Agustin Cruz Tinoco left a life of farming in San Juan Otzolotepec amongst the wooded hills of the Sierra Sur to start a new life of woodcarving in the hot Central Valley on the outskirts of Oaxaca City. At the moment little is known about his early work, which was unpainted until his wife, Cleotilde Prudencio Martínez and later his daughter Edilma started to help. This early painting is important as somewhere there is the seed from which the painting, now associated not only with Agustin's work but his son Manuel's work, began.
There is a deep intensity of colour that is serious in mood as if it were influenced by religious woodcarvings. This sense of colour and the pattern making is unique to the family. There is also, in Agustin carving, a sense that he knows religious carving not simply because of the religious subjects he sometimes carves. There are several avenues of wood carving in Oaxaca. Woodcarvings found in churches and displayed in the streets during religious festivals would have been a significant reference to any woodcarver. Also, the craft of mask making and painting. If Agustin has been influenced then it has not been by the wood carving that is associated by the three villages and what is commonly understood as Oaxacan woodcarving. In his work, Agustin tells stories or gives us insight into his life or the traditions in which he has been brought up. He is not satisfied with simply carving an animal well enough for someone else to paint. He charges the painter, his daughter Edilma with the task of continuing the story he has started. It is his ability to talk to us that makes him a Master rather than a skilful carver.
Edilma has painted her father's work for many years. She is modest. She does not sign the work but rather the name of her father on each piece. This is a tradition that many painters follow even if that tradition is changing. But this seems to be part of her nature as it might be that she prefers to work quietly in the background. But she is one of the great painters of Oaxaxca and her work is equal in this unique collaboration with her father.