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Los Lunas artist honored to be chosen for Spanish Market poster

Nicolás Otero is feeling a plethora of emotions.

The poster for the 2017 Traditional Spanish Market with art by Los Lunas resident Nicolás Otero.

The Los Lunas native has been working for months on pieces for the Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe.

Adding to the pressure – and excitement – Otero has been named the poster artist for the festival.

The honor is a sign that Otero’s hard work is paying off – 20 years after he started as an artist.

Growing up in Los Lunas, Otero was involved in Spanish Market in various ways. He often looked up to the artists who were selected for the poster.

This year’s edition features a portion of one of his altar screens.

“It’s humbling,” he says. “The poster puts my passion out there for everyone to see. If they feel that my work can help convey what Spanish Market is about, it’s an honor.”

Nicolás Otero signs the Traditional Spanish Market poster, for which his artwork was chosen.

Over the past couple years, Spanish Market has upped its presence through marketing.

For the first time, there will be an individual poster release event on Monday, July 24.

“I just found out that they are doing this poster party, and I’ve been inviting friends and family,” Otero says. “It’s going to be interesting to see how people react to my work.”

He will be one of about 250 artists taking part in Spanish Market on July 29-30 in Santa Fe.

There will be artists showcasing woodcarving, tinwork, colcha, hide painting, retablos, straw appliqué, furniture and furnishings, weaving, jewelry, filigree, pottery and ironwork.

Although Otero often works in different mediums, such as pottery, oil and pastels, he is always drawn back to natural pigments and wood.

He will take about 50 pieces to the event this year.

“I’m finishing up my preview pieces,” he says. “I found this antique spoon, and I’m going to paint San Pasqual on it. Then I have these grain scoops that I’m going to put San Ysidro. I have also felt the need to do another altar, and I’m doing something very interesting with it. This is the most and well-rounded collection of santos that I’ve done.”

Otero says being part of Spanish Market is always an honor because it’s keeping the centuries-old traditions alive.

“I think the market has other great artists,” he says. “You always ask yourself, ‘Why me?’ when you get the blessings. I feel like I’m growing up and starting to see all the hard work I’ve been putting in over the last few years. It’s an important gift.”