Artist Biography

Roberto putting finishing touches on Koa table

Roberto Gallegos is a native New Mexican born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After serving 13 months in the Marine Corps in Vietnam (1966-67), Roberto studied art and modern dance at the University of New Mexico (UNM). In the late 70’s he attended the Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin, where he took courses in furniture making and jewelry. Roberto worked for many years as a carpenter in New Mexico. (In New Mexico, a carpenter builds everything from the foundation up, including doors, windows, furniture, and architectural details of all sorts.) 

In the mid-90’s following a chance opportunity, Roberto began making lighting fixtures using tin and copper. His past experience with the jewelry making techniques of repousse and chasing gave him a foundation in the skills of a traditional New Mexican tin worker. A short course with Ted and Ginny Arellanas in Albuquerque honed those skills to the tools and materials of tin working. 

Most of his experience and training has been in New Mexico where he has been heavily influenced by traditional New Mexican styles and some wonderful mentors. Two of such mentors particularly stand out. 

While attending UNM Roberto began taking modern dance with Geraldine (Gerry) Glover. He became part of her dance company, New Mexico Dance Works, and continued after leaving UNM. This experience gave him a lifelong sense of movement that influences his current work. Gerry was very experimental in her process of choreographing a dance, pulling images from all aspects of life. A baseball fan, she used action shots from the sports page to lay a base for movements that then evolved into the beginnings of a dance. Her choreography changed as the process evolved. She took cues and suggestions from dancers or chance happenings. She was able to glean things from all kinds of sources. Roberto learned to appreciate the creative process – its chaos and chance -- from her. 

Another significant mentor was Julie Graham, a sculptor, educated at Cranbrook, with whom he worked for four years in the '70's. Under Julie's direction, he built adobe play sculptures for Headstart Centers throughout New Mexico. Working with Julie was an amazing experience – learned not only how to build unusual things out of adobe, beyond walls and traditional forms, learned how to build amazing structures. Together they figured out how to deal with the scale, angles and geometry of building things, of pushing materials to their limits. She was very knowledgeable about art, and particulalry about sculpture. Beyond the actual work, Roberto learned a lot from conversations with Julie.  One lesson that stuck with him was the importance of contrast as a basic factor in design and elemental to seeing. She was a wonderful, inspiring woman and a joy to work with.

Sample works of art and crafts include:








Roberto is the recipient of the "Originality Award" presented by American Society of Interior Decorators 

Roberto Gallegos

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