Pedro Linares 101: The Talented Alibrejes Artist

Pedro Linares

Pedro Linares Mexican artist

Pedro Linares was a Mexican artist who was known for his unique and colorful creations of paper-mâché figures. His works have been widely appreciated for their blend of artistry, cultural influence, and vibrant colors. Many of his pieces have been featured in galleries throughout the world and can be found in various collections around the globe. This article will examine the life and works of Pedro Linares, as well as discuss how his contributions to the art world have shaped modern art.

Born in Mexico City on August 10, 1903, Linares came from a family with strong artistic roots. His father was an excellent woodcarver and his mother was a talented potter. While he initially followed in their footsteps, he began experimenting with paper-mâché at an early age and soon became renowned for his creations. He used recycled materials such as newspapers, cardboard boxes, magazines, and fabric scraps to create vibrant figures that depicted religious scenes or daily life experiences.

In addition to being an artist, Linares also wrote numerous books about indigenous culture and traditions in Mexico during the 20th century. He documented traditional rituals such as Day of the Dead celebrations, which often feature paper-mâché figures similar to those he created himself. As a result of his work, Linares has become a key figure in Mexican folk art history and is remembered fondly by many people in Mexico today.

Who Was Pedro Linares?


Pedro Linares López, born in 1909 in Mexico City, was a Mexican artist who dedicated his life to creating fantastical paper-mache figures known as “alebrijes”. He is credited with reviving and popularizing the craft of making alebrijes, which had been developed by indigenous Mexicans centuries before. A self-taught artist, Linares began his career making piñatas and religious figures. His early work was heavily influenced by the traditional art forms of his people and by his Roman Catholic faith.

In 1936, while he was very ill with a fever, Linares experienced a vivid dream in which he saw strange creatures he later called alebrijes: creatures that were part animal and part fantasy. After this experience, he dedicated himself to creating these creatures out of paper mache. The animals were usually brightly colored and often incorporated elements of different species into their designs; for example, an alebrije might have the head of an eagle on top of the body of a lion or a serpent’s tail instead of legs.

While some traditionalists viewed Linares’ creations as too radical for Mexican artistry, his popularity spread quickly throughout Mexico and beyond its borders. These days, Pedro Linares’ works are highly regarded as folk art treasures from Mexico.

What Are Alebrijes?

Pedro Linares Alebrije

Alebrijes are the fantastical paper-mache figures created by Mexican artist Pedro Linares López. These creatures are usually brightly colored and often incorporate elements of different species into their designs. Their origins can be traced back to the traditional art forms of indigenous Mexicans centuries before, though they were popularized in 1936 when Linares experienced a vivid dream in which he saw strange creatures he later called alebrijes.

Linares’ works have been highly regarded as folk art treasures from Mexico, and his legacy was further solidified when he received El Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes in 1996, an award given by the Mexican government to those who have made significant contributions to the fields of science and art. Linares’ work has inspired many others to create their own versions of his iconic alebrijes, further contributing to the tradition of Mexican folk art that continues today.

Origins Of Alebrijes

Pedro Linares

The origin of alebrijes can be traced back to the traditional art forms of indigenous Mexicans centuries before. These figures, known as Tonas, combined elements of different species in their designs and were often brightly colored. It is believed that Pedro Linares López was influenced by these figures when he began creating his own works. In 1936, a vivid dream inspired Linares to create his first alebrije—a figure made from paper mache and painted with bright colors.

Since then, alebrijes have become an iconic Mexican folk art form and are highly sought after as collectibles around the world. The legacy of Linares’ work is honored today through the recognition he was given with El Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes in 1996, as well as through the many other artists who continue to produce their own versions of his creations.

Alebrijes In Oaxaca

Alebrijes have become especially popular in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The unique style and vibrant colors of alebrijes can be seen throughout Oaxaca, from the streets to the markets. In many places, traditional alebrijes crafted by local artisans are sold alongside modern interpretations. This has allowed for a steady production of alebrijes and a wider reach to buyers around the world.

Alebrijes are now seen not only as decorative items but also as symbols of Mexican culture and national identity. Pedro Linares’ original creations remain timeless, while modern interpretations continue to honor his legacy by bringing new life to this beloved folk art form. Alebrijes are a reminder that traditional art forms still have a place in today’s world and can bring joy and beauty to all who see them.

Alebrijes Characters In The Coco Movie

coco movie alibrije

The animated movie Coco, released in 2017, showcased the beauty of alebrijes in its wonderful story and visuals. The film featured a range of characters inspired by traditional folk art from Mexico, including alebrijes. These characters were based on the designs of Pedro Linares and served as a way to introduce his art form to a wider audience. The vibrant colors and intricate designs of the alebrijes in the movie were just as captivating as Linares’ original creations.

Coco was able to capture the essence of traditional Mexican culture and bring it to life for viewers around the world. By using alebrijes as central characters in the story, it also highlighted their importance within Mexican culture and paid homage to Pedro Linares’ legacy. It showed that these unique art forms can be appreciated not only by Mexicans but by anyone who appreciates beauty and color.

Death Of Pedro Linares

In 1992, Pedro Linares passed away at the age of 95. His family continued his legacy by taking over his workshop in Mexico City and creating new alebrijes inspired by his designs. Although he is no longer with us, his artwork lives on. Over the years, it has been featured in museums and galleries around the world and continues to be appreciated by both art enthusiasts and casual viewers alike.

Linares left behind a lasting legacy that has had an impact on Mexican culture and beyond. His unique style of art can still be found today, as people continue to be drawn to his vibrant colors and intricate designs. His work stands out as a reminder of the importance of traditional folk art and its ability to captivate audiences all over the world.


The legacy of Pedro Linares, a renowned Mexican artist, continues to be celebrated and remembered worldwide. A master craftsman of the art form known as alebrijes, his work is both an expression of Mexico’s vibrant culture and a reminder of the indomitable spirit of its people. The intricate designs and vivid colors of his creations have inspired many generations of craftspeople in Oaxaca, while their characters were immortalized in the beloved Pixar movie Coco.

In his lifetime, Pedro Linares created thousands of alebrijes that still captivate viewers today with their unique beauty. These colorful creatures are a testament to the creativity and imagination of the Mexican people, who continue to draw inspiration from Linares’ works. While he has since passed away, his legacy lives on in each one of his creations.

The story of Pedro Linares is a reminder that no matter how difficult life can be, it is possible to create something beautiful out of it. His work stands not only as an example for other artists but also as an inspiration for all those who seek to make something meaningful out of their lives. Alebrijes remain an integral part of Oaxacan culture and will continue to inspire generations to come.

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