#60: Stevon Lucero
The work of Denver painter Stevon Lucero is driven by a deeply spiritual awareness, resulting in imagery that expresses both his ancient cultural heritage and something even more personal from the world between the conscious and the subconscious. A co-founder of the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC), Lucero permanently displays his work at CHAC in its own dedicated space. Glean a big chunk of Chicano art-community history from this elder statesman via the 100CC questionnaire. He might just blow your mind.
What (or who) is your creative muse?
In short: God. But what does that mean? I've been having strange non-ordinary experiences since I was a kid. In a tribal culture, I would have been the child that would be apprenticed to the Medicine Man. In this culture, my dreams, visions and non-ordinary experiences would be classified as mystical, and maybe I would have been promptly locked away. So I kept these experiences to myself. As I grew, I saw the world as something that was more than it appeared to be. This led me to what I call a spiritual path, a mythic path full of symbolism and mystery. It led to art inspired by my journey to God.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?
Jack Kirby, Rembrandt and Jesus. Although not necessarily in that order. Jack Kirby for creating more cultural icons in modern times than any other artist. Through a new cultural art form called comics he took mythology out of the tomb of modernity and brought the gods back to life in the modern superhero. He inspired children with morality, with tales of good and evil, pretending righteousness while surrendering to the acculturation of corruption in politics, business and religion. Although Stan Lee is given all the credit for these creations, it was Kirby that was the creative dynamo that gave life to Lee's ideas. Anyone can have an idea, but it's the man who fleshes it out that is the real creator. Anyone can have an idea about going to the moon, but it's the one who builds the spaceship to get us there that truly creates.
Rembrandt was brilliant. Of all the great artists I have studied and thought I understood, Rembrandt is beyond understanding. Untouchable. Sublime. ’Nuff said.
Jesus. Actually my first choice. Without shame, I declare I am a Christian. The artists who put crucifixes in jars of piss and others who make negative sophomoric pseudo-intellectual statements about Christ or religion in general and then call it art bore me. I've been studying and experiencing spirituality for over fifty years, and the arguments I hear from the mouths of even brilliant minds like Stephen Hawking about God are pure idiocy.
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?
The respect the artists have for each other. Worst: politics.
What made you pick up a paintbrush in the first place?
How does one live in the world but not be of it? My answer is art — not art for art’s sake, but art with meaning. Art that has an effect. Art that elevates. Art that illuminates. Art that enlightens. Art that helps ease the pain. I spent over 25 years in the void. The long, dark night. And looked into Schiller's abyss, the empty eye sockets of nothingness, and I learned that the only thing that dispels the dark is light. Art is a form of light. Artists are the warriors, the dancers, poets and singers who align themselves to the creative process of the universe that calls itself life.
What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as an artist?
Metarealism and neo-pre-Columbian art. I've been painting for fifty years, and when I started, I had a single idea of where art had to go after minimalism put an end to modernism. From that point forward, all modern art became redundant. I called my personal art form metarealism. Although most people think it's surrealism, it is not. Surrealism is conceptually based in subconscious psychology, while metarealism is conceptually based in a spiritual state of mind. My best accomplishment is maintaining my integrity through the years as many people ridiculed, criticized, rejected or ignored my work. After 2,000 metarealist pieces, I'm still here. I now hear young artists sharing these same ideas that I've been talking about since the ’60s. Even the director of the film Birdman, which won best picture a couple of years ago, used the term “metarealism” to describe his film.
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
My friends and family keep me here. Gentrification makes me want to leave.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
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My wife, Arlette Lucero.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Making art and staying alive.