Metal magic: Gilberto Romano’s mostly bronze sculptures will be featured at Contemporary Hispanic Market

New Mexico artist Gilberto Romero with one of his bronze sculptures. (Courtesy of Winterowd Fine Art)

Gilberto Romero is one with nature.

It’s been that way since he was a child.

“My inspiration comes from Mother Nature,” he says. “My family and I spent a lot of time out in the mountains. I came from a family that loves hunting and fishing. I would see these shapes in nature. I see the strength needed to adapt to survive.”

The native New Mexican is one of dozens of artists who will participate in Contemporary Hispanic Market on Saturday, July 24, and Sunday, July 25, in Santa Fe.

“Santa Fe is just on fire right now with the art scene,” he says. “I’m looking forward to seeing what this year’s market will bring.”

Last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic. Romero, like many other artists, looked for ways to sustain himself.

Romero used the time to create two structural pieces that are the biggest he’s worked on.

“I enjoy challenging myself,” he says. “My studio is located on my property in La Cienega, so when I get inspired, I can walk over to my studio and get the idea down.”

Romero works primarily with metal – specifically, bronze.

He fabricates all the twists and turns that appear in each piece of work and works with his team.

“I don’t do it alone,” Romero says. “My son has worked with me through the summers while he was at UNM. I have a few other employees that have been with me for three years. They are wonderful to work with on these projects.”

Romero has been part of the market for 18 years, although when he started his journey in art, he was working with retablos and carving bultos.

“I started in seventh grade,” he says. “When I was a senior in high school, I took a job out at Shidoni. At the foundry, I discovered bronze and fell in love with it. It was easier to express myself in bronze. It was a great feeling, and there were times I thought about maybe being an artist for a living. It helped me express myself in different ways.”

Recently, one of his pieces was installed at Winterowd Fine Art, on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.

Romero says he would never go back to retablos and bultos because he was “never good at it.”

He also used to work with driftwood and antlers.

“My work today is a little bit more contemporary and not abstract,” he says. “It’s still making sense of the shape and how they are tied into something.”

Romero and his team fabricate about 95% of the work.

“The only thing I cast in bronze are the wildlife that is on the piece,” he says. “Everything else we do with sheets of bronze. For me, the beauty is that I get to do each piece from start to finish. It’s important to me. It’s a great way to express myself.”

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