5.00 a day for unskilled labor.
A visit to a cardiologist is $50.00, including EKG and a complete check up. Taxis are $2.50,my property taxes are $80.00 a year,garbage pick up is $3.00 per month.Fresh tuna $5.00 a pound.I could not live in the U.S.on my fixed income.I hope this clarifies things for you.
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:34 PM
JRon JRon is offline
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Default Re: A chance meeting with Michelangelo

God bless you and yours Joseph. The mural looks fantastic!_JR
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