I was born in the Pojoaque valley of northern New Mexico in 1954. Over time I have developed great respect and appreciation for Spanish Colonial art and I’m honored to help preserve this rich and traditional art form. My art consists of painted retablos, carved bultos, and hide paintings – all of which have received wide recognition and high honors since 1998.
When I’m not carving or painting a piece, I’m gathering the raw materials to make new pieces. Most of the techniques I use for making retablos, bultos, and hide paintings are similar to those used throughout the 1600s and 1700s by New Mexican santeros.
For my work, I gather natural materials year-round. To make dark magenta and light pink colors, I purchase cochinilla beetles from Mexico. I use indigo to make dark blue. I make my own gesso and I use a homemade piñon sap varnish and natural beeswax to seal and polish the finished pieces. I also do tinwork for the bultos.
My family ancestry goes back centuries in northern New Mexico. My strong catholic background was primarily influenced by my grandmother. She prayed to the saints for her family’s protection and helped me understand their significance in daily life. Her unwavering faith helped broaden my understanding of religious iconography and influened me to become a santero.
My formal artistic training began with painting using contemporary methods. Later, I took classes from local santeros and santeras who taught me the local traditional methods for making saints. I now spend time in libraries, such as the library at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe, researching historical details and finding inspiration for my work.