"Tienda de Plumas Pintadas"
The Painted Feather Store

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Arturo Balam in his Store of Painted Feathers . Miriam, Soledad, his sisters, and his wife Silvia all participate actively in the business.br>

The Store of the Painted Feathers

The "Store of the Painted Feathers" is a display of unique art. A visit in this "feather art gallery" feels like a tour inside of a museum. Visitors should take the time to look at every feather because there are many themes and it would take a lot of time to see everything they have.
Arturo Balam began creating his intricate paintings when he was in his early twenties. He was searching for a 'nook', an idea that he could market commercially. He was inspired to start a life with something to offer the tourist that no one else offered.
He and his nine siblings were raised in a home rich in cultural. His father playing the trumpet, guitar and the family grewup singing with lots of music in the house. As a child, he enjoyed the pleasure of painted and was constantly getting better. painted with oils on canvas and has two large expositions. One exposition was in Cozumel and finally, he grew to international fame with his exposition in New York. Chiapas also had an expo of his paintings. Even today, he still paints on canvas, and his paintings still sell. fstorea.jpg

He grew up in Baca, a small town in the Yucatan penninsula. It's located 20 km. NE of Merida in the Yucatan Penninsula. Today, Baca's population is less than 4400. The area,including a larger town close by called Motul, is rich in Mayan heritage. It stems from the Pre-Columbian Mayan civilization. Motul is less than 17 km. away. In the 11th century, a Spanish priest, conquered the area and established a Monastery. The culture, the people, and architecture, reflect the blended culture of Mayan and Spanish. You can see this blend in his feathers

Today, Baca's population is less than 4400. The rural area is still undeveloped, although there are now schools, municipal buildings, and stores. The rural life for the people include raising their own farm animals. Everyone raises turkeys. Every family has turkeys in their yards and garden. In order to keep them from flying around town, they cut the long wings underneath the 'arm' completely off. In Arturo's quest to search for a beautiful new medium to paint, he tried rocks, shells, sticks, and finally feathers. It was then, that a new artistic business was born. No one really knew what to do with these feathers before then. When Arturo started painting on them, he taught four of his brothers to paint on feathers, which wasn't easy as they were not artist before. But they learned well and continue to produce. The other siblings participate in the business aspect of his art. Today, everyone in his town saves the feathers in support of the town artist who has brought fame to the feathers. Everyone in his family is involved in the business.

Arturo started selling his feathers by bringing two to a store in Cozumel in 1991. They quickly sold and the store asked him for more. He thought it would be a good place for art lovers to find his feathers since it was on the cruise ship route and he was right. . Business was good and finally, in 1992, he got the permit required to have a stand in the Benito Juarez Park, the main plaza in Cozumel. In 1994, they proudly opened the store where they still thrive today. They have a second location near the Punta Langosta cruise ship pier, in the Plaza Vista del Mar that does well too.
When asked about his technique, Arturo he says that using a really good quality, soft, fine brush is important. He said any heavy brush will move the plumes on the feather, so it's the tiniest, sofest brushes that are best. He has expanded his feather art to peacock feathers, even using the smaller breed that has a different looking feather. He now creates jewelry, and combines different feathers.

Being one to constantly be looking for things to paint, over the years, he has painted shells, rocks, sticks, shells, and of course, canvas. shellfish.jpg

Searching for a new medium, he saw that when the migratory patterns of the butterflies go through his town, thousands of butterflies die, from old age and natural causes, as well as along the highway from being hit by cars. So now, they gather the butterflies to paint. fwomanlilies.jpgHe doesn't catch live butterflies to paint, only those who are already on the ground. Occassionally, they'll find a dragon fly and they'll paint it as well. dragonflyjesus.jpg

When you are shopping in the town plaza, be sure to stop at the Feather store. It's one of those impressive things that you will enjoy and tell everyone about.
The Feather store is on the plaza, just a block north of the Clock tower. It's on the west (left) side as you walk noth on the plaza.

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Feel free to contact Arturo: Email him.!

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