The smell of wax comes from the mud utensils and with heat contact invades the space; it remains in time and arrives at a workshop of a man that found in this material essence the reason of his masters: Marco Antonio Miranda Razzo, one of the main representatives of the Art of wax imagery in Mexico.
Maybe it is not by chance that he was born in Salamanca, Guanajuato, where the use of wax has a long history that started in the viceroyalty, when the Agustine monks introduced this technique, on one side, it was usual to find religious pieces, and also candles to worship virgins and saints; and on the other side, sculpture images; as time went by it ended as beautiful melted wax candles (known as escamado technique for its flaky appearance), and in characters and real life scenes. The last ones had their golden age in the XIX century. Marquess Calderon de la Barca wrote on 1841: “Especially in wax figures (The Mexican people) have reach unique mastery. They can imitate everything that surrounds them and their wax portraits are sometimes small artistic gems”. It was for sure in Salamanca where this tradition developed strong roots and allowed the village to consolidate itself like one of the tops in this variety in Mexico, especially in the Nacimiento ( wax representation of the night were Christ was born) making.
In this environment was raised Marco Antonio Miranda Razzo (1969). When he was about to turn 18 years old he learned the wax work technique almost self-taught, because he has told that he did not have any specialist teaching or support. He took courses at the National School of Anthropology and History, in Mexico City, where he assisted to diverse courses and workshops of prehispanic techniques - indigenous fabric and tapestry, natural dyes, paper making with natural fibers and sculpture with corn canes, as well as plastic arts and document preventive conservation practices, among others.
He has applied all this techniques to wax work and also to different kinds of materials, this has enabled him to refine his creations. Most of them with a religious message: Nacimientos, Jesus in a baby portrait, and virgins, among others. He also creates representations of historic and popular character, from simple creations to very elaborate antique designs.
He has his workshop at home, where with great dedication he accomplishes this particular form of art that in his hands acquires a special appreciation. He works with organic natural wax, collected in his state or in Michoacan, then he proceeds to place it in mud molds that will be sundried many days for bleaching; he cleans it and removes water drops that I may contain; and once is ready, he paints it with a mixture of special dyes, that he prepared beforehand to obtain different shades. He heats it, avoiding boiling (because this creates unwanted bubbles), and then he places it in mud molds and he shapes them according to the position that the figure will have. He polishes them to refine the feature, like veins, nails, folds, finger angles and facial expressions.
To hold body parts he uses patol wood, which is really light, and inserts them with wires. He proceeds to dress the figures in clothes that were sewn up by machine, placing and fitting the fabric in the required positions to give the impression of movement and consistency. Later on, he works on hair details; placing small accessories, some of them made by himself, like metal crowns, and he finishes working in the creations makeup, searching for a natural appearance.
For the clothing he uses special fabrics, according to the creation; silk and cotton, brocades imported from Spain, India, Japan, and China; metallic trimmings from Spain, France, and India. He also applies different techniques such as feather work, gold leaf, wax work, corn cane, amate paper, and escamado, utilized traditionally for decorative candles, this adds uniqueness and meaning to his creations.
Marco Antonio comments that he feels a great responsibility with the Mexican culture, and he wants to share his knowledge with the future generations; he has given many courses in his own workshop and in diverse cities of Mexico. In 2010, the government of Guanajuato awarded him for his 20 years as an Artisan Master and he was elected to create a Nacimiento of traditional Wax Figures that represented his state in the Vatican Museum.
In 2007 he received the Great Popular Art Masterpieces Award, Living Legends.
He is a constant researcher, and his everyday challenge is to innovate and distinguish his creation for their unique stamp.