HE IS PLANNING TO SHOW HIS FINE ART
“The Artist” is the best expression to describe Norberto Mojardín. This Mexican, born in Sonora, navigates scenic arts fully, and he proved that as he impersonated “Sasha”. He is an accomplished stylist who takes the beauty of his customers to the next level. For the past three years, he has made his entrance to the world of high fashion. And most recently, at his showing of the Mexican Día de los Muertos altars, the quality of his paintings and sculptures shined, and his devotion for the traditions of Mexico was publicly revealed. Norberto is ready to show the world that he is a creator. “I see myself as an artist,” he told us.
Norberto Mojardín is widely known in his community. He was born in Nogales, Sonora. He arrived in Arizona when he was 10 years old and a decade later moved to Denver. He became “Sasha” again, as a gift for our readers of CASA Magazine. He created the character of Sasha in 2003, when he began his professional career. As Sasha, he performed at local venues like “Tequila Rosas” and “La Rumba” to a sold-out crowd. The shows were always fundraisers for causes close to his heart. As Sasha, he participated in national competitions of lip singing. Sasha appears on special occasions, with the purpose of honoring women.
The meaning of Sasha
With Sasha, Norberto recreates the golden era of the Mexican cinema. “She is a vedette who used to sing at the restaurants and cabarets in Mexico City,” he explained. Sasha enjoys ballads by Agustin Lara and Maria Grever; and gets inspiration form rancheras by José Alfredo Jiménez. She also dances to danzones by Pérez Prado and cumbias by the Sonora Santanera. Her repertoire also includes contemporary hits. The character of Sasha also loves to sing songs by Thalía.
The process to create Sasha takes about 5 hours. We saw that first hand as he prepared for the photographic session that is included with this story. “The preparation for one of the shows could take up to 4 months,” he explained. Norberto is a perfectionist in everything he does. And what is most important is what Sasha means for Norberto. “This character represents my admiration for women. I see all of them elegant, beautiful, refined, feminine and kind. This character embodies the canvas that I see in every woman,” he assured.
This artist holds a special place in his heart for three women that were part of his life and marked important moments. They are Gloria, his grandmother; Marisela Moreno, the mother of his school friend Mario; and Julie Gallego, director of the Ballet Arizona. These three women contributed to his development during different times of his childhood and teenage years. “From Gloria, Marisela and Julie I received the motherly love I was needing so much. They guided me and encouraged me,” he said.
Norberto grew up with his grandmother. “After my parents separated, she took care of me. The poor old lady had no idea what she was getting herself into. It was a naughty boy,” he told us. That grandma and her grandson became inseparable and traveled through Sonora. “I can close my eyes and see from the train, all that dry and dusty landscape. We would travel between Nogales and Estación Ortiz, passing through Hermosillo,” he remembers.
Gloria used to cook for a living. “I grudgingly helped her deliver the orders,” he said. He also made him help her on a different endeavor. “She used to make the wreaths for Dia de los Muertos. She would make me straighten wires and cut them in a certain way… I would work on them until they were perfectly straight,” described Norberto. That interaction exposed him to the manual labors of her grandmother. “I think that is when my passion for the arts began,” said the man who at the time was not older than 9.
The teenage years
Norberto considers Marisela his guardian angel during his teenage years. “She gave me a hand, so I could practice track and field, as well as the art club.” That help paid off. Norberto became an athlete and gained his skills to become an artist. “She and her son Mario helped me through the years when I attended Maxwell Junior High School,” he explained. He added, “she taught me that goals could be achieved with a lot of effort.” Marisela had humble beginnings and after gaining an education she gained a better socioeconomic status.
Towards the end of high school, Norberto discovered yet another artistic discipline. He joined the Ballet Folklórico San Juan, now called Ballet Arizona, directed by Julie Gallego. “Julie helped me reinforce my identity and my cultural roots,” he says. He learned the art of dancing, while practicing his other artistic abilities. He created the backdrops for the shows and designed wardrobes for the dancers. “Julie let me stay for hours, and she would stay with me. I found solace in the arts at that time in my life,” he remembers.
A new destiny
He decided to leave Arizona, and he came to Denver, loaded with all his skills and the will to succeed here. Denver was a new beginning for Norberto. In this city, his bustle has been long, and he has pushed forward with lots of effort, using his creative talents. His Beto’s Hair Studio in Denver is a well stablished business that has made him an entrepreneur, and an expert in women’s beauty. Norberto worked as image consultant for Univision Colorado for 8 years and with Telemundo Denver for the past 6 years. He also gives back to the community in many ways, one of them, by sponsoring Quinceaneras for Hispanic families in need.
For the past three years he has been part of the world of high fashion. He is a regular at the Denver Fashion Week. His collections show his genius. A few weeks ago, Norberto used corn as the main element for his clothing creations. “Corn unites all of those who come from the Western World. I have planted, harvested and cooked corn. And I was driven to use it as an element for my designs. By using it, I was uniting Latin-Americans and Native Americans”, he said.
In a different collection, Norberto presented an Aztec princess with the mythical Aztec calendar. The designer also showcased a model representing the indigenous dance of the deer. For his upcoming collections, Norberto wants to keep experimenting. “I am Mexican, but I also have Native American, Asian and Italian blood. For me to design is to explore and to admire those cultures and many others. My collections have evolved to incorporate new influences,” explained the artist.
In the summer of 2017, Norberto added a new element to his designs. He created hair ornaments to be worn by his models, made with actual hair. “These flowers are made, not with paper, but with natural hair. I created the material and the technique to make them. To create the flowers, I use a process like the one I learned from my grandmother when she used to make the flowers for Día de los Muertos,” explained Norberto. This designer had the opportunity to showcase these hair flowers nationally by competing at the Southwest National Hair Award.
A wholesome artist
Norberto is constantly creating. He recently dazzled his public with an extraordinary collection of life-size altars that filled the spaces of the Mexican Cultural Center. Those showed his versatility as a sculptor, painter, and decorator. His real size catrinas, made with papier mache were stunning. And there was a mural that he painted, decorating the Aztec concheros in the shape of a skull.
This artist plans to continue to surprise us with his creations. “I will spend more time in creating art pieces of different kinds. That is my next goal,” he confessed. And he concluded: “I don’t see myself designing dresses or hair for the rest of my life. I am a stylist, a fashion designer; but I am also an interior designer, painter, muralist and sculptor. My dream seems more like that of an artist. I feel like an artist.” We are convinced he will achieve this. Norberto is at his best creative moment and he will fulfill his goals. He has plenty of talent.
On the runway
The creations of Norberto Mojardín have been present in fashion shows in Denver for the past few years.
Where would you like to see your fashion creations?
NM: I would love to collaborate with Carolina Herrera and Vera Wang, Japanese designer of wedding dresses.
Have you thought about the world of pret-a-porter, or clothing manufacture?
NM: I would need to find investors for that.
Who is a bad example for fashion?
NH: I have no one to mention. Everyone is free to dress as they wish.
Who would you like to dress?
NH: Thalía and Isabel Pantoja. And if they were alive, María Félix and Sarita Montiel.
Any plans to create men’s fashion?
NH: No. My inspiration is the woman. I admire how they feel and suffer, and how they overcome changes.
Norberto plans to create even more artistic works of different types.