meet an artist mondayArtist Luis Sanchez combines materials and techniques in an impressive Surrealist array, in sculpture, murals and especially luscious paintings. Combining layered textures in material in imagery, Sanchez evokes the sensibility of the vernacular Mexican architecture he remembers from growing up, with vibrant fantasy visions of modern-day life, especially citing Los Angeles where he lives and works. A sumptuous palette and a collage-like visual wit combine with meaningful personal and cultural symbolism and a gentle sense of mystery in Sanchez’s arresting paintings.

Luis Sanchez: To Go Outwards Go Inwards

When did you first know you were an artist?

My father was an exceptional artist and was very prolific. By my seventh birthday I had decided I was going to be an artist. From a very young age I walked around with a cookie tin filled with plastilina in all colors. I loved creating and building things. I didn’t like store bought toys but wanted craft supplies to make my own toys. I was fascinated with the artistic process, watching my dad painting at his studio for hours on end, preferring that over playing with kids my age. My parents encouraged, molded, and basically directed my career path by enrolling me at an advanced children’s art school in the prestigious Museo De Bellas Artes in Mexico City from the time I was seven to ten years old. I loved every minute of it, and my future aspirations were firmly established during those formative years.

Luis Sanchez: Life’s Building Blocks

Did you go to art school? why/why not?

I attended art school a few years after high school, enrolling in the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and then taking additional classes at the Academy of Realist Art. Unfortunately, going into my second year I was diagnosed with kidney failure, and was forced to drop out. I never went back as I had planned, and strangely, the medical issues were not a set-back. Instead, somehow the experience of a kidney transplant gave me all the tools, drive, and determination I needed to really dive into the art world headfirst. From that moment on, I have been supporting myself, living and working full-time as an artist. I am celebrating twenty-five years as a professional working artist this year. I am quite proud of all the successes despite the turbulation along the way.

Luis Sanchez: Keep Life Juicy

Why do you live and work in LA, and not elsewhere? 

I moved to L.A. in 2002 from Seattle, where I was beginning to feel a bit stifled, sensing less room to grow as an artist in that location at the time. I wanted to expand, needing a jolt of inspiration, and a more competitive, active, and alive art scene. To me, competition makes you challenge yourself and up your own game. The move to L.A. was exhilarating; the L.A. art scene really raised the bar in terms of the quality of fine art and the quantity of high-end galleries. I was incredibly inspired, and In the past twenty years I have lived here, it certainly has caused me to raise my own bar too! It has been a truly amazing experience for me both as an artist and a person. It definitely improved my own output! There is an electrifying energy in L.A., and the arts are so alive and freeing here. I love being part of a community of such abundant talent in a great playground to work and be inspired by.

Luis Sanchez: Punta Cabras mural

When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?

I was thrilled to be included in a very special exhibit during L.A.’s Art Week in February in conjunction with Frieze L.A. Mash Gallery hosted a special one-night-only gala event on the rooftop of the W Hotel Hollywood, then relocated the exhibition to their gallery in the DTLA Arts District. I had three large new pieces in the group exhibition. I am also working on confirming a few more exhibitions for the rest of 2022 in and out of state, and have a few residential and commercial commissions to complete. As a muralist for the City of Los Angeles, I am very grateful to continually be working on paying projects for supportive and appreciative patrons as well as various public art projects.


When was your first show? 

After my first kidney transplant, I painted twelve hours a day for months. I was so incredibly inspired! In the tradition of Frida Kahlo, I believe I was purging a lot of physical and emotional pain and trauma while painting from bed. At the time, good friends owned a chic boutique/art gallery in downtown Seattle. In 1994 they booked my first solo show and it sold out! I booked another exhibition six months later, and I sold out again. My third exhibit also sold out. Everyone, including myself, was blown away! This success provided the financial ability and savings to keep painting without the need to have a traditional “9-to-5” job. It also filled me with a great confidence, artistic drive, and the will and knowledge that I was on my way.

Luis Sanchez: Beware Silly Pretty Things

What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about? 

I always respond with, ‘what does it mean to you?’ I am always fascinated with what the viewer sees that perhaps I had not thought of! When I am creating, obviously I know where I am headed and what it means to me, but I love hearing someone else’s interpretations. Often, viewers will pick up on the main theme, and I make sure the titles for each painting are an invitation to the story with clues to its meaning.


Website and social, please.

IG: @luissanchezfineart

LA Weekly