I don’t know about you, but I find cacao pods to be beautiful. I love the colors. I love the different shapes, colors, and textures of the varietals. However, I don’t live somewhere where they are easily accessible. Consequently, I’ve simply been admiring them through pictures I see that people post.
Then one day a few years ago I stumbled across Gabriel Toledo Beltran’s cacao sculptures and jewelry. I couldn’t believe just how realistic looking his creations were! He captured every varietal in every color with such precision. His work is so life-like that someone at a recent tasting I conducted thought I brought in a real pod - that is until he saw the tag, ha.
I couldn’t help but wonder what inspired him to create such wonderful pieces of art, so I had to ask him myself. I am grateful he blessed me with his time and shared his thoughts with me.
KR: What inspired you to do cacao focused items?
GTB: I was inspired by the need of many people in the world to know what a natural cocoa looks like. Of course, this is not natural, but according to the testimony of many clients around the world, my sculptures are the closest thing to a natural cocoa. Through my work, many of them for the first time know the fruit from which the precious chocolate they consume comes from.
KR: What is so special about cacao?
GTB: The cocoa is a magical fruit! It is special in every way!! Its texture, its flavor, and of course the precious chocolate that comes from this fruit! For me ... cocoa is art.
KR: How long have you been doing this?
GTB: I have been making sculptures and accessories inspired by cocoa for a little over 4 years. Doing this for me is like an obsession! I get lost in my world when I'm working (every day) hahaha.
KR: What do you hope people will learn or appreciate from your creations?
GTB: I really hope that many people around the world can know the origin or the fruit where the chocolate comes from. That they can appreciate all the art that is in it, that my art can be used not only to decorate, but also to teach and also show off as accessories for anyone who wants to show the love they feel for cocoa and chocolate.
KR: Is there anything you would like people to know about you and/or your work?
GTB: Well, that in every work I do there is a part of me, that everything I do with respect to my art comes from my heart, which fills me with satisfaction to be able to provide a necessary tool for anyone who wishes to enter the infinite world of the cocoa and chocolate.
If you aren’t familiar with Gabriel’s work, you must check it out and see for yourself just how beautifully life-like his work, which comes from his heart, truly is! You’ll find yourself obsessed with his work maybe as much as he is!
Follow him on Instagram: @beltrancacaomaker