Media Pintura - Painting
At age 44, Mike Vargas quit his job as a supermarket manager to pursue a dream he had postponed because of family responsibilities. He got a Fine Arts degree from Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, found work in a graphics studio—and discovered God's calling him: to saint-making.
Vargas now has his own gallery on Kit Carson Road in the bustling heart of trendy art center, Taos, New Mexico. He has garnered several “best of show” prizes in local art fairs and Spanish Markets, and held a one-man exhibition of holy images, called “Santos on Paper,” at the prestigious Harwood Museum.
Artist StatementAlthough the quiet, unassuming Vargas is reluctant to join the computer age, he is no traditionalist in the way he uses printing techniques or oil paint on gesso-primed paper to expand the bounds of santero (saint-maker) art. Yet, for all his experiments with mixed media, Vargas comes closer than any modern New Mexican sacred artist in capturing the severely simple lines, coloring, brushwork–the spirit of 18th-19th century masters like Pedro Antonio Fresquis, Molleno, and Jose Aragon. When he was growing up, Mike says, an uncle who was a penitente used to store art work from his morada in the family's back bedroom. The young Vargas was both frightened and fascinated by these holy images of the suffering Christ. They are a recurring theme in his art-making. (Bio/Statement used by kind permission of www.sacredpilgrim.com)
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