|Celebrating the Arts & Community Events in New Mexico, West Texas & Arizona|
It’s only natural to draw conclusions about a person from their work, and especially so when you’ve never met them personally. After entering Casita de Guadalupe, Roy Lohr and Tony Otero’s joint venture at 417 Broadway in Truth or Consequences (T or C), there is a definitive vibe. After pacing around the cram packed gallery and viewing all the digitally manipulated shots, each chronicling Hispanic/Native American life in the Southwest, your impression of Lohr may be deceiving. The style itself, digital manipulation, would bring to mind the image of someone cutting edge and fast paced. The shots of Catholic churches and Cinco de Mayo ceremonies would make you think of a grounded traditionalist. In essence you expect to find a young well-groomed trendy Mexican American Catholic who listens to techno and drives a Porsche, not the reserved white guy casually watching over the store and looks like he may have been a roadie for ZZ Top in his wilder years.
Yes, Casita de Guadalupe and Lohr’s more recent work is a bad starting point for getting to know one of T or C’s most respected digital masters. So, just how did a small Floridian boy with a love for art born the year WWII ended become this very unconventional photographer. It’s a long and complex story, but between typical teenage rebellion during the 1950s and then taking ranks of the front lines of self-discovery in his early adulthood (1960s) a formula was concocted that took his mind on a ride, one that he and others would not soon forget and one that paved the groundwork for what would eventually become his great passion in life.
“Life is a dream. It’s hard to believe, but it’s a dream and now I’m living mine,” Lohr commented.
Until moving to New Mexico art was an occasional fling. It was only something he flirted with when his real job wasn’t in the way or a cause he took up when he felt like he was going through a time of great personal change. He often devaluated the validity of pursuing art and religion. But in the recent years two, events unfolded that shook him to the core, awakening his artistic vision from its slumber.
The first was his friend Joe Waldrum. Waldrum’s life and friendship was pivotal in causing Lohr to make his talent seriously and his art even more so. And after Waldrum’s death, Lohr felt compelled to “follow in his footsteps.” Then began Lohr’s work of photographing churches, specifically Catholic churches, the centerpiece for the majority of Waldrum’s work.
And as for the other event? About three years ago in his house, Lohr tripped while on a midnight mission out of bed. After going into a state of semi-consciousness and temporarily being pinned to the earth by paralysis, he stood up to find his head split down the center. At that moment he embraced religion again. Not Catholicism, or even Christianity for that matter, but he found a renewed relevance for religion.
“The Churches are a symbol of the human body,” Lohr explained.
So it was now time for a man who was primarily a painter to become a digital photographer. “I bought my first digital camera without any intention of using it for art. It was a major transition,” Lohr expounded. “The camera opened a whole new perspective.”
Now Lohr can more readily do things that he finds as valuable avenues for expanding art and human consciousness such as flipping, combining and blurring images, all things that command great skill and time to do on a canvas. And there is also a commercial benefit to this method. “My goal is to not have expensive art but affordable art and digital allows that.”
Lohr is currently featured in T or C at his 417 Broadway location and will be featured until September 21 at RioBravoFineArt located at 110 Broadway. In Las Cruces, Lohr will be featured at the White Raven Studios located at 425 W. Griggs Ave. from September 9–October 6. For more information, call 894-0530.