3 Ravens Studio, 4913 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60640, United States


Vejigante Artist

Welcome to vejigante mask maker Vejigante-Artist


If you missed the opening, gallery hours are on Tues, Wed and Thurs 4-7pm, or by appointment.

Vejigante Mask

What is a Vejigante ?

  •       The vejigante is a centuries old gargoyle-like representation which first appeared in 

celebrations as far back as in Gothic Spain,  and,  eventually spread throughout the Spanish 

empire to other Latin American countries.  Vejigantes were originally seen during Carnival and 

were intended to scare the general public back to attending church during the Lenten season and 

to scare evil spirits away.  It represents the struggle between good and evil. This is contrary to 

the notion that it represents something purely satanic.  Vejigantes can take the form of grotesque 

dragons, animals, or like a diabilto.   In certain traditional religious oriented celebrations in Spain, 

 the diablo or “diablito”  imagery is used in which the devil is the center of attention and is pelted 

mercilessly with produce, some of it rotten, as a sense of punishment.

     The costume worn with the mask is baggy and clown-like with a hooded cape.  The Puerto

Rican style mask is made primarily of paper mache, or, the outer coconut husk.  In Puerto Rico,

the vejigante mask has been further influenced by the African and Taino Indian cultures.  This 

can be seen in the carnival mask making tradition incorporated in the vejigante masks 

carved from the outer shell of coconuts by artisans in Loiza.   Along with continuing to be seen 

during Carnival,  vejigantes can also be seen in certain other local Puerto Rican festivals and 

parades that celebrate their culture,  such as in Loiza during the Festival of Santiago 

Apostal,  or, the Festival de las Mascaras in Hatillo.  


     The name “vejigante” comes from the balloon-like object that is traditionally carried to 

playfully strike spectators.   It was originally a cow’s “vejiga” , which is Spanish for “bladder”.

The bladder was inflated, dried, and could be filled with pellets, so as to make noise. It is a 

folk tradition that has been mentioned as far back as in 17th century Spain when Cervantes 

wrote “Don Quixote”.  Today, the bladder has been mostly replaced by a plastic balloon.  

     Once an islandwide sight in Puerto Rico during festivities prior to Lent,  vejigantes  are 

now mainly seen at 3 major festivals there:  The Festival of the Masks in Hatillo, The Festival of 

Santiago Apostol in Loiza, and Carnaval in Ponce.  They also appear in the mainland “Fiestas 

Patronales” celebrated by the diaspora community of Puerto Ricans living in places like New 

York City, Chicago, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, and elsewhere a high concentration of Puerto 

Ricans are living.  As of 2011, there are at least 1 million MORE Puerto Ricans living “afuera”, 

or, “ outside of the island of Puerto Rico”, than are living in the island of Puerto Rico itself.

Limited production


Own an original contemporary vejigante mask

Commissions Welcomed


Personal  input such as choice of colors, size, and style will be considered.

Buy Now using paypal

For Available Artworks, Please contact and pictures, descriptions,  as well as price will be sent in a reply.

Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

Juan Roman Resume


Juan M Roman Jr.


     As a Puerto Rican born artist raised in Chicago, I’ve managed to preserve a cultural foothold in both worlds.  This, of course, is made easier by regularly visiting the island, and, also by being a 1st generation mainland “ Rican “.  

     In the reality of globalization, the challenge, at this time, becomes: 

 How do you preserve the Puerto Rican culture and advance it for the succeeding generations, or, any other culture for that matter, in mainland America?    

     In the age of texting, tweeting, and email as a dominant form of 

communication, It has become even more important to make time for non-electronic personal interaction and communication that is engaging, pleasant, and enjoyable.  The viewing of art with someone else is an easy, gratifying way of balancing this. 

     My goal is to bring the traditional Vejigante mask into a 21st century Puerto Rican expression of art.  I make traditional and contemporary style Puerto Rican Vejigante carnival masks.  In addition, I create other multimedia art that is an expression of ideas and occurrences that have affected me as a human being, whether positively or negatively, and have compelled me to form an opinion and express it visually through art.   I also strongly believe that the arts are important, and mentoring, especially our children, is a way to preserve our various cultural and artistic traditions.


Andersonville Art Weekend

Venue:  The Paper Trail

October  2006 

Chicago, IL

Clothesline  Project

Hyde Park Art Center

Chicago, IL


Andersonville Art Weekend

Venue:  The Paper Trail

October  2007

Chicago, IL

Andersonville Art Weekend

Venue:  The Paper Trail

October  2008

Chicago, IL

Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC)

Barriofest 2008  

Venue:  Humboldt Park Field House

August 2008 

Chicago, IL

Portage Park Arts & Craft Fair

Portage Park

Chicago, IL


Chicago Children’s Museum

Venue:  Community Artist’s Marketplace, Navy Pier

Chicago, IL

October 16, 2008

Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC)

Barriofest 2009  

Venue:  Humboldt Park Field House

August 2009

Chicago, IL

Andersonville Arts & Home Weekend

Venue:  The Paper Trail

October 2009

Chicago, IL

Norwood Crossing 2009 Fall Art Show

November/December 2009

Chicago, IL

1st Annual Southport Art Walk

Venue:  Repose Interior Design Studio

3544 N Southport Ave., Chicago

July 1-31, 2010

Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC)

Barriofest 2010 

Venue:  Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

August 2010

Chicago, IL

5th Little Village Art Festival

Chicago, IL

October 1-3, 2010

Museum of Anthropology

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, Canada


Vejigante Mask in the online collection

Case 090; Object number 2860/1


6th Annual Highland Park Artwalk 2011

Highland Park, Illinois

June 1-30, 2011

Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) 

Studio Arts Project

Vejigante Maskmaking Class  (Grammer School Students)

 Fall 2011

Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA)

Humboldt Park Field House Exhibit Site

Chicago, Illinois

Paper Mache Vejigante Carnival Masks 

Jan - April  2012

Barrio Artfest 2012

Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC)

September 2012

2nd Annual Navi-Arts 

Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC)

December 1-2, 2012

Skokie Art Walk

Venue:  Libertad Restaurant

7931 Lincoln Ave.

May 1-31, 2013

Milwaukee Ave. Art Fest (MAAF)

Venue:  Popup Gallery sponsored by PRAA

2777N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago  (Formerly Young Shoes)

June 28-30, 2013

Commission Mask along with an additional mask

in the collection at the World Music Venue “Meridian 23”

161 W 23rd St., New York, NY 


16th Annual National Cuatro Festival

Venue:  Harris Theater for Music and Dance

Artisan table:  Vejigante Masks and ornaments

Chicago, Illinois

November 8, 2014

1st Annual Hermosa Festival

Venue:  Kelvyn Park

4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.

Chicago, Illinois

August 1, 2015

1st Annual Bombazo Navideno

Humboldt Park Field House

1440 N Sacramento Ave.

Chicago, Illinois

December 10, 2016


Museum of Anthropology

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, Canada


2nd Vejigante Mask in the permanent collection

Case 090; Object number 3096/1


Puerto Rican Arts Alliance

20th Anniversary year

Solo Exhibition of Vejigante masks, Photography, & Drawings

October-December 2018

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC)

Chicago, Illinois

Barrio Arts Fest 2019

July 13-14, 2019

Featured Artist

Jan Repa

                                                ARTIST STATEMENT

     Painting on glass is a centuries old tradition among the Highlanders of Southern Poland, especially in the Podhale region where I was born.  This technique involves painting an image in reverse, on the reverse side of the glass.

     My work incorporates this traditional folkloric technique and it’s accompanying traditional subject matter with an academic perspective. The combination creates a dichotomy of two realities.  The folk iconic elements includes Highlander legends, Christians beliefs, and the co-existence between people and nature.  The majority of my subject matter is influenced by mountain life traditions, and,  my life in America.  This folk essence permeates my artistic expression, but,  since leaving Zakopane/Poland,  I found this perspective to be too narrow.  Living in Chicago opened my mind to cultural diversity.   

     Painting on both sides of the glass represents the duality of my being.  The outside glass surface is an academic style using all values of light, shadow, and tonality - this is like the real and conscious mind.  This more solid realism contrasts with the graphic, folkloristic reverse glass painting style, which represents the past, subconscious mind.

     My way of painting is a reflection of my life, which is divided in two parts.  Both past and present co-exist in all of us in one form or another, and,  my art is an expression of this co-existence.

go to www.janrepa.us

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3 Ravens Studio

Ravenswood, Chicago, Illinois 60640, United States



Contact vejigante.art@gmail.com for an appointment