Photography
© Ely Abrums and Laura Walker

Leo Salazar (1931-1991)

From the book, “Tradiciones Nuevomexicanas” author Mary Caroline Montano writes: “Leo G. Salazar apprenticed with Patrocino Barela and developed his own abstract style. His work is found in churches in Taos, Dixon, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque as well as the Smithsonian Institution, the Vatican,  the Berlin Museum of International Folk Art and the Milicent Rogers Museum. There was no spacious studio with north light for this active artist. In summer he sat on an old car seat beneath a pickup camper shell propped up on some pieces of plywood in his backyard. In winter he moved into a tin storage shed and fed chips and branches into an old wood stove. With his black beret pulled down over his thick graying hair and the company of his cassette player and collection of Spanish music, he’d work a twisted cedar trunk with a chisel….”
Leo Salazar’s carvings are very collectible.

Salazar started carving cedar wood santos at the age of 33, in 1965. He devoted most of his time, eight to 10 hours a day, to his art, but he had no formal schooling in sculpture. “I learned by just watching the great master carver, Pat Barela of Taos,”

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