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Tiki artist carves out a new life after beating cancer

Ricardo Brazil wants to breathe new life into your backyard with an artistic creation.

SAN DIEGO — It's not easy putting on your best face after receiving a cancer diagnosis, but if anyone can do it it's Ricardo Brazil. In this Zevely Zone, I went Clairemont where a tiki artist is breathing new life into trees and himself. 

Ricardo Brazil is a professional tiki artist which means he can somehow turn a hunk of dead wood into an unforgettable face. However it was on Ricardo's own face buried under his cheek where doctor's discovered Lymphoma in 2008. "It was right here. They said you have Lymphoma, I was like what?" said Ricardo. "I feel like they are telling you, you are going to die almost like a death sentence."

Credit: CBS 8

I first visited Ricardo Brazil's Art Studio four years ago. Ricardo comes from a long line of Brazilian artists that date back to early 1800's. When he moved to the Unites States in the 1980's, he found himself delivering pizzas and working on cars as a mechanic. 

Credit: Ricardo Brazil

Those jobs didn't make him happy, so he returned to art. Every time Ricardo sees a San Diego palm tree his artistic juices start flowing.  

Using a chainsaw, he handcrafts beautiful works of art. Ricardo started carving out a living in a different way making tikis and turning palm fronds into faces and never looked back. 

Credit: Ricardo Brazil

Ricardo started trimming palm trees for free on a hunch he could turn a mess into magic. Ricardo has turned palm fronds into artistic sting rays and faces that resemble Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley.

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He often carves tikis shirtless which led to the nickname the 'Amazon Man' because he's the Tarzan of Tikis. "We all came into this life on a mission. The only way to recognize your mission is to follow your heart," said Ricardo. We're happy to report Ricardo's cancer wasn't a death sentence which brings joy to his face and every new one he carves. 

We try to use the Zevely Zone as a platform to help people when we can. Ricardo needs a new workshop to lease. Give him a call if you don't mind him kicking up some dust at 619-788-0837.

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If you'd like to learn more about Ricardo Brazil's art or know of a location where he can move his studio, he can also be reached on Instagram by clicking here.

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