– Natalie Pacheco
I believe our DAM demo will be full of color, life, culture, and beliefs. Shantel and I both share similarities in art and love to add color.
Anwyn Steele: What will your demo at the DAM look like? What can visitors expect?
Shantel Lucero: Since we were given the October slot, I plan on working on Dia De Los Muertos- themed art, as well as Halloween [themed works].
Anwyn: Both of you are involved in the local organization Las Adelitas. Could you talk about what this organization is and how your involvement affects your art practices?
Shantel: The organization supports women who have suffered trauma and are healing through the arts. I feel I can express freely through my art and tell a story of something I have been through in a positive way.
Natalie Pacheco: Las Adelitas is an organization that helps empower women and promotes their artistic abilities and talents in different ways. I have been with the organization for a couple of years now, and have known the founder for over five years.
Anwyn: Could you please discuss some major influences on your paintings? Are you continuing, adapting, or breaking from specific painting traditions?
Shantel: I don't have any major influences artistically. I feel [that] my style [is] very unique, and I tend to not follow any particular rules of art. I think what makes me an artist in general is [that] I don't follow a specific style and my art changes with each painting.
– Shantel Lucero
I am a self-taught artist from Denver, Colorado, wife and mother of three. I am a survivor of a traumatic event that could have broken me or caused me to become an addict. I heal through painting as well as through the arts.
Natalie: I was a student at MSU Denver when I began to volunteer [with Las Adelitas], and since then, I have graduated with my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in human services. During the last year of my education, two brain aneurysms were discovered, and since then, I have gone through a couple of angiograms and procedures to secure the aneurysms. During that time, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. There was just so much going on. I decided I needed some type of therapy, and so I started painting on canvases, not knowing what I was doing. I just let it guide me. I don't believe we break any traditions or adapt anything, because we each have our own style and call it our own, but what I do believe is [that] we embrace it and sometimes it goes against [our family’s or friends’] beliefs.
Anwyn: Your paintings showcase rich color palettes. Could you talk about the role of color in your paintings?
Shantel: I love using bright colors that pop and catch the eye. For some reason, this helps my soul when I am painting. Also, the music I listen to, such as Santana, helps to open my mind.
Natalie: I believe our DAM demo will be full of color, life, culture, and beliefs. Shantel and I both share similarities in art and love to add color.
Anwyn: What are you thinking about when you begin a new painting?
Shantel: I laugh when I start a new painting because I never know what I am about to do. I just go and say, "I wonder what this is going to look like when it is done." I am usually shocked at my own talent once finished.
Natalie: My main support has always been my family, especially my sons (oldest to youngest: Benji, Andres & Anthony) and mother (Maria Laguna). They were indeed my rock during all the hard times and then my joy during our achievements. They have encouraged me when I was unable to and pushed me to believe in my art and capabilities, too.
Anwyn: Do you decide on a specific design beforehand or do your compositions take form more organically?
Shantel: I start with a plan and don't hold myself to a certain style. I find that it is the one thing in life I am not so hard on myself about if it does not turn out [how] I pictured in my mind.
Natalie: When I am in the mood to paint, I sketch things out. But it doesn't always work out because once I start adding detail or color my mind goes elsewhere, then I just go with the flow. I believe that art we see and experiences we have on a daily [basis] influence some of the work I do. I am an earthy person so I love nature; maybe it’s a Virgo thing. I love adding mixtures of colors in my paintings to brighten life up. The life we live is a journey of the unknown so I paint to relieve anxiety and feelings that come from traumas and daily struggles. I usually connect life with nature and feelings because it’s my nature/nurture instinct, and it reflects in my art. For that reason I embrace it and love it.
Images at top: Shantel Lucero. Dia de Rosa. Courtesy of the artist. Natie Pacheco. Love and the Mind, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.