A Lee Martinez Bibliography For Websites

I recently had the chance to connect with A. Lee Martinez to talk about his life as an author in general and his newest book in particular. I had previously read a few of his books as my buddy Craig is/was a huge fan and turned me onto his work. It was a year or so later when I got to meet Martinez in Dallas at a Waldenbooks convention and he was so utterly nice and down to earth that I never forgot that day. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to interview him, though to be fair I may have been a bit pushy during one of his Facebook Live Chats. But being the gracious individual he is, he answered all my questions and even expanded on them a bit. Keep on reading to see what all the fuss is about and learn a little more about his new book, The Last Adventure Of Constance Verity.

Geeks Of Doom: I just finished your newest novel, The Last Adventure Of Constance Verity. I had forgotten how fun your books can be. Truthfully, I’ve missed several of your releases over the years and I was quickly reminded of why I enjoy your work. What would you cite as your greatest influence when it comes to writing?

A. Lee Martinez: I don’t like the idea of having a “greatest” influence. I have influences, and those influences are constantly evolving. Some of my favorite writers are Walt Simonson, Douglas Adams, and Robert Asprin. I love Edgar Rice Burroughs and pulp. I love comic book superheroes. I love classic cartoons. I don’t discriminate. I take whatever I find worthwhile.

I’m glad you find the stories fun. I also like writing stories that are accessible and enjoyable while still having something deeper going on. The assumption that fun and depth are mutually exclusive bugs the hell out of me.

GoD: I grew up reading a lot in the seventies and eighties, during which comedy fantasy was a relatively new thing. Robert Asprin’s Myth series, Alan Dean Foster’s Spellsinger books, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Craig Shaw Gardner, Piers Anthony were big names in that sub-genre. I feel like there might have been a bit of influence from them, but at the same time I see a lot of originality that must coincide with your own person humor. Are you familiar with any of them or is your style of writing strictly your own? I hate comparing, but in my personal opinion, all of the aforementioned scribes were spectacular in their own ways.

ALM: I rarely try to write “Funny.” Funny elements just pop into my stories. I don’t think too much about influences. They’re there. I just don’t dwell on them. Honesty, I’m not a big fan of much humorous fantasy, and I know that’s weird to hear from a writer most people will consider in that category. I don’t go out of my way to read it. I’d much rather read a traditional adventure story than a funny story. Maybe because humor is so subjective and difficult to nail down. My favorite writer is Edgar Rice Burroughs and there’s almost no humor in his stories, though there is some.

I’ve never considered myself a funny writer because I think my stories work without the humor. They wouldn’t be as fun or as engaging, but they’d still work. I could be wrong.

GoD: In your latest book, Constance is trying to lead a less adventurous life. Through a myriad of random references the reader is given the impression that she has lived through some more than amazing times. Will we see any prequels involving this character?

ALM: Who knows? Hypothetically, there are hundreds of Constance Verity adventures in her past. If I had the power, I’d produce a series of fake book covers and movie posters that were homages to different genres. Young Constance getting involved in goofy kids fantasy. Teen Constance solving mysteries ala Nancy Drew. College Constance fighting Cthulhu-esque monsters. But I’m not sure how interested I am in writing those stories. Constance’s adventures in the past would be fun, but they’re just backstory.

Expanding backstory is risky. Was Darth Vader made more interesting by the time we spent with Anakin Skywalker? Was James Bond enriched as a character by talking about his childhood? I don’t think so. But I don’t rule anything out. If there’s a demand and I think of a great idea, I’d do a Constance Verity prequel.

GoD: There’s an underlying current of psychological and metaphysical intrigue that surrounds Constance at all times. This is explained and explored, but I still came away with more questions than answers. Was this intentional, since you plan on following this book with a sequel? Or am I just missing something?

ALM: I think that’s fairly common in most of my work. I don’t think we can ever have all the answers, and Constance, with her endless adventures and the metaphysical influences on her life, is unlikely to figure them all out. There might be hints of answers to come, but some of it is intentionally vague and will remain so. We all have to live with unsolvable mysteries.

We’ve also been trained to see stories as, pardon the expression, mystery boxes. But most stories aren’t puzzles to be solved, and I don’t write with the goal of teasing mysteries for the future. Even the Constance Verity trilogy is meant to be enjoyable as individual novels, but with a larger story and character arc at work. I never have written mystery for mystery’s sake. I don’t intend to start now.

GoD: Constance never seems shaken by anything except mundane life. Is that meant as a humanizing aspect of her personality or is there more subtext to it that hasn’t been explored?

ALM: It’s all about experience. We learn to deal with the world through our interactions with it. Constance hasn’t had much of an ordinary life, so the ordinary stuff is out of her wheelhouse. If you or I were attacked by zombies, we’d freeze up. Connie would grab an axe and go to work. But dating and a regular job and all the things we take for granted can confuse and even intimidate her. It’s humanizing, sure, but it’s also just an observation that how we view the world is shaped by our experiences more than anything else.

GoD: The books itself seems glib and witty, almost to a fault. But I felt that it was more than just humor for humor’s sake. Underneath it all was a person trying to find her way in life. Was this the true plot line or am I just grasping at the proverbial straw?

ALM: I never try to write “funny.” Much of the humor of the book is simply treating the extraordinary as ordinary, which is how Connie views it. Many people will no doubt see it as me not taking the story seriously, but a warped perspective doesn’t mean I’m just in it “for the jokes.” I’m never in it for the jokes. No matter how silly or weird a story may become, I always want it to be about something more than a laugh.

Thematically, all my stories are about people trying to deal with an uncertain universe, looking for their place in it, and becoming more comfortable with who they are. Connie’s story is about aliens and secret societies and ancient conspiracies and vampires and everything else, but the heart is all about dealing with the crap we all have to deal with and finding some measure of peace with the cards life has dealt her.

GoD: The secret societies and bad guys/henchmen (and bad girls/henchwomen) were obviously meant to be stereotypes. Did you have any particular characters from book or film that you based them upon? I found myself truly appreciative of the way it seemed tongue in cheek every time we met a new one.

ALM: I really liked Farnsworth, the battle butler who crams together five or six notable James Bond henchmen into one package. Other than that, most of the minions come from central casting of whatever genre they belong to. The influences are supposed to be obvious, but hopefully, they stand out in some way beyond that.

GoD: You are an advocate for the small-audience writer, in all ways. You speak often about how people can expose others to authors and books, as well as what it takes to become a writer. Is this you paying it forward? Were you helped along the way? I know a multitude of folks trying to break into the writing business, but so very few ever make it. What advice can you give to budding writers and/or artists?

ALM: I’m an advocate for more diverse and interesting media in general. I’m annoyed that we’re stuck talking about the same five or six things that end up dominating cultural attention. I’m glad that people love Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Star Trek. Good for them. But those things (and so many others) have a choke hold on pop culture, and there’s a lot of great stuff going unnoticed. You could say it was “paying it forward” because I’d love more attention for my work, but it’s not really about that. We need to make a real effort to expand our media diet. There are tons of great books, movies, TV shows that nobody cares about, and that will always irk me, whether they’re my books or someone else’s.

I don’t know if there’s any great advice or insight I can give any aspiring artist. I’ve been doing this, in one way or another, for twenty years, and I still don’t have it figured out. My best advice to artists is to create first. Nothing else matters if you don’t do that. After that, share your work. Strive to improve. Understand you’ll get rejected, and even when you do make some headway, it’ll most likely be one step forward, two steps back. Being an artist isn’t easy, but then again, not being an artist isn’t easy either. In the immortal words of Sylvester Stallone from that underrated arm-wrestling classic Over the Top, “Life isn’t going to meet you halfway.” So keep at it as long as you think it’s worth it, and when it’s not, try something else. But always keep trying. That’s good advice for artists and non-artists alike, I think.

GoD: Which one of your novels is your personal favorite? In addition to that, who is your favorite author and what book would you say tops your all-time must read list?

ALM: I don’t play favorites. With my previous ten novels all being standalone novels in different fantasy/sci fi sub-genres, I’d be hard pressed to say which is my favorite. I might love The Automatic Detective a wee bit more because I love robots and noir and retro-sci fi. But I also tend to like best what I’ve recently reread. Since that’s The Last Adventure of Constance Verity, I’ll say that. And not just because I want people to buy that book, though if they do, I won’t complain.

My must-read list isn’t probably far from most anyone else’s. I love Edgar Rice Burroughs, who isn’t a great writer style wise, but came up with some great characters and settings. If I was going to pick something current, I’d highly recommend everything Atomic Robo, a series of comic book from Red 5 publishing that feature a robot hero throughout various decades. Very pulp-influenced. Very fun. And smart as hell.

GoD: You are a full time writer, I do believe. How long did it take you to get to that point? Given the chance to do it all over, would you do anything differently?

ALM: It took me 13 years from seriously pursuing writing to first professional publication. It was four or five years after that that I went full-time. It was probably a mistake. Most writers have at least a part-time job. But for a few years, I had several film options and was earning more than I ever honestly expected to make as a writer. Since then, I’ve had good years and bad years, but it helps that I’m married. My wife earns a consistent income. The inconsistency is the trickiest part about earning a living as an artist. The money comes in spurts and is unreliable. You have to be smart, and when I get a big payday, I don’t go out and buy a new car.

Would I do anything differently? I don’t know. It all worked out. I’m not great at the what-if game. I take life as it comes, and so far, it’s going well. I earn a living doing this, which isn’t something many people are fortunate enough to do.

GoD: I haven’t read all of your books, but I am curious if any have been optioned for comic or film? Is that something you would consider knowing how normally the source writer is given minimal input? That was always a big sticking point with a lot of other authors.

ALM: I’ve had several books optioned for films/TV over the years. I’ve also worked on original material as well. I’m all for it. I get that some artists might be reluctant to dive into that pool, but I’m just happy to be asked. Novel writing is a mostly a solo project. I get input from my writers’ group, my publisher, etc., but in the end, the book is mine. Film and TV is more collaborative, but that’s not a bad thing. I expect there would be changes, and I’m cool with that. If the movie/TV show is well received, then I’m happy for the exposure and a chance to reach new people. If it isn’t, it can’t hurt me much. Either way, I can always point to the books and say “Here’s what I wrote.” That doesn’t change.

I do like collaboration. It can be a rewarding process, and the money doesn’t hurt either.

GoD: What’s next on your agenda? Anything you can tease our audience with today?

ALM:The Last Adventure of Constance Verity is the first of a trilogy. My first trilogy, in fact. So I’m still working on the next books in the series.

I have a few film/TV projects on the horizon, but I don’t know if they’ll go anywhere. One day at a time, right?

GoD: I feel like I haven’t covered everything, but I hate to take up too much of your time. What else would you like to tell our readers about?

ALM: Thanks for having me. Other than plugging my own book, I’d love to reinforce the notion of personal responsibility in diversifying our media diet. Read books by authors you don’t know. Watch TV shows you wouldn’t. Give unfamiliar movies a chance. Don’t just sit in your comfortable place. Explore. We have more power to experience new things than ever before, and it’s a shame if we don’t take advantage of it.

Also, be excellent to each other.

I also emailed him back for one more answer to a question his responses elicited from me.

GoD: Tarzan or John Carter?

ALM: I’m torn on the Tarzan vs. John Carter question. I love Tarzan for the character of Tarzan, but I love the Barsoom stories for the setting, not John Carter. John Carter is kind of a boring guy, but Mars is so fun to visit I don’t care. Tars Tarkas might be my favorite character of all time.

So there you have it, folks. It’s a pretty straightforward set of questions and answers and Martinez is obviously very passionate about his work and characters. I, for one, am quite excited to find out that his Constance Verity character is to be featured in two more books! The sheer fun of his latest book is worthy of an article unto itself and will be when I review it very soon! If you haven’t taken the plunge into the amazing novels of this author, then I urge you to do so. Everything I’ve read by him has been a blast!

Introduction:  My wife and I have been interested in the folk art created by Herón Martínez ever since we began collecting arte popular de México over twenty years ago.  But only recently did we find an early ceramic piece by this master artist for our collection.  That happened when we walked into San Angel Folk Art in San Antonio and first saw a 38” tower, topped by a cross, with a figure of St. Francis set on a platform in the middle and decorated all over with little animals and flowers.  We just kept circling it and talking with Hank Lee about Herón Martínez, wondering all the while how we were going to get such a piece safely back to Taos. 

     We already knew about Louana  M. Lackey’s excellent book, The Pottery of Acatlán, A Changing Mexican Tradition, published by OU Press in 1982 with its discussion of Herón Martínez, his village, and its pottery traditions.   Rereading Lackey’s book just whetted my appetite to know more, but there was no bibliography to lead me to other books and articles.  So I combed our shelves for additional references and photographs about Herón Martínez and his work as the idea for a bibliography began to take shape.  As this project grew, I contacted fellow Los Amigos del Arte Popular (LADAP) member Lee Price Arellano whose fine web site on Herón Martínez is noted below.  She graciously offered to review my work and provide citations to books and articles I had overlooked.  So with thanks to Lee Arellano, I submit this bibliography as a ‘work-in-progress’ – a starting point for anyone interested in knowing more about Herón Martínez who was a remarkable and creative 20th century Mexican folk artist.  Suggestions for additions to this bibliography are most welcome.  David Farmer

         1989.  This book highlights the corporate collection of Mexican folk art assembled

  • 10.Espejel, Carlos.  Las Artesanías Tradicionales enMéxico. México, D.F., 1972.  Espejel discusses Herón Martínez as uno de los ceramistas importantes de México . . . que ha dado nueva dimensión a la artesanía  de ese lugar.   (Pp. 34, 36)  Illustration on p. 26 shows a grand candelabra in burnished clay.

  • 11.

  • 12.Espejel, Carlos.  Mexican Folk Ceramics.  Barcelona: Editorial Blume, 1975.  Bibliography.  The chapter on potters in the state of Puebla contains a substantial section on Herón Martínez (pp. 74-77) with three good photographs of him and his work.  Espejel interviewed Martínez at length and quotes stories not related elsewhere.

  • 13.

  • 14.Espejel, Carlos. Mexican Folk Crafts.  Barcelona: Editorial Blume, 1978.  This book is organized around different Mexican crafts.  In the section on Pottery under “New forms” Espejel describes a candelabra by Herón Martínez “made of polished or polychromed clay entirely by hand” (p. 47). This piece is illustrated and identified in a caption on the same page.

  • 15.

  • 16.Espejel, Carlos.  The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection of Mexican Folk Art.  San Francisco: Chronicle Books and The Mexican Museum, 1986.  Bibliography.   Plate 49, p. 41 shows the same candelabra by Herón Martínez that Oettinger includes in his book noted below, but with a better photograph here and different sidebar text.

  • 17.

  • 18.Fernández, María Patricia.  El Arte Del Pueblo Mexicano.  México, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, 1975.  Bibliography.   While Acatlán is mentioned (pp. 28-29), and its ceramic work compared with Metepec, Herón Martínez’s  name does not appear in this book.  However, plate 24, a candelabro from Acatlán, looks very much like his work in burnished clay with his characteristic style.  The candelabro is built on two birds, perhaps peacocks, and is just over 49” tall.

  • 19.

  • 20.

  • 21.Foster, George M.  Archaeological Implications of the Modern Pottery of Acatlan, Puebla, Mexico. American Antiquity. Vol. 26, No. 2, October 1960, pp. 205-214.  Society of American Archaeology.  There are numerous references to Heron Martinez Mendoza and his methods for making pottery.  There are eight black and white photos showing him at work.  Brief bibliography included.

  • 22.

  • 23.

  • 24.Foster, George M.  Contemporary Pottery Techniques in Southern and Central Mexico.  New Orleans: Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University, 1955.  (Preprinted from Publication 22, pp. 1-48.  Bibliography, folding map.  Notes on Acatlán, but no direct mention of  Herón Martínez.

  • 25.

  • 26.Foster, George M.  “The Sociology of Pottery:  Questions and Hypotheses Arising From Contemporary Mexican Work” is a chapter in Matson, Frederick R., ed. Ceramics and Man.  Chicago:  Aldine Publishing Company, 1965, pp. 43-61.  Foster explores the potter’s position in society and the factors that made for stability or promoted change in style.  On p. 46, he quotes Herón Martínez who said that potters were considered the lowest in the social structure in Acatlan.

  • 27.

  • 28.Glassie, Henry.  The Spirit of Folk Art, The Girard Collection at the Museum of International Folk Art.  New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989.  Extensive notes and bibliography.  Work by Herón Martínez  is illustrated as follows:  p. 22, plate 11, “Village scene by the workshop of  Herón Martínez, painted earthenware, c. 1960;”  p. 200, plate 204, “Church by the workshop of Herón Martínez . . . painted earthenware 24” high, c. 1960;”  p. 204, plate 212, “Tree of Life by Herón Martínez  . . . painted earthenware, 42 ½” high, c. 1960.  Martínez  has been a great innovator in Acatlán, inventing forms that others have copied.”

  • 29.

  • 30.Govan, James L.  Art of the Creche - Nativities  From Around the World.  London and New York:  Merrell Publishers, 2007.  Page 68  shows a Mexican nativity set atop a rounded, burnished ceramic base.  While the artisan is labeled merely as “Unknown Artist,” the piece has all the characteristics of having been made by the Herón Martínez workshop.

  • 31.

  • 32.Gutierrez, Elektra y Tonatiuh.  El Arte Popular de Mexico. Published by Artes de Mexico, No. Extraordinario 1970-1971.  Bibliography and notes.  Herón Martínez is discussed in text, pp. 86 (Spanish) and 93 (English) as well as in notes, p. 125.  “The finest work in Acatlán is the ceramic ware of Herón Martínez, a true artist whose productions are real creations and are all different in forms and textures.  He makes candelabra with intricate branches, mermaids, and fantastic animals in somber black clay, each one a sculptured masterpiece.”  Illustrations on p. 86, color plate facing p. 87, pp. 87-89, and 91-92.  On p. 88, Martínez is shown seated and working on a spectacular piece made of animals and fantastic creatures towering above him.  Three other illustrations on pp. 88-89 show other masterpieces.

  • 33.

  • 34.Harvey, Marian.  Crafts of Mexico.  (Second edition)   México: Garcia y Valades Editores, S.A. de C.V., 1991.  Bibliography.   In Part IV on clay,  Chapter 10 is devoted to the tree of life, with discussion of potters in Acatlán, including Herón Martínez (p. 153).  More attention is given to Aurelio Flores of Izucar de Matamoros, with a step-by-step description of how he built a tree of life.

  • 35.

  • 36.Hopkins, Barbara Welles  and Florencia Muller.  A Guide to Mexican Ceramics.  México, D.F.: Editorial Minutiae Mexicana, 1986.  Bibliography.   “There is frequent change in the forms and finish of Acatlán pottery partly due to sensitivity to market demand and partly to imaginative creativity and high standards of artistic quality which really go far to make the potter into a sculptor (Herón Martínez and son).” P. 108.  Acatlán is mentioned several other places (and indexed), and on p. 61 among the color plates are two pieces not attributed to a particular artist but clearly made by Herón Martínez.  In the illustration caption: “Center: stacked animals with a daring gymnast on top, and pair of graceful ducks, all from Acatlán.”  The 1991 reprint of this book has the same references, comments, and illustration but with different pagination due to an expanded text.

  • 37.

  • 38.Instituto Mexicano de Comercio Exterior, Mexican Popular Art and Decorative Objects for Export.  1974.  This “catalog” has beautiful photos of Mexican folk art, ceramics and textiles from all over the country.  On p. 16, there is a white/painted tree of life and on p. 33, there is a burnished tree of life (which also appears on the cover of the “catalog.)”  Both are described solely as being from the state of Puebla, but they are clearly in the style of Herón Martínez and are likely to have been made in his workshop.

  • 39.

  • 40.Jordan, Ed.  “February 2007 Collector’s Corner,” El Interior, Austin, Texas.  Web site: http://www.elinterior.com/newsletters/feb_2007/El_Interior_February_2007_Collector's_Corner_Featuring_Ed_Jordan.htm   The February, 2007 newsletter on the El Interior web site is by Ed Jordan, one of the collectors who contributed to the Lee Price Arellano site noted above.  Along with text and illustrations devoted to other parts of Jordan’s collection, there are several paragraphs on a significant tall burnished piece by Herón Martínez.

  • 41.Lackey, Louana M.  The Pottery of Acatlán, A Changing Mexican Tradition.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982.  Bibliography.  Herón Martínez is discussed or mentioned at numerous points throughout this significant book on his village and its pottery tradition.

  • 42.

  • 43.Lameiras, Brixit, and Guillermo Palicios, et al.  Alfarería Poblana.  México:  Instituto Mexicano de Cultura y México en el Arte, S.A., 1968 (Issued by Organizacion Editorial Novaro, S.A.)  Spanish and English text documents production, techniques, markets, and the objects of ceramics in the State of Puebla.  While Herón Martínez is not mentioned in the text, his work is shown in some of the many color illustrations.  See pp. 30, 45, 65, 78 and 97.  The candelabro on p. 97 is the only piece identified with Heron’s name in the cutline, but other illustrations show his distinctive style.  A photograph on p. 78 is identified as the “Patio de la Casa del Alfarero Heròn Martínez” -- an important document for the variety of early pieces being produced in large numbers, including large black jars with a single head of a pig, sheep or goat on top. 

  • 44.

  • 45.

  • 46.Marín de Paalen, Isabel.  Historia General del Arte Mexicano.  Etno-Artesanías y Arte Popular, Tomo I.  México: Editorial Hermes, S.A., 1976.  Bibliography.  This volume and its companion, Tomo II, are part of a larger series of books covering the history of Mexican art.  In Tomo I Marín de Paalen includes Acatlán in a discussion of the geographic locales of different ceramic traditions and styles (p. 82).  On p. 118 is an illustration noted as “Gran candelero ‘arca de Noé’ en barro color crema y pintado al temple en color ocre.  Creación de Herón Martínez.”

  • 47.

  • 48.Markman, Peter. Ceramic Trees of Life. Huntington Beach: Xipe Projects, 2013. This exhibition catalogue was published on the occasion of the Masters of Ceramics Symposium held in June, 2013.  Three main sections of the catalogue focus on ceramic folk art from Izúcar de Matamoros, Metepec, and Acatlán, the last being devoted entirely to Herón Martínez (pp. 31-52).  With 31 illustrations of work by Herón Martínez, this book is a useful supplement to the large variety of pieces documented on Lee Price Arellano’s website.  Studio photography/graphic design/layout by Dr. Alison Heney.

  • 49.

  • 50.Martínez Peñaloza, Porfirio.  Artesania Mexicana.  México: Ediciones Galleria de Arte Misrachi, 1982.  Spanish and English text.  “In Acatlán, a variegated production of unglazed clay toys in bright colors is made, and in this town the pottery has been enriched during recent decades by the work of Herón Martínez, who has trends {sic} towards sculptured pieces of a large size, which are a true example of his virtuosity.”  (p. 84)  The Spanish text of this passage is on p. 43, along with an illustration of a large and elaborate burnished piece (unattributed), but clearly the work of Martínez.

  • 51.

  • 52.Martínez Peñaloza, Porfirio.  Popular Art of Mexico, The Artistic Creativity of the Mexican People Throughout Time.  México: Ediciones Lara, S.A., 1979.  Bibliography.   The chapter, Pottery and Ceramics, includes a discussion of Herón Martínez on p. 63:  “In Acatlán a spectacular product has recently been developed by the master potter Herón Martínez Mendoza, who in the elaboration of objects for ordinary use, has endowed the piece with a sculptured weaving design which requires not only a highly-developed artistic sensitivity but an absolute domination of the technique, particularly in its modeling and firing.”  Facing p. 26 is a photograph by Ruth Lechuga of Herón Martínez in his studio working on an ordinary jar, with some remarkable sculptural pieces on shelves beside him.  In 1981, Panorama Editorial in Mexico City issued a Spanish language edition of this paperback titled Arte de México, la Creatividad Artistica del Pueblo Mexicano a Través de los Tiempos.  The contents are the same in the English and Spanish editions, with only a slight adjustment in paging.  In the Spanish edition, the discussion of Herón Martínez is on p. 60, while Ruth Lechuga’s photograph of him faces on p.26.

  • 53.

  • 54.

  • 55.Moyssen, Xavier.  Arte Popular Mexicano.  México, D.F.: Editorial Herrero, S.A., 1975.  With essays by Porfirio Martínez Peñaloza, Carlos Martínez Marín, José Servín Palencia, et al.   In the chapter “La Alfareria” Carlos Martínez Marín discusses ceramic popular arts in different parts of Mexico, including Acatlán and Izúcar de Matamoros (pp. 80-84).   He notes the types of work produced in the taller Herón Martínez and goes on to say “Martínez también hace piezas que son verdaderas esculturas con las que representa escenas como la creación del mundo o el diluvio universal.  Sus obras son creaciones de mayor dimensión y transcienden la localidad.”  Illustration #93 on page 96 shows a candelabra that resembles a chicken made of circular discs of clay.  The photo credit on page 340 identifies this as an unusual piece made by Martínez.

  • 56.

  • 57.Mulryan, Leonore Hoag.  Ceramic Trees of Life, Popular Art from Mexico.  Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 2003.  Bibliography.  Chapter 3, “The Entrepreneurial Potter Who Dreamed in Clay” by Mulryan (pp. 80-113) is devoted to Herón Martínez with extensive illustrations.

  • 58.

  • 59.Mulryan, Leonore Hoag.  Mexican Figural Ceramists and Their Works, 1950-1981.  Los Angeles: Museum of Cultural History, Monograph Series Number 16, 1982.  Bibliography.  Brief chapter on Herón Martínez, pp. 22-25, with 4 illustrations.

  • 60.

  • 61.Norman, James.  A Shopper’s Guide to Mexico; Where, What, and How to Buy.  Garden City: Dolphin Books, 1966.  This is a revised edition of In Mexico: Where to Look, How to Buy Mexican Popular Arts and Crafts originally published by William Morrow & Co. in 1959.  In a short section on Acatlán, Norman discusses the potters at work on “the north edge of town up a steep rocky street named Avenida Ricardo Marquez” where there “originated some of the gayest pottery figures you’ll see anywhere in the world.  The Acatlán figures include curiously shaped animals, circus effects with animals, birds and human figures built up into a kind of gay pyramid or tree of life. . . .  These are made of a white clay bisque decorated with bright polychrome colors . . . not entirely covered with paint, just a few deft brush strokes.  These unglazed forms are truly exceptional examples of Indian popular arts.  Two of the most skilled potting families doing these figures are the Herón Martínez Mendoza  family and the Cirilio Juárez family.”  In the 1959 edition of Norman’s book, he mentions Herón Martínez’s sister, Enedina and cousin, Elfega painting figures made by the master.  No illustrations, but a good appendix with a glossary of terms for collectors.

  • 62.

  • 63.Oettinger, Marion, Jr. Folk Treasures of Mexico, The Nelson Rockefeller Collection in the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Mexican Museum, San Francisco.  New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.  1990.  Bibliography.   Plate 50, late 1960s tree of life, with sidebar text on Herón Martínez, his different styles, and the techniques for the remarkable 40” piece illustrated here.

  • 64.

  • 65.Reynoso, Louisa. La Cerámica Indígena en México and Alberto Diaz de Coccio y Francisco Javier Alvarez, La Ceramica Colonial y Contemporanea. (2 essays in one pamphlet).  Mexico, D.F.: Fondo Nacional para el Fomento de las Artesanias, FONART; Secretaria de Educacion Publica, SCP, 1982.  Bibliography.  Illustration, “Candelabro de la escuela de Herón Martínez” on p. 68.

  • 66.

  • 67.Rodman, Selden. The Mexico Traveler, A Complete History and Guide. New York:  Meredith Press, 1969.  On p. 233-34, Rodman writes about the difficulty he had finding the “real” Herón Martínez because other potters in Acatlán were passing themselves off as the noted ceramic artist in order to lure tourists to buy their wares.

  • 68.

  • 69.Romero Giordano, Carlos.  Mexican Craftsmen, Masters of Popular Art.  Foreword by Ruth Lechuga.  México: Empresas la Moderna, Una Empresa, Pulsar, 1996.  In a chapter titled “Those Who Have Gone Before,” Herón Martínez is noted on p. 57 as a potter of ingenuity who “created splendid innovation.”  The close-up illustration of  a musician with their hand on a guitar is from the Museo Ruth Lechuga de Arte Popular.

  • 70.

  • 71.Sayer, Chloë.  Arts and Crafts of Mexico.  London: Thames & Hudson, 1990.  Bibliography.   In Chapter 4 on Ceramics, Sayer pays tribute to Herón Martínez for his “fusion of Old and New World traditions” and illustrates his work on p. 72, plate 63: “Cow, with adjoining calves and candle supports . . . .  Surfaces have been given an orange slip and burnished. . . H17 3/8”.  This illustration is repeated on the back cover of the book.

  • 72.

  • 73.Shipway, Verna Cook and Warren, Mexican Interiors.  Architectural Book Publishing Co., 1962.  In the chapter on “Ceramics,” there are pieces, labeled only as emanating from Acatlán (pp. 190-191 and 195) which are clearly in the style of Martínez and are likely to have been made in his workshop.

  • 74.

  • 75.Thompson, Amanda.  Cerámica, Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century.  Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, in cooperation with the California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica.  2001. Bibliography.   Pp. 162-65, with 11 pieces illustrated in color.

  • 76.

  • 77.Toneyama, Kojin.  The Popular Arts of Mexico, with a foreword and notes on modern Mexican folk crafts by Carlos Espejel.  New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill/Heibonsha, 1974.  There is a brief mention of Martínez on p. 152 as an artist who “produces many pottery objects of charmingly fantastic shapes.”  While he is not identified in the captions for Plates 193 and 194, they show three fine pieces in excellent color.  One is a burnished mermaid ornamented with sun, moon, stars, fish, birds, and other mermaids.  The other two pieces are bisque with bright colors, one a candelabra representing jugglers.

  • 78.

  • 79.Turok, Marta.  Living Traditions, Mexican Popular Arts.  Albany: University Art Museum, State University of New York, 1992.  Included in this exhibit was a beautiful 32” tall tree of life, burnished with river stones, and a pair of painted birds, 12” tall, all by Herón Martínez (p. 61).  The caption gives the artist’s date of death, 4 November 1990, at age 72, and goes on to say: “As early as 1947 researchers from the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City recognized his talent and mounted an exhibit, bringing his work to the attention of German, French and American dealers and collectors.  In 1974 his work was included in the great World Crafts Council exhibit In Praise of Hands in Toronto.  Herón’s style evolved from his rediscovery of local prehispanic pot shards, finely burnished and slip-decorated with geometric forms, techniques he loved, continually perfected and embellished.  He created polychrome painted figures, which evolved into giant trees of life, such as the Creation, Noah’s Ark, and the Nativity of Christ.  In his later years he produced fanciful insects, animals, ducks and complex trees of life in highly burnished natural clay.”

  • 80.

  • 81.Vivan Los Artesanos! Mexican Folk Art From the Collection of Fred and Barbara Meiers. San Diego: Mingei International Museum of World Folk Art, n.d.  Plate N-3M, p. 10 shows a nativity in clay by Herón Martínez from his later phase of bright colors on white background.  On page  37 is a bird candleholder by Martínez.  Dimensions not given.  The Meiers Collection is part of  permanent collections at the Fowler Museum,  UCLA.

  • 82.

  • 83.Wer den ton Beseelt…Cerámica Mexicana.  Katalog zur Ausstellung zeitgenössischer mexikanischer Keramik.  El Puente GmbH, Centro Artesanal Tultenango und Autoren, 1986.  Bibliography.  Page 196, 2 catalog entries, 1 illustration of burnished monochrome tree of life.

  • 84.

  • 85.Whitaker, Irwin and Emily.  A Potter’s Mexico.  Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1978.  Bibliography.  Discussion of Acatlán (pp. 78-82) and Herón Martínez (pp. 114-117 and 119) with illustrations. ¡

  • 86.

  • 87.Winn, Robert K.  V.J.M. y J.  Viva Jesus, María y José, A Celebration of the Birth of Jesus; Mexican Folk Art and Toys.  San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1977.  While Herón Martínez is not mentioned, his work is shown as follows:  p. 23, “Fantastic Nativity Arch, painted earthenware, Acatlán, State of Puebla, 20” . . . equally beautiful on both sides.”  Pp. 78-79, “Altar Piece for the Day of the Kings, painted earthenware, Acatlán, State of Puebla, 55”  high” in white bisque background with many colored figures.  P. 95, “Flight into Egypt, painted earthenware, Acatlán, State of Puebla, 11” high.”

  •         Young, Biloine W.  Mexican Odyssey.  Lakeville, MN:  Pogo Press, 1996.  This book

            is filled with recollections of many driving trips through Mexico seeking folk art for the

            Old Mexico Shop that operated from 1972 to 1994 in St. Paul.  The author was one of

            the early folk art dealers in the U.S. who recognized the genius of Herón’s style of

            ceramics.  See pp. 69-76 for Young’s account of their first meeting at Herón’s work-

            shop and her first purchases carried home in an old green station wagon with Mary 

            Wilson, her founding partner of the Old Mexico Shop. 

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