Tag Archives: mexican

Ana resting lingerie

Drawing I did of my live model Ana.

9 x 11 pencil sketch.

If you like Mexican beauty check out how Yacanex became mesmerized by Atotoztli in my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.



Maya writing workshop exhibit.

Sunday afternoon I delivered an exhibit of a Maya writing workshop I am teaching this summer. Based on a little system I created focused on children and teenagers, kids were able to experience what is to write with ancient Maya glyphs.

Maya writing is based on a system of syllables rather than letters like in latin-based writing such as English or Spanish. Syllables are represented with glyphs, as well as words or verbs. With this syllable script, kids were able to write their name with the Maya glyphs of old (through the phonetic system — that is, based with pure sounds).

Maya writing workshop exhibit. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Maya writing workshop exhibit. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

This event took place in northern Mexico City metro area. And was invited to continue doing such work, not only on ancient Maya writing, but also on my art and photography work.

The reaction from teens and children was amazing. There is genuine curiosity towards ancient Mexican heritage, especially in this Trump-driven news where Mexicans are stubbornly minimized to mere criminals. We were once great artists, poets, and articulate men and women of science. And the itch continues to become what we once were, amid governments’ agendas to suppress ancient knowledge.

Oddly enough the interest of foreigners is well-known, and we as Mexicans should learn to appreciate our history just as outsiders do. Fending off politicians that jump into the anti-Mexican rhetoric, like Donald Trump, should not be the priority of Mexicans, but to look back at what we were able to accomplish. By learning Maya writing we can actually learn to read again our own works sculpted on towering buildings instead of letting Mel Gibson set the tone about our own history with lies — like human sacrifice. No need to rely on Macy’s boycott, if we actually become what they don’t want us to be — better persons.

Learning to write Maya is also important for the sake of art and honing creativity. It is pure calligraphy, and kids learn to make different forms and building the different glyphs.

Maya writing workshop exhibit. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Maya writing workshop exhibit. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Mexican teen Gloria

Photo I shoot with my model Gloria.

I always shoot undiscovered faces or girl-next-door inexperienced ladies. Hence, most of my models have been from Mexico or Texas. It is amazing to work with them because they have a genuine drive for what the artistic side of photography represents. Eventhough I retribute their time spent in the form, they do it for the gratification of proving themselves.

I’ve discovered “civilian” women that focus on how much they are gonna earn are not only tough to work with — photographwise — but they’re actually not good at it… at all. When the art springs from the heart, amazing things can happen. That is why I stick with undiscovered girls, and not only teens like in this case — but also adults or even moms. And let me tell you, I love this approach.

Friends of friends, instagram girls, or just ladies I literally meet on the street — I invite them. Some decline, most don’t. Any other photographer may have different approaches, experiences, or well… even more budget. This is my way of doing photography art, I enjoy it and from what they’ve told me so the ladies.

My photography teacher from university once told me not to rely on paying models, to find other way of paying them like photo prints. The reason because I pitch in a bit of my budget in them is various reasons. I like to give in something in return of their time spent. There is nothing more important to me than time. To leave their jobs to go straight for a shooting instead of home, or to be changing wardrobe instead of the movie night she had prepared with her boyfriend, that means tons to me. The other reason I do pay a small amount is to keep them happy in order to have the possibility of a shooting in the near (or far) future. After all, many of them are not my friends or colleages, but raw strangers. And to believe in me based solely in my work and my words is huge.

Gloria. Copyright 2006 Miguel Omaña.
Gloria. Copyright 2006 Miguel Omaña.

Jicama vendor at Mexico City

Photo I shot at Mexico City metropolitan area. The urban sprawl is so huge that it encompasses several states. Public transportation varies from place to place within the greater Mexico City area to be able to cover all districts and boroughs.

At public transportation key places where routes link it is common to see street vendors and eateries. You can find tortas (the equivalent of hamburgers made out of french bread) as low as 1 dollar*, or amaranth bars (the ones they sell you at posh nutritional store elsewhere in the world) as low as 50 US cents*.

In this case this gorgeous lady sells jicama, which is not only nutritional but low-fat. She sells them cut and already ready set to-go. In other places they make their form as lollipops, called jicaretas. But in general you can have them prepared with chilli powder, chilli sauce, lemon, etcetera. Long ago they carried them out in the open, but now most jicama and fruit vendors display them inside a glass-protected case.

When in doubt, whenever you are going to buying food or fruit, be sure to ask them how do they prepare it. It varies from place to place, and one can learn more about how to eat it.

* Prices are given according to current peso-US dollar conversion.

Jicama vendor at Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña. Jicama vendor at Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.

Mexican girl dancing at gas station.

Photo I shot as part of documenting trades of Nuevo Laredo.

In the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border there’s a niche for young girls as dancers at gas stations or convenience stores. Usually known as edecanes, these girls usually work during weekends. Just before the sun sets one can see them getting ready with their huge speakers and strident music.

Many dancers represent a certain brand, beverage, or beer, although generally they are present to pull customers to that particular convenience store. Does it work? Who knows, because people have to go to convenience stores anyway — don’t they?

This culture of girls dancing in the streets with few clothes — literally — does not exist in Central Mexico or Mexico City. Habits and way of seeing things do change from region to region here in Mexico (just like the American South is so different from say, the West Coast).

Mexican girl dancing at gas station. Copyright 2013. Miguel Omaña. Mexican girl dancing at gas station. Copyright 2013. Miguel Omaña.

Xonaxi, Zapotec great mother.

Zapotec mother goddess Xonaxi. Oil on wood. 9 x 11.

Portrait I painted of the great Zapotec mother Goddess, Xonaxi. She created — alongside with her husband Cosana — the Earth, the Sun, and mankind.

These manifestations of reality, understood by Western minds as gods and goddesses, were actually the way Ancient Mexicans summed up nature’s phenomena. That is why there was no word for god or goddess in indigenous languages like Zapotec or Nahuatl, but only used for scholarly purposes.

She is considered protector of humans, for we are their sons. Not only Zapotec culture, but many other had and still have this concept of the mother goddess.

As an overseer of fertility, Xonaxi personifies human being’s life cycles. Xonaxi wears the Milky Way galaxy Zapotec glyph as her symbol (below her necklace). A macaw, another of her symbol, is in her headress.

If you like Ancient Mexican history and beliefs, you my enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

For custom portraits and art, please contact me.

Xonaxi painted portrait. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña. Xonaxi painted portrait. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

At the keep of the wicked.

At the keep of the wicked,
snarling to face it,
rise and rise, not once but thrice!
Amid the darkness and its skid,
Lies the night of this land dry.

Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.

Photo I shot at the Northern Mexican border.

At the keep of the wicked. Copyright 2010 Miguel Omaña. At the keep of the wicked. Copyright 2010 Miguel Omaña.

Abandoned Mexican ghost town

Photo I shot at Las Tortillas, a locality where a town used to be located in northeastern Mexico.

An hour-drive away from US-Mexico border, the abandoned site is located exactly in the limits between the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. Most of their people now live in Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey, or Ciudad Guerrero.

This is just one of the various houses that now remain abandoned, beaten by erosion.

Abandoned Mexican ghost town. Copyright 2007 Miguel Omaña. Abandoned Mexican ghost town. Copyright 2007 Miguel Omaña.