Mari Lopez's taste in music is more "Rock N Roll" than "Metal," but when it comes to art, she gives new meaning to the oft-used music term Metal-Head.
The Southern California born-and-raised lady was the youngest of three children and the only daughter; she grew up to be quite the creative artist.
“I was a tomboy growing up,” Lopez told me in an interview today, Jan. 16.
“I remember hanging around with all my cousins and my older brothers with their muscle cars and fast motorcycles. I loved cars and motorcycles, moving things.”
And those “moving things” later in life became the inspiration and primary objects of Lopez’s beautiful works.
I asked Lopez how she comes up with the idea for a new painting. She said, “I would begin thinking about something like an old phrase, and I would develop a concept from that.”
She paints with acrylics and aqua-based paints, and she told me how the picture “Vibe” came about.
“My dad was always into Volkswagens and they were popular during the time I was growing up. I painted it (the car) shaking, you know, how the old Volkswagens used to do, and I used a color palate like the film of the 50s and 60s, kind of psychedelic.”
Lopez has done a number of commissioned works and she recently began painting on metal.
She said, “I just began painting on metal a couple of months ago. I felt the subject matter lent itself to that medium.”
Lopez explained how she uses cold rolled steel “cut to order” and after she finishes her creation, she takes it to a specialty shop where the work gets a shot of polyurethane clear coat enamel which is then baked on.
I asked Lopez if the road signs that she had worked her artistic magic on were obtained legally. She chuckled and said, “They were a gift. One had been hit by a truck.”
She calls them “distressed aluminum.”
“I paint only by hand, I don’t airbrush or use any type of machine,” Lopez told me.
She also told me that she had been approached by people to paint on actual car parts such as a fender, or the hood of a car. She said, “I am considering it. I think painting on a door with the window still in it would make an interesting piece.”
Not only is Lopez an interesting and talented artist. She is an excellent writer as well.
In 2011, she published a children’s book My Special Tamale in both English and Spanish versions.
She said, “I pushed myself to do 22 watercolor illustrations in 30 days in order to get the book out before Christmas.”
My Special Tamale is a great story based on Lopez’s memories of tamale making with all her cousins and aunts and uncles. The book is available on Amazon and in some mortar and brick bookstores.
You can view art works by Lopez that are available for purchase or you can commission an original by going to her website abstractspeedway.com.
Also, Lopez’s works will be on display and for sale at the Arts to Zion Artists Studio Tour in Washington County, Utah, Saturday through Monday, Jan. 19-21, 2013.
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