I have just had a very enlightening interview with a young man who some of you may know. Bruno is the owner of Ajijic Original T-Shirts, the small gallery/gift shop right down from Bancomer in Ajijic. His story is like many others in this wonderful, talent-ridden town.
Born to Jose Mariscal and Sara Lazaro, Bruno was raised here in Ajijic, where he studied up until junior high school. Art being in his blood, his grandfather and uncle are also artists, Bruno was attracted to painting from a young age.
“I remember when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, most of my notebooks for school were full of drawings and doodlings,” he says laughingly.
Inquisitive by nature, Bruno was always looking for more challenges and new projects. At the age of 14, he and a few of his friends formed their first band, with Bruno playing the electric bass. He studied music for 2 years with a well-known musician from Chapala, Jorge Mans, and from there, has come a long way, playing in various different types of bands with many styles of music, from romantic ballads, to techno-banda. Currently, though, he is bass player in a Norteño style band, named As Norteño or Northern Ace.
Truly a jack-of-all-trades, this talented man is also a well-known rotulista or sign painter. His padrino, Juan Olivares, started training him in this craft when he was around 18 years old.
“I walked by and saw him working on the front of building, and asked if I could help. That is how it started.”
A simple, hard-working man, Bruno wanted to open his own business. With a wife and young son, little Bruno, he decided to ask for help from another padrino, Vicente Hernandez, a local taxi driver. The two of them went into Guadalajara and furnished him with the basics for a small workshop so he could continue sign-making in his spare time. Bruno was working as a gardener during the day.
About that time, a gentleman named Howard Goldberg moved into one of the houses where Bruno worked. Asking that the young man stay on as gardener, the two quickly became friends. After learning of Bruno’s dream of a gallery/workshop, he offered to help the young man. Things got into motion and soon a small shop close to the Plaza was being remodeled to fit Bruno’s needs.
“I owe a lot to Howard. I hope he knows how much I appreciate all of his support.” Bruno comments, “A lot of people have helped me, Luisa Julian, my family… I am a very lucky man.”
When Ajijic Original T-Shirt opened, t-shirts were about all that was available, but a short 3 years later, it’s the best place to get mementos of Ajijic, offering coffee cups, ashtrays, stickers & key-chains among others. It is also Bruno’s Gallery, and you can find a wide selection of his paintings hanging on the walls.
Last November, Bruno organized an event on the Day of the Musician, November 22, where he had a showing of his paintings, all related to music. After the success of that event, Bruno has decided to make it an annual one, and hopes that in the future, other Lakeside artists will join him in honoring music with paint.
“All of the artists in this area have inspired me in one way or another, and although I never had any formal training, I consider them my teachers. I would like to see this event eventually be a large one, with all of the artists contributing.”
This article appears courtesy of the Chapala Review, a monthly Newspaper published in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. The focus is the Lake Chapala area. The goal is to provide quality information about the area, its stories, events, history, culture and people.