The Genesis of the “Guillermo Style”

It all began in Antigua, Guatemala. I wanted to make money to supplement my travel budget. I was traveling on a motorcycle After a bit of experimentation, I created the style. I started by drawing with various pens, pencils, sharpies, on paper that was usually, 11’x17’. I used a technique, which we are exposed to in Art School called, “Contour drawing. My hand and I are pretty well trained, so often some interesting abstractions occurred. I then would paint them, using acrylic paint. I took the effects that occurred thru the contour, that I found interesting and enhanced them, thru quick painting process. Finally, as I was in the Spanish Speaking part of the world, I decided to sign the paintings with the Spanish equivalent of William, which is, of course “Guillermo.”

My first “Guillermos” were done in my apartment in Antigua. They were bartered with my landlord for rent. “The ballerina in the courtyard” was the first one. It was of his girlfriend’s 12 year old daughter, dancing in the courtyard of our building.. Soon, people saw these and demand started to develop. A Chinese woman, was opening a gallery and she wanted to show (and sell) my work. I did a Guillermo of her and her three sisters. I did local scenes like the 4 foot, Mayan woman, who sold papers in the village square on Sunday mornings

As I traveled onward thru Central America,on my old Honda, eventually, to be named, “Precious”, (for her work, taking me through nine countries over four years.) I would barter or sell my work along those same lines.

The style settled in to casual colorful scenes of people, places and events I encountered on my travels. Interestingly enough, my friend’s back in the States, often liked the paintings and that is when I would explain how they were done and began referring to them as, “Guillermos.”

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