Carlomagno Pedro Martínez is a Mexican ceramic artist from San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, a Zapotec town famous for producing barro negro, polished black pottery. Carlomagno comes from a long line of ceramic artists and as a young child, began molding clay figures, and received formal artistic training at the Rufino Tamayo Workshop at the age of 18. Carlomagno insists on crafting work completely by hand so each piece is unique. After modeling, the piece is left to dry, then fired in a sealed underground oven, which limits the oxygen and allows the black color to develop.
Carlomagno is the director of MEAPO, the Museo Estatal de Arte Popular de Oaxaca in San Bartolo Coyotepec, a museum dedicated to the handcrafts of the state of Oaxaca.
I am a black clay sculptor who has worked my entire life using the same technique of pre-Hispanic origin. With water and clay as raw materials and my hands as tools, I sculpt whatever dictates my imagination. Death, the devil and other mythical beings come to life as characteristic elements of my creations. For me, death, so present in our culture, is a pretext to show my emotions.
My passion, my life, is my work in clay. It’s been my thing since I was four years old and I know it’s what I live for.
Carlomagno Pedro Martínez