Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hector Lives!

There is a painting above my San Carlos, Mexico, studio door.  On first glance, I wondered whether I might paint over what was there and put one of my own up. Then one day John returned from a walk and said "Hector Vari's murals are all over Loma del Mar."

In the days to follow, I too noticed all the different beach, sea, and desert scenes throughout our little gated community.

Sure enough, upon inspection, Hector Vari's signature adorned the work. I began to wonder about this Hector Vari. Who is he? Does he live in San Carlos? Is he even alive? Our painting is dated 1987.

Part of the Hector Vari painting above the door of my studio.

One person invited me inside her place when she saw me photographing a mural outside. Senor Vari had painted scenes throughout their casita.

So my quest began to discover more about the artist that created so much art over the years in the two-hundred-resident community that we are now part of.  From an internet search, I found this information on the What's Up San Carlos website.

"While the desert landscape around San Carlos is beautiful, seeing the multitudes of murals throughout town painted by our very own Hector Vari makes the scenery even more spectacular.Hector’s hands are gnarled from arthritis from holding paint brushes for most of his life. He never had any formal art training and says that the best teacher was him practicing his drawing and painting in the streets as he was growing up. He did work at an art institute in Nogales for eleven years. His paint brushes are stiff from paint but he can certainly still create his magic with them. He paints with acrylic paint because it dries quickly and can be washed.
"If you wanted Hector to paint something for your wall or home, you can give him full creative ownership; you can tell him what you have in mind and let him run with it; or you can be even more specific. For our project, we told him what we didn’t want and then what we liked. He spent seven hours on our mural (the cacti painted around our glass blocks pictured above). It was awe-inspiring to watch him create another one of his masterpieces. He can paint anything from fruit, to landscapes, to people, to animals, to sealife, and in any size from entire walls to wall hangings.

"Hector Vari is 83 years young and has been in San Carlos for 33 years. He never married but was with the same woman for 48 years before she died of cancer four years ago. Together they produced seven children. Hector has numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren and will proudly show you their photos. Hector spends the winters in Mazatlan.
How to contact Senor Vari? "About the only way to track Hector down is to find him most days in front of Rosa’s Cantina after 10:00am painting canvases and other articles. Go see what he is currently working on, have a chat with him (his English is quite good), or pick him up for one of your very own ‘Hector Vari’s’."
A few days ago, John and I went to Rosa's Cantina for lunch. Sure enough there was a thin, older gentleman across the street. I approached the man that looked all of eighty plus years. In spotty Spanish on my part and limited English on his part, I thanked Senor Hector Vari for all his creations at Loma del Mar. He graciously accepted my words and said that the location where I had found him would be where he could be found in the future.

Knowing an artist of a place breaks down barriers of language and culture.  The need to create, to paint, to imagine unites us. For an instant, all seemed well in the world.

What is your experience when you come to know an artist from another part of the world?


  1. There's no like button. I like this story and portrait of an artist!

    1. Thank you Martha for commenting. I'll look for a like button!