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Meet Alexander Miguel of Alebrije Folk Art in Echo Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexander Miguel.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Alexander. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am from Southern Mexico. I grew up in a small village in the state of Oaxaca. Oaxaca is a state filled with culture and many traditions. It is also known for its cuisine. When I was 18 years old, I crossed the border into the United States alone and undocumented. I was looking for a way to help my family back in Oaxaca. I started working in restaurants as a dishwasher. I was always looking to move up. I moved from dishwasher to prep, to cook. All through this time, when I’d see customers come and dine in the restaurant, smiling, I wanted to be like them. Happy. I met my wife while working in one of the restaurants where she worked, too. At the time, she didn’t speak much Spanish and my English was also minimal. It was truly an example of how “Love has no language”. I ended up having to go back to my country for three months to await for my green card. By then, I had two children.

Shortly after being granted my green card, my father died unexpectedly. He left behind my mother and younger brother. I then took on two jobs to help support my family here and my family back in Mexico. I put my brother through college in Mexico City. By this time, I had taken a different career path to become a Truck driver and also had my 3rd child. After working in the trucking company industry for eight years and leaving the restaurant business behind me, I still found that my life was missing something. I never lost the mentality that I wanted to keep moving up. One day I had an idea. I wanted to share my culture and traditions from my home state of Oaxaca. This is when the idea of Alebrije was born. I bought a truck, I fixed it up with my family, and I began this adventure. My future goal is to continue to bring Oaxaca’s culture here to be shared while also giving back to the communities in Oaxaca.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t necessarily been smooth. I continue to not only take out my Alebrije truck but I also still work as a truck driver. This can be very tiring. I still do it, no matter what. I refuse to give up on my dream because all dreams need sacrifice.

Please tell us about Alebrije Folk Art.
I’ve always enjoyed painting and making things. My own work is mostly up-cycled items but my mobile shop in general sells everything handmade from my state of Oaxaca. We sell traditional black clay items, traditional clothing, huaraches, alebrijes, textiles, jewelry, we have it all. At Alebrije Folk Art Mobile Shop, it’s not just a shop, it’s a whole experience. If you’ve been there before, then you know besides handmade items, I also share my culture with you and you’ve probably sampled chocolates or chapulines (grasshopper).

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is spending time at home with my family. After working with my dad all day, we’d come home and eat at the table as a family. Our tradition would be to end our night with cafe and pan.

Contact Info:

  • Email: alebrijefolkart@gmail.com
  • Instagram: Alebrijefolkart
  • Facebook: Alebrije Folk Art

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