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Artist mentors in honor of his late son

Created: 06/27/2014 9:41 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

After an Albuquerque artist learned his son had been murdered in a senseless act of violence, he set out to find ways to honor his son’s memory. Six years later, he’s found the strength to do it in a deep and personal way. 

“I wanted to test her.  I wanted to see what I could bring out of her. I said you know what, can you do a painting for me. I want the son breaking through the woods, I want the mother of that child to have that last journey with her son,” Lawrence Vargas said of the first assignment he gave Devanie Marquez, a young girl he is now mentoring.

The test came from a place deep inside Lawrence Vargas. His own son, Lawrence Charles, was murdered in 2008, so he knows the feeling he asked her to paint. 

“My wife has seen it and she couldn't stop crying because of what… what it felt and hopefully it will touch other parents too,” Vargas said.

Art was something the father and son did together, so since then it’s been hard for Vargas to work with young artists. But when he came across the work of 19-year-old Marquez, something changed. 

“She's just a very natural, raw talent and what I saw in my son Lawrence… that's what I saw in her. And I said you know, I need to just step up and pay it forward,” Vargas said.

He remembered that, for a while, art had paved a bright future for his son, and he now wants other young New Mexicans to have the same chance.

“It was very important to me because without it I wouldn't know what to do and it wouldn't get me to the point where I am now, in a show,” Marquez said.

Marquez’s first show is this weekend at the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival. Vargas plans to mentor one new student a year.


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