Marván Folk Art

Viroqua, Wisconsin

Marvan Folk Art is a husband and wife team (Gabriela Jiménez Marván and Ryan Rothweiler) that has been creating sculptures, murals, graphic design, and illustrations for over ten years.

Based in Viroqua, Wisconsin, their passion is to create timeless art that surpass trends and create a feeling that brings the community together.

Gabriela’s (originally from Mexico) sense of color and Ryan’s (originally from Milwaukee, Wi) approach to classic design make them able to create colorful, long-lasting art throughout the Midwest and Mexico.

They have experienced the sensation of creating sculptures through a traditional technique: cartonería (coming to Mexico from Spain in the 16th Century). They use structures of wire, reed frame, or clay molds followed by layers of paper. Cartonería’s texture is smoother and stronger than that of most papier-mâché. Cartonería comes from the word cartón, which means cardboard or heavy paper. One of the foremost celebrations nowadays in Mexico is Day of the Dead, the celebration where the dead are honored and remembered. Artists of paper (cartoneros) create Catrinas (dressed skeleton ladies), skulls, and skeletons to decorate streets, museums, or cultural places from October 31 to November 2.

Gabriela Jiménez Marván’s (Gabriela Marván) and Ryan Rothweiler’s collaborative efforts embody a rich cultural fusion reflected in their vibrant, art. Embracing community engagement, they work on projects that promote learning and positive impact. Gabriela’s relocation to the USA in 2019 precipitated the founding of the Mexican Folk Art Collective alongside Ryan during the pandemic in 2020. Through this initiative, they have orchestrated numerous murals across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Mexico, integrating their diverse backgrounds into a cohesive artistic narrative. Gabriela leads cultural dialogues and collaborations with institutions such as local schools and libraries and the Consulate of Mexico in Milwaukee. Their collective showcases a commitment to cultural exchange and community enrichment.

“I moved to Viroqua in 2019, bringing Mexico with me through my art and  now through my artist friends’ art. I love the idea of  preserving and sharing part of my culture, working with tradition while creating my own style in colorful sculptures of recycled paper that becomes a Catrina, a skull, or a Judas (decorated devil). Behind each of these sculptures there is a story and meaning of motion, a connection with nature, in the tradition of colorful Mexican folk art. I want to touch your heart through my art, making you feel like we are connected.” – Gabriela Marván

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Marván Folk Art information

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