Mike Lucero, this month’s Artist in the Annex at the Tucumcari Historical Museum, isn’t certain when he first realized that he had talent for art, it might have been high school art class, but he is certain when his shaping into an artist began.
“It’s when I started working with artist and woodcarver ‘Tex’ Haase,” said Lucero. “He taught me so much.”
The 57 year old said Hasse, a nationally known woodcarver who became his best friend, taught him about carving and its intricacies which led a young Lucero onto other sculpting such things as wax, scrap iron, clay and even bronze.
Lucero said he realizes that most artists specialize in one medium, but he said at least at this point that much specialization was not for him. He said each medium with which he works allows him to do something different in regard to his creativity. In a medium such as wood, for instance, he feels more comfortable creating abstract and humorous pieces. In others like bronze, he creates more realistic pieces. With scrap metal he said he may go either way, creating metal dog or chicken or more realistic dinosaurs like the ones he co-created outside many of the Mesalands Community College buildings.
“I let the materials inspire me,” said Lucero. “Sometimes they inspire me in serious ways, and sometimes they inspire me in less serious ways. I can be walking along and see a piece of metal and see something in it.”
The artist is also inspired by fellow artists and their work. He says one of the exciting things about being an artist is the chance to share ideas with other people who create things artistically. Lucero points to Haase, Henry Gonzales, D. Jean Jawrunner and Doug and Sharon Quarles as fellow artist who have helped him expand and refine his art and encourage him to take on new ideas.
“It is so exciting being with other artist and hearing about their ideas and letting them hear about mine,” said Lucero. “So much comes out of that.”
While the artist was born and grew up in Santa Rosa, he said he is now a confirmed resident of Tucumcari, having graduated from high school and even established a business, Lucero Electronics.
He said that he has little desire to leave Tucumcari and move to more artist areas like Santa Fe or Taos.
“No, I’m happy here,” said the artist. “I’m doing what I enjoy doing and I can afford to live here. That’s not so easy in places like Santa Fe and Taos.”
As with many artists, Lucero has a number of different works on the drawing board or under construction. He said he has begun a three foot tall chicken out of scrap metal which will have an egg spinning inside it. He also is contemplating a bronze sculpture of a Mexican Grande’, but the work he is focusing most of his mental powers on for the future is a eight-foot tall metal sphere with his interpretation of Michangelo’s “Perfect Man.”