Luis Sanchez is an artist who is not limited to any one genre, rather, he is a master at many. Sanchez's works are grim and sublime, realistic and idealistic. The result is a profound statement of light and dark, life and death, and the role we play in it. A true Renaissance man, he excels at figurative and abstract painting, found object mixed-media work, delicate shadowboxes, bronze figurative sculpture, murals, and has even designed a line of artful ceramic clocks.
Born in 1968, Luis lived the first ten years of his life in Mexico City with his family (a Cuban born father who was also a fine artist, a Mexican-Lebanese mother, and an older brother and sister.) It seems art was always his destiny, as his mother had very strong dreams and visions of him as a sculptor during her pregnancy, and in fact wanted to name him Michelangelo. Thankfully, his father intervened, but her premonition was in fact, accurate.
Luis is best known for his realistic paintings of subjects (his friends) set in somewhat surreal circumstances, painted on his signature highly-textured canvases that resemble degraded stucco. This recreation of the walls he remembers from his childhood in Mexico City gives his work a most unusual quality – melding the ancient past with present day fashionable participants, and a question about what the future holds in the mysterious scenes he paints. His usually large works are mesmerizing examples of trompe l'oeil, leaving viewers with the impression that he has used photography, collage, or other techniques, when he has only dexterously used the brush.
The Sanchez family immigrated to the United States in 1979, and after graduating from high school in 1987, Luis attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. But after a lifetime of chronic kidney disease and years of dialysis, Luis was forced to drop out of school to receive a kidney transplant in 1993. Unable to return to school, Luis focused on refining his drawing techniques, and began painting from his bed. He learned the subtleties of human anatomy through books, sometimes sketching for up to twelve hours a day. "My transplant was a rebirth. It is difficult to explain, but it certainly put life, everyone in it, and everything, in crystal clear perspective." His work emanates the energy, discipline, and drive of someone who has gotten a third chance, and now lives life to the fullest, continually creating. Luis had a second successful kidney transplant in 2011, which continues to enrich his life, with an innate positive attitude that is certainly inspiring and infectious.
Recently, his mother’s intuition ignited something new to emerge. A seemingly random comment, “You should stop painting and focus on sculpture,” struck a nerve in the artist, who had been contemplating this himself. Instinctually knowing it to be the correct move, he embarked upon a new journey, and has since created a completely original body of complex figurative work in bronze. “The New Alchemy” is a series that is inspired in part by the Industrial Revolution, and in part highlights the powerful machine of mankind itself.
- Dale Youngman