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LORENZO HOGUE (NAVAJO) - February 2001

The Highlight of the Month program at The Indian Craft Shop focuses on a particular craft area, region or artist family/group. Our aim is to illustrate the diversity of tribal groups and the wide variety of artistic expressions and traditions in the country today.

"My work is a mirror for my inner ideas and spiritual beliefs," says Lorenzo Hogue, Navajo metal sculptor who works mainly with steel. This creative artist brings an exciting contemporary look to traditional Navajo designs.

His graceful creations, cut from sheets of metal, incorporate Navajo themes, such as the ye'i (a holy person or deity) and eagles. He achieves an iridescent accent to each piece by applying heat. The results are dramatic sculptures that he describes as, " . . . little beings looking for a home."

It's not unusual for Lorenzo to incorporate the number four into his work ¾ a reflection of the natural order of life (the four seasons, the four elements and the four sacred mountains). Sometimes he slips in the number three to represent his three children.

Born in 1956, his farming family lived on the outskirts of the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. Lorenzo attended both government boarding and public schools. In high school, he focused on art classes and took a few welding classes, but had no plans to become an artist. His lack of ability to draw, which he described as "about one degree better than a stick figure," discouraged him.

It was not until the spring of 1993, that an artist friend, Ambrose Teasyatwho, encouraged him to pursue his artistic inclinations and he began sculpting in metal. Lorenzo worked with his mentor Ambrose for about a year, first as an apprentice, and then, as a fellow artist. Since then, he's received a number of awards, including first place in sculpture at the Totah Festival in Farmington.

When he begins to shape the metal into a sculpture, Lorenzo has a general idea of the form that he wants to create. Rarely planning his work on paper, he will sometimes sketch the image directly onto the sheet of metal. Then, he lets the shape emerge. Looking at his finished product, it is possible to see the spirit he instills into each of his "little beings."

                                                              ©The Indian Craft Shop 2001