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Nicholas Herrera

Nicholas Herrera began carving as a child in El Rito, NM, but abandoned his art-making to focus on a wild and reckless youth. A nearly-fatal motorcycle accident prompted Herrera’s dual conversions to a life of art making and to the penitente sect of the New Mexican Catholic religion. The carving made from that experience, "Mi Vida de 25," which shows the angels hovering around Herrera’s comatose body, is now in the permanent collection at the Harwood Museum in Taos, NM.

Herrera is a santero who carves and paints bultos, retablos, and makes large-scaled works from wood and recycled metal, including salvaged automobiles. He is a vato santero, whose art engages the complex dialectical traditions of the Indian and the Hispanic, as well as the traditional and the contemporary Hispanic.

Herrera learned to carve by interacting with some of New Mexico’s well-known carvers and santeros, including Felipe and Leroy Archuleta, and Charlie Carrillo. From Carrillo, he learned to make and to use natural pigments. Whereas he once had trouble gaining access to the Indian and Hispanic Markets of Santa Fe, he is now recognized across the world. Nicholas Herrera: Visiones De Mi Corazon/Vision of My Heart (LPD Publishing, 2003), tells the story of Herrera’s work in stories and pictures.


  • Smithsonian Institutions, Museum of Colonial Arts, Washington, D.C.
  • Rockefeller Museum of American Folk Art, New York, NY
  • Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM
  • The Harwood Museum, Tesuque, NM
  • Mr. Myron Shure, Chicago, IL
  • Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Tesuque, NM


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San Angel Folk Art Gallery
Voted "Best of San Antonio's Art Galleries" &
"Best Folk Art Collection in the U.S."

110 Blue Star
San Antonio, TX 78204

Located in Southtown
less than a mile from San Antonio's downtown attractions,
the Riverwalk and the Alamo

San Angel Folk Art

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