The island's natural attractions have been immortalized by many local and international artists who are inspired by the beauty and simplicity of "La Isla Bonita". San Pedro boasts several artists who have used their natural God-given talents to earn a living. That is the case of this week's personality whose works of art adorn our community - Efrain Guerrero Jr.
Efrain was born in San Pedro on January 27th, 1958 to Efrain and Cota Guerrero. Raised in a close-knit family consisting of six brothers and three sisters, Efrain grew up to be a confident young man. After attending San Pedro Roman Catholic School he was enrolled at San Pedro High School where he formed part of the first graduating class of this institution, in 1976.
Efrain's first employment was as a gas attendant. He did this for just a short time as he felt there must be something more to life. As a young child, Efrain was always sketching or drawing and admired the natural beauty that surrounded him. He was fascinated by the beauty of Black Coral and decided to join some of the local craftsmen making jewelry from this precious material. Practice soon made Efrain a talented Black Coral jeweler, after working with some of San Pedro's best artisans such as Genaro Nuñez (deceased), Dimas Guerrero and Hipolito Ruiz. In no time, Efrain was creating original pieces of jewelry that made perfect souvenirs for visiting tourists. Eventually, Efrain managed to open his own gift shop, which he named Amberland Gift Shop. Unfortunately, with the influx of larger businesses in San Pedro, Efrain was forced to close his shop. For the next two years, he worked as a bartender at the Tackle Box bar. Mr. Guerrero's artistic inclinations were not meant to be caged though, and soon after, he returned to work as an artist.
Efrain's skills were not limited to jewelry, he was also a skilled tattoo artist and a talented painter. In high school, he would draw the advertisements for the school's newsletter, as no computer graphic art programs were available then. Today, Efrain takes credit for painting many of the names on local water vessels and business signs. He is also responsible for some of the fine sculptures around town including the dolphin fountain at the Island Plaza, the manatee and turtle statues at Central Park and the statue of Jonah's Whale at The Essene Way. Due to his imaginative and creative style, his services have been contracted to include street banners and the background for the Costa Maya Festival stage for the past two consecutive years. The support from the business community has encouraged Efrain to soon reopen his gift shop from where he hopes to sell Black Coral jewelry, woodcarvings, paintings and other interesting local art again. Mr. Guerrero is also engaging in another first, as he prepares to begin painting on canvas. Efrain told The San Pedro Sun, "I have always wanted to do this but somehow got involved in other things. Nevertheless, this time I am going for it." Efrain Guerrero has also performed great services for the San Pedro Lions Club. He is responsible for several prize-winning banners used by the Club while attending the Belize National Lions Convention and the Istmania Convention. For the past two years, he has also donated the artwork for the San Pedro Lions convention T-shirt.
Efrain Guerrero married Teresita Alamilla and today he is the proud father of three children: Efrain Guerrero III (18), Shamir (13) and Angelina (8). He spends his spare time touring the island with his family and occasionally enjoying a relaxing boat ride. Speaking about his chosen occupation Mr. Guerrero commented, "I have always enjoyed doing this type of work. It is especially gratifying for me when I see the finished product."
Without a doubt, Efrain Guerrero qualifies as one of the islands "maestros". Through his ingenuity and creativity he has added to the collage of colorful masterpieces found in "Our Community."