Focusing on the Spanish Colonial style, Isaiah Lopez strives to maintain the traditions - Albuquerque Journal

Focusing on the Spanish Colonial style, Isaiah Lopez strives to maintain the traditions

Isaiah Lopez will be one of 40 artists participating in the Sacred Heart Spanish Market in Gallup. (Courtesy of Isaiah Lopez)

Editor’s note: Venue Plus continues “In Case You Didn’t Know,” a weekly feature with fun tidbits about New Mexicans and their projects.

Isaiah Lopez is a fan of art.

Growing up in northern New Mexico, he was surrounded by all mediums.

Yet it was Spanish Colonial art that has captured his attention.

Today, Lopez created retablos and bultos and finds inspiration in his daily life.

He will be one of 40 artists participating in the Sacred Heart Spanish Market in Gallup. The event runs Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19. He will take nearly 30 retablos and four bultos to the event.

“It’s always interesting to see what everyone comes up with,” Lopez says. “I’m a fan of the process and continue to learn from the masters.”

Lopez got into Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe last year for the first time.

He felt like he was in the right place.

“I like to be part of something that holds so much history,” he says. “I have family who are in the market and they’ve helped me spread my wings and become the artist I am today. I’m hoping one day to pass down what I’ve learned to my children or a younger artist that I will mentor.”

While Lopez was surrounded by artists as a child, it wasn’t until 2013 when he became interested in creating art.

Retablos by Isaiah Lopez. (Courtesy of Isaiah Lopez)

“I was cleaning out my grandmother’s magazine rack and I found Charlie Carillo’s first book,” he says. “I was flipping through it. It was so beautiful to learn about his process and see the art. It inspired me to try and do it on my own.”

Soon after, Lopez and his mother began to paint with acrylics.

“We would paint on anything,” he says smiling. “Rocks, metal, wood, you name it. I had a few boards here and my neighbor had given me some old barn wood. I didn’t know anything about gesso. I found myself going back and painting each day during the evening. I asked my mom if we could visit Spanish Market to experience as a visitor.”

Lopez’s profile in the art scene continues to rise and he’s excited to see what the future holds: Here are a few things you didn’t know about him:

1 “I love the overall history about how the colonialists came from such a beautiful diverse place to New Mexico and developed more diverse artwork in such a rural area.”

2 “I enjoy the thinking process of the masters before us who developed and crafted their skill in such limited resources to make something so beautiful.”

3 “I enjoy the process of going into the woods and finding different pieces of wood. Then I can feel myself bring a piece come to life.”

4 “I enjoy the process of taking plants and minerals to make such beautiful vibrant color to use on my pieces to give them life.”

5 “I enjoy keeping this tradition going no matter what bumps in the road I go through in life. I will always try to uphold tradition my culture so it’ll never die and it’ll live forever.”

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