Johnny is heir to a family leather tanning tradition. His father, Don Diomedes had a leather workshop, and he learned the craft alongside his siblings. Their parents and uncles were their teachers. By the time he was six years old, Johnny would play with spare pieces of tooled leather, making designs. He eventually learned to tool. "It's ironic how, back then when I was a kid and had no experience, I never had an accident. And later, with years of experience, I cut my hand!" Johnny confides.<br><br>"When I was 12 years old I was allowed to work on my own designs, and when I was 15, I was given my own set of tools! I used to compete with other people in the workshop too. Now I'm married to Irene, and we have two children, Brigitte and Johnny.<br><br>"When my dad ran the workshop, we specialized in colonial motifs. I prefer Inca motifs. I studied business administration but, the truth is, I much prefer doing this. I like to try new things, including different leather tooling methods and, in doing so, I realized the quality of my work improved drastically. I am regarded as being one of the few tanners in Peru that still works with his hands.<br><br>"Some people from the United States visited my workshop and liked my work, and since then they keep commissioning items for cowboys. This experience has taught me the value of constantly creating and renovating, and working with different materials, including leather, wood, and wrought iron.<br><br>"My dad and I learned to draw on our own, because we enjoy creating new designs for our leatherwork.<br><br>"There used to be many leather tannery workshops, but now there are only two where I live, mine and that of another featured artist. Moises Alvarez. That's why I'm very happy to be associated with you. I'd love to show the world how rich Peruvian artistry is, so that we may stop it from dying out. That's why I dedicate all my time and energy to my work, so that it may be worthy of your admiration."
In the Andes, the Land of the Four Corners, mountains are sacred. So is culture. The Nazca lines, the Wari glyphs, the Quipu knots and the complex multi-colored textiles of the Incas are all recorded and live on the work of contemporary Peruvian artisans.