Local artist uses talents to showcase New Mexico culture

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)- A local painter’s favorite projects are ones that depict New Mexico culture. His work has been praised at national art competitions and even the State Fair.

Robert Gonzales says his love for art started with crayons, cardboard and his parent’s undying support. He says it wasn’t until his eighth-grade art teacher encouraged him to enter a national art competition, that he realized art may be his calling.

“My mom received a call again that I was the grand prize winner,” said Gonzales.

Today that portrait he painted in eighth grade, still hangs in the Smithsonian. But his dad’s sudden death in 2009 caused him to put the paintbrushes away for four years, until one day he had a spiritual moment. He says his dad was sending him a message.

“It was like something hit me. It was like he was telling me, ‘son, start again.’ I went out that night and bought some supplies,” said Gonzales.

Now Robert is taking his dad’s advice to paint New Mexico churches, putting the colorful and detailed portraits on handmade crosses. He says the most popular one is Santuario De Chimayo.

Gonzales aims to capture the strong link between Catholicism and New Mexico culture and most importantly it’s a link to his parents.

Gonzales says he gets orders from across the country and as far away as Germany. Click here to see more of his artwork.

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