Monday, February 10, 2014

Heriberto Luna, Painter, Muralist, and Sculptor

Por Xánath Caraza

Graciously, Heriberto Luna is a prolific artist and can be found at 2 Tracks Art Studio in Los Angeles, CA, where he is frequently painting until altas horas de la noche.  At his studio, in addition to working on his own art, he also mentors young artists or gives art lessons, which are open to the public. Luna has allowed me to use his beautiful images in my new chapbook.  I feel very fortunate to have been able to write about his art y, a propósito, he is the artist of the cover art of  Noche de colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems (Pandora Lobo Estepario Press, 2014) as well.  A continuación Heriberto Luna.

Heriberto Luna at 2 Tracks Art Studio

Heriberto Luna  was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States soon thereafter. Of six children, he is the second to the youngest. Heriberto Luna comes from a colorful background. His grandfather was one of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata’s soldiers, and his father was in the Mexican army. His grandmother was a Mayan shaman, fluent in two indigenous languages.     

La abuela

Graduating from Franklin High School, in Los Angeles, Luna was surrounded by gangs but found his salvation at age 16 in the arts.  At La Tierra de la Culebra, an urban art park in North East LA, he developed his skills as an earth sculptor and painter.  Combined with his passion for performing Aztec dancing as both a dancer and a drummer, the artistic exposure gave him focus and strengthened his resolve to rise above the bad circumstances around him. 

During  2002 and 2005 Luna apprentice on major mural projects with L. A’s most influential muralist team the East Los Streetscapers, and artist  Paul Botello. Luna met Los Angeles artist Margaret Garcia and in 2002 he apprenticed with her and with New Mexico Master artist Pola Lopez.

"The Galactic Tree of Life, the Story of Everything" by Heriberto Luna

The result of all that hard work is clear, as Luna has exhibited in twenty major Museums thus far, among them such prestigious locations as: The Santa Monica Museum of Art, The National Mexican Fine art Museum in Illinois and The Museum of History and Art in Ontario, California. Beyond that, Luna’s works have become part of major art collections at Arizona State University and in 2006 Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presented him with an award of recognition for his accomplishments in the arts; Luna has also been awarded two artist-in-residence grants from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs department.

As his art career continues to bloom, Luna remains dedicated to under privilege youths, he is currently teaching arts classes for Theatre of Hearts and serves as a mentor.  Heriberto Luna’s success is measurable on many different levels yet what makes him most proud is seeing the young people that he has worked with turn to the community and become mentors themselves.  Some have gone on to achieve gallery and museum showings as well. 

Withal, Luna’s bold colors juxtaposed with ancient inspiration and strong commitment to the future of his community bring a powerful and profound statement to the art world and beyond. 




Miguel said...

When we first spoke with Xanath about Noche de Colibries I did not know any of the artists involved; then when I saw Heriberto Luna's work I was awed by the beauty of the work.
Working on the book gave me time to discover the details and pay attention to the rhythms, colors and symbolism.
I am looking forward to seeing more of Heriberto's work.
Miguel Lopez Lemus
Pandora lobo estepario Productions Press.

Amelia ML Montes said...

Gracias for this wonderful post, Xanath!