Graphic Studio Francisco Limón (1965)
Painter and engraver
Artist of the state of Mexico, has worked primarily painting and printmaking with the studio Contrepoit (old studio Stanley W. Hayter 17), with the Danish engraver Bo Rorben Halbirk and the lithography Clot, Bramsem & Georges, Paris.
He has given numerous engraving workshops in Mexico, Europe and Asia, he has also lectured about engraving, mainly in the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris VII; was guest artist by Silapakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand where he lived two and a half years and began the studios´ project in Laos; since 2006 he lives in Oaxaca where he teaches engraving and has co-founded since four studios: with Demian Flores the studio graphical current (taga), the studio "The graphic footprint" with Alejandro Santiago, the gallery-studio of "Esteban Chapital "and currently has his studio in an independent way in which he edits graphic works of contemporary artists.
Likewise he has been dedicated to making paintings and sculptures in bronze, his work has been exhibited in various countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Denmark, Spain, France, Laos, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Peru, United States and Thailand.
The Adventure of a lifetime
The engraving with multiple techniques puts into play, different supports that he uses in the case of wood, linoleum or copper, to name only a few-not only learning (patient) of a lifetime but also a fruitful adventure. The requirement of doing without flaw a gestural mastery precise participating in the execution of a work which in turn is individual (the artist's creation) and collective (execution), indeed the various stages enroll in a course of successive operations and shared by different actors in the process. This is where the wisdom and hesitations, doubts and surprises, improvised decisions quickly are the guarantors of success in this adventure. Time is a merciless master of the game because he determines, with drawing, inking or color, the final result.
The chances of such enterprise never discouraged an artist like Francisco Limón, open to all technical and aesthetic challenges.
The French years of Francisco are capitals, its passage in two of the most important Parisian studios undoubtedly helped to forge the continued quality of an activity pursued with passion for over twenty years: the studio of 17 S.W Hayter (where they worked between 1927 and 1965, Calder, Rotthko, Picasso, Dali, Giacometti and Matta) and the Clot Workshop, Bramsen & Georges (Created over a hundred years ago and currently led by the son of a founder, Christian Bramsen, was the passage almost forced of many Latin American artists such as Antonio Seguí- and of Mexico as Francisco Toledo, Alberto Gironella or Guillermo Arizta, and other, whether or Alechinsky or Antonio Saura).
His setting in Oaxaca is not truly a chance. Hotbed of artists, the city has numerous studios in the practice of engraving that has accompanied the paintings of great artistic figures of the region for almost a century ago; as Rufino Tamayo, for whom the mixography opened new formal expectations as well as Francisco Toledo, grand inventor of images and technical innovation; the tradition endures with the younger generation of SMEK (Javier Santos), Guillermo Olguin, Ricardo Pinto or Fernando Aceves Humana. Indeed, Mexico perpetual and cultivated with plural and neat talents of the many facets of print since the father of all the engravers, José Guadalupe Posada opened the way to a new expression, freed of academic fastening, anticipating some years true liberation that would come with Mexican figurative school out of the Revolution and the creation of the Studio of Popular Graphics in 1937.
Strengthened of its French experience and enriched by international relations knotted across the Atlantic, Francisco Limon decided to open his own studio in Oaxaca considering that this could become an additional item of knowledge and artistic exchanges between Europe and Mexico, in the same way to extend the practice of the stamp to a larger number of artists, thanks to the vast educational work and exchange glances, experiences and practices in order to feed a Mexican tradition where the hours of glory are in constant renewal.
Francisco Limón and his unorthodox engraving studio.
Even after that Francisco Limón set up an engraving studio in Oaxaca, he already had one running in his mind, with his attitude and volatile financial resources practically in every place where he have lived. I met him in Paris around 1999 in a complicated age where, nor does he or nor do I have fully trade or aid, at least talking about public recognition of him as engraving-artist, in my case, as writer. We lived within the infinite grayscale and anguished people who characterizes the city that dwelt. Paris was the ideal place to discover the complex, often tormented but generous universe of Francisco, surrounded by loquacious artists like himself, all of them touching and those who did not get tired of learning from his peculiar vision of art and life.
Although he is a native of the State of Mexico, Francisco has lived much of his life in other countries, and for some years in Oaxaca. He is a man of the world settle in a city of intense color, and that has made a peculiar engraving and printer. However, upon meeting him, Francisco already had an extensive experience as an expatriate and had achieved significant relationships with important artists and printers of Paris; between a glass of wine and another, a stew prepared by him in endless nights and repeated frequently during my stay of nearly four years in Place d'Italie, Limon told me his dream of setting up his own studio where he could gather his friends. I particularly remember the Norwegian engraver and pornographer Sverre Bojorn-Niensen, who spent long nights drinking and chatting in French triping over, rough, strident as the sound of a chainsaw, which in the case of Severre was full of invented expressions by himself result of a mixture of Norwegian and a guttural disdain, full of growls, to the human race.The topics could not be more hare-brained for subjects who felt comfortable as exiles. However, the tolerance and mental acuity shared during those heated debates, hardly have been rediscovered in other countries where I have lived. Thanks to Francisco and caravans in other engraving studios and in the homes of our friends, I could go beyond of that gray tone of life that evokes a world of ideas in the average French, to meet a bohemian Paris and touching over the years.
Francisco has never stopped learning from their teachers nor does teach who approaches his studio. I do not know how I am qualified to talk about the work of Francisco and his reputation as printer internationally recognized. I am not an expert on the subject, but something tells me he is doing something important, intense. The fact is that over time has become in an essential reference in the middle and that makes me feel proud not only to be his friend, but to know the printer soaked his craft in all its angles.
Somehow I accompanied the personal development and career of Francisco Limón and fill me with joy the huge steps taken to overcome their fears. I have at home his color engrave titled Made in Mexico. It is a scene of a street fight between two presumably drunk subjects, one subject to another already on the ground helping a dagger. Without meaning at all what has been our friendship over the years, this engrave adorns a wall in my studio in Bucareli, in Mexico City; but above all it tells me a lot of paths Francisco and I have transited to find their own voice as an artist and a reason to our lives, and sometimes in spite of ourselves, marked closely by the Mexican tragicomedy. As Francisco has stated in various interviews and conversations, one of his strongest qualities could be the accident (that I extend to life itself, even drifting as standard). Francisco takes chances and is impassioned by combining acids and etchings, in dry, lithography, aquatint, serigraph, which include sometimes beats on print plaques with whatever tool lies near. To all of this we can add benevolent red wine doses and since he lives in Oaxaca with his loving partner Loló, mescal. The results are very unpredictables like the process.
To me it is not strange that Francisco works like that, I celebrate it. Only under these circumstances it can appear that correct fusion between contemporanity, tradition, and alchemy that all artistic process take with it since its beginning.
The studio of Francisco Limon invites you to live an experience in which the goddess of Fortune and camaraderie serves the creative irresponsibility. It is a place of expositions and experiencing of projects about unique and unorthodox characters. In an atmosphere like this only the artists with unpredictable sensitivity can go beyond of their own limits.
J. M. Servín