Late night Churros and hot chocolate at the Churreria El Moro on Lázaro Cárdenas Street. A waitress takes another order as an elderly lady sits in a chocolate reverie. A stray Mariachi strums at a nearby table and the chocolate girl fills a new jug. The bored queen of the El Moro lazily staples receipts while waitresses bring her grapes. Three waitresses gossip quietly nearby and make me think of Picasso’s ‘Three Graces’. A waitress waits, tong in hand, for the next batch of churros as one man squeezes the dough through the star shaped nozzle and fries it in the oil and another man cuts it into sections. A white coated waiter brings a fresh supply to the congregation and a businessman licks his lips and exits satisfied, pausing to drop some coins to the listless child accordion player busking tunelessly on the street outside. A poor old man enters and is fed for free on the condition that he remains by the door. A novia and novio kiss in the corner on a romantic date as a tiny fly applauds this sweet spectacle. Watching the late night doughnut devotees snacking and gossiping it seems to me that this feast symbolises the successful merging of two cultures- Spanish doughnut and Aztec hot chocolate. Back in the studio I find I’m beginning all this Mexican work with a charcoal arch shape. The arch shape runs through all of the Mexican paintings that I make just as it does through the buildings of Mexico. I also add a Gecko crawling through each Mexican painting to indicate the passing of our time in Mexico.
In 2012, after the painting has been sold, I receive an e mail from Santiago Iriarte owner of El Moro. He’d discovered the painting on the internet. A print of the painting now hangs in pride of place in the cafe in Lázaro Cárdenas street, Mexico City.