A Signature Year: Chapapote

Chapapote: a Mexican Elixir expostulates on how the misuse of oil has been harmful to the environment. Salazar found a way to successfully take chapapote (tar) found in Mexico and effectively use it in his paintings. An environmentalist, Rose tells the story how the sinking of the tanker Prestige (some unattended irony in that name) off the Galician coast of Spain and the disaster that was wrought on the fishing and coastline there. Fishermen in Spain came to use the word “chapapote” as a sort of curse word to express their anger with the mishandling of the incident and the damage to their way of life.

Salazar writes: “For me, the most important reason to choose chapapote in my Mexican paintings was my need to use a material natural to Mexico. That does not mean that chapapote (tar) is a unique ingredient. What is ‘unique’ is my successful use of it with oil paint and spray enamels. What I have done is take a natural element found in Mexico and use it successfully in my paintings and drawings. I don’t believe that I need go on any more in commentary to say that it has served me well; it is certainly a ‘signature’ medium and makes my art with chapapote unique and collectible.”

“No other artist in Mexico, to my knowledge, has created a body of work using chapapote as impressive as Salazar or has established it as a medium worthy of consideration.” Guillermo Zajaruas, CEO, Aura Galeria, Mexico, D.F.