To hear Lorenzo Lopez speak about his art is like witnessing a torrential downpour forced through a single spigot. It’s not the speed at which he talks; it’s that each carefully chosen word spoken about his passion projects seems to carry the weight of three.
Despite never studying art as a child, Lopez combined a curiosity for upcycling trash with a handiness for tinkering into a career as a world traveling artist.
“I’ve always been very creative and good with my hands. Trying to build stuff,” Lopez said. “I think the first thing that I did was use telephone wire. You have that red and green and blue and yellow inside. I used to do different shapes and different techniques.”
He uses that ability to craft from junk to make massive interactive works that speak from his heart the way a poem would. In his most famous piece, an installation he calls “Love Me, Love Me Not”, Lopez shows how he sees the world through materials as diverse as bullet casings, African porcupine quills, silverware, pennies, broken Coca-Cola bottles, and keys.
There are those artists who are reluctant to divulge the inspirations behind their masterpieces, afraid the dialogue might stop if one knew the answers to their questions definitively. Lopez is not those artists.
“Nobody showed me how to do this, so I find sense in my art and I try to make (the meaning) as explicit as possible,” he said. “And if I can be there to give you my point of view, then I would love to share it.”
That forwardness played perfectly to the crowd of Lancaster High School students and staff members who gathered to meet Lopez on his visit. The lecture ranged from his biography to his family to his work; a presentation that, like a work from an impressionist painter, when separated might seem scattered and undisciplined, but when taking in the experience as a whole provides you a clear picture of his vision.
“I’ve been blessed with the possibility to go around the world and live in it,” he mused. “And if I can share something with someone which can be in a way or another good for them, that’s the most important thing that I can provide. Trying to bring some art here, and trying to make something interesting so it’s more interactive and they can participate.
“I’m telling them about a very personal experience. I’m talking about life through my eyes.”