Eleven years ago, Benedicto Ixtamer made his first visit to the United States, to visit friends in the Quad-Cities and to show his work at the Beaux Arts Fair in downtown Davenport.
Now 34, Ixtamer has returned this weekend from his native Guatemala for the same purpose.
He will be one of dozens of artists in Bechtel Plaza in front of the Figge Art Museum in downtown Davenport for the semi-annual fair, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Besides the juried fine arts and crafts show, there will also be musical entertainment, a children's art project area and a food court.
Ixtamer is staying with Jeanne Nakamura, a Bettendorf speech pathologist who visited his village in the early 2000s and became enchanted with his artwork.
His style has evolved over the years, he said, and his specialty is now "fish-eye view," a counterpoint to bird's-eye view that Ixtamer calls a "magical realism."
"In the center, there's a big sun and the people are giants with big hands and big feet, but small heads," he said of the works, oil paintings on material woven by his mother. "Big things are in the front and small things are in the back."
The idea, he said, came from a Mayan story about twin brothers who were being chased.
"They couldn't find a place to hide (on land) and the only place they could find was to hide in the water where they would become fish," Ixtamer said. "Then they could start to see what was going on and where the enemies were.
"From that it gives the perspective of how an animal in the water sees us," he added.
Now the father of two children, Ixtamer said he recently got nationwide exposure in Guatemala thanks to a TV report about him and his artwork.
"I'm beginning to get more opportunities down there," he said.