Nicholas Herrera

T H E    E L   R I T O  S A N T E R O

Photos & Text by C. Whitney-Ward
Nicholas Herrera is a force of nature - always creating, always working. You might find him under the hood of  a rusted and immovable car perched in his driveway...

Painting a door to his daughter's room replete with a 'gun' doorknob...
"For when she brings home a boyfriend," laughs Herrara.

Fashioning a fab studio desk out of car fenders and a grill...

Or carving a magnificent saint out of cottonwood in his vast and light-filled studio.

Nicholas is a self-taught artist following in the footsteps of his great, great uncle who was a Santero de Muerto, also carving in cottonwood. His family history is rich, tracing back fifteen generations in New Mexico -  originally coming from the Canary Islands - and six generations  in El Rito and the family ancestral ranch in the mountains. Nicholas lives and works in the same house where he was born.

A room in the original house is like a mini museum...

And, Nicholas built a private chapel to St. Anthony out back where
 his mother is buried.

His work -  in 30 museums including the Smithsonian - is powerful and unique combining traditional Santero art with a contemporary twist and commentary. 

"The history and genealogy of my family is in my art," explains Nicholas, who has just completed a large painted and carved piece - Matachines - The Dancers - for a July showing at LEGENDS GALLERY in Santa Fe.

N I C H O L A S   H E R R E R A

El Rito, New Mexico

125 Lincoln Avenue - Santa Fe, NM

Opening - July 6

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