Francisco Toledo, Thank You

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It was a quarter past midnight when I heard the news that Francisco Toledo died on Thursday, September 5th.

Toledo, a very prominent Mexican artist and activist, was a huge inspiration to me.

I first learned about him when Lisa Sonora and I ran into him on the streets of Oaxaca while out walking to dinner.

Soon I became obsessed with learning as much as I could about him and his large body of work.

What moved me most about Toledo was the way he fought passionately to preserve the spirit of Oaxaca and it’s culture.

On top of being hugely prolific, Toledo founded many outstanding organizations and programs for the arts as well. He fought the government in keeping McDonalds out of Oaxaca’s amazing Zocolo (and won! Thank God!)

He founded a public art library in Oaxaca that is open to everyone and it’s AMAZING! I spend loads of time there every time I’m in Oaxaca.

He even started a handmade paper factory where all the paper is made by locals using local materials. I proudly have a sketchbook designed by Toledo himself.

I never met Mr Toledo personally, but I consider him a mentor and I drew this digital drawing of him earlier this year in his honor.

Mr Toledo, thank you for showing the world how powerful one artist can be in creating change and protecting what is sacred.

I am grateful for your presence in my life.

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