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 James Cordova  (1974 - )

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Louisiana / Mexico      Known for: New Mexican Santos figures-sculptor

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James Cordova
An example of work by James Cordova
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from The Owings Gallery:
James Cordova's strength as an artist lies not only in his talent to create award-winning Santos (sacred images of Catholic saints, God, Mary and Christ), but in his deep and passionate research into the history of his artistic tradition.

Cordova nurtured his artistic talent early, while still in his teens.  Inspired by a visit in 1988 to Santa Fe's Traditional Spanish Market, he set out on a path that has become his life's work. Visiting other Santero studios and learning from older artists is how the artistic tradition of Santo making has been and is passed down to the next generation.  He began his tutelage in an informal manner with the santero, Ruben Montoya.  Further inspiration and education came in the studios of Ramon Jose Lopez and Charlie Carrillo.

While he has devoted considerable time to his art, he spends just as much time delving into the history of traditional New Mexican art and Latin American Art in general.  Receiving an undergraduate degree in Art History from New Mexico State University and his first masters degree from Seton Hall University, Cordova is now completing the PhD program in Latin American Art History at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The New Mexican Santos he creates are enhanced and informed by the research he does as a student.  Additionally, his studies in New York, Spain and Mexico have furthered his understanding of the Santero tradition and its context in the broader world of Latin American Art.

James Cordova's style bridges the traditional and modern.  He uses only traditional, natural materials in his works, carving and painting Santos, as they have been created since the mid-19th century.  While the iconography is traditional, he incorporates more modern motifs and, at times, unconventional compositions into his work.  This juxtaposition allows him to explore the boundaries of his artistic tradition.

Currently, Cordova divides his time between Santa Fe and New Orleans.

1991 First Place, Retablos, Children's Catagory
         1992 Bienvenidos Award, Bulto
         1993 Hispanic Heritage Award, Bulto
         1995 First Place, Retablos
         1996 S.C.A.S. Purchase Award, Retablo
         1998 First Place, Retablos
         1998 Archbishop's Award
         1998 City of Santa Fe, Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, Emerging Artist
         2000 State of New Mexico, Secretary of State Award for contributing to New Mexico's    quality of life through the arts
         2003 Bultos en Nicho, Second Place


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