662 E. Frontage Rd. Algodones, NM 87001
I-25, Exit 248, North on East Frontage Road
jose varela - sculptor
Jose Varela is a self-taught artist, a sculptor with a style all his own who has the gift of being able to easily shape thick flat sheet iron into undulating shapes using the basic tools of a torch, welder, hammer and grinder. His style is unique, each piece a reflection of his inner soul, each piece a reflection of his life philosophy and his beliefs.
After working for the church, he found a job with a small company that belonged to the same church. He eventually opened up his own small studio where he dedicated himself to the design and fabrication of household accessories made from shaped iron such as candleholders, furniture, etc. It is during this time when at his studio the famous Mexican sculptor, Adrain Reynoso drops by sparking off a friendship.
Adrian Reynoso recognizing Varela’s innate talent and creativity encourages him to keep developing his inner sculptor abilities. With his new found mentor, Varela’s inner artist is unleashed and with the guidance of Adrian Reynoso, makes his first sculpture with such a passion and concentration that he surprises even himself. Because of his isolation, he developed his own alternative style, fearlessly working designs into iron while being blissfully unaware of the myths and limitations that existed about making sculptures.
It is with this dedication of not holding back, how Varela makes his very first sculpture, the logo symbol for the church, “The Light of The World”; a 25 foot tall sculpture covered in gold leaf, consisting of two intertwined and looped bodies reaching toward heaven’s redemption. Now with his new outlook, he embraces his hidden talent changing the direction of his life and personal style.
For various reasons, in the early 90’s he immigrates to the United States where more opportunities await him. There is where he truly develops himself as an artist. He soon finds work as a welder and after one year makes his first sculpture. Following this period, he completely discovers himself as a sculptor, as a person of peace, faith and spiritual tranquility.
In 2005 for the first time Varela participates in the annual New Mexico State Fair in the “Gallery of Fine Art” category, where he enters three of his pieces; Always Together, The Beggar and the Ignorant Prostitute. His piece Always Together wins an honorable mention.
In 2006 Varela again participates in the annual New Mexico State Fair, this time entering two of his pieces in the “Gallery of Fine Art”. This time his sculpture Dreams wins an honorable mention.
In 2006 Varela is invited by the University of New Mexico in Valencia, Los Lunas to present his first independent exhibition in the gallery of the university and is also invited to teach classes in the same university.
Since these events, Varela has been featured in a variety of publications; the Weekly Voice of New Mexico and The Valencia Country News Bulletin as well as in a variety of other publications.