the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Felix Lopez


2016 recipient, Artist, Master Santero/Spanish Colonial Bultos

Felix López, who grew up in the village of Santa Cruz, is one of the most accomplished artists of his generation, renowned as a leader and a teacher dedicated to preserving the traditions of Santeros and to inspiring others.

"Felix has devoted his life to making sure that the Spanish Colonial Arts remain an important part of the New Mexico art community," said nominator Jean Anaya Moya, who received a Governor's Arts Award in 2014. "He is a mentor to many in his field and considered a Master Santero by his peers and collectors." López has won numerous awards, including the Masters Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and a visual artist fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He took first prize at Spanish Market in both Painted Bultos and Straw Applique.

"I see Felix as the quintessential New Mexican santero," said Robin Farwell Gavin, curator of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. "His art embodies those things that he holds dear and that have been core values for Nuevomexicanos for centuries: family, faith and tradition. Through his art and his teaching, Felix truly helps to make the world a better place." L?pez has incredible carving skills, said Tey Marianna Nunn, director and chief curator at the National Hispanic Cultural Center's Art Museum and Visual Arts Program. "He makes his own pigments from natural sources and his masterful use of their color contributes greatly to the overall ethereal effect and appearance of his artworks," Nunn said. "I consider his technique to be the pinnacle of artistic achievement." López's bultos and retablos are infused with spirit and energy.

"Felix López's work has movement and — it glows," Nunn said. López said he has been richly blessed. "The meaning of the name 'Felix' is 'happy,'" López said. "I have not only found happiness. I have found faith and trust in God and meaning in my work as a santero. I will continue working for as long as I am able."