Mourning a Friend

Scott Francis
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Fermin Hernandez passed away earlier this year.  Years ago, I bought a piece of artwork from his gallery in Albuquerque.  He was approachable in a way that other gallery owners weren’t to a young man in flip flops and shorts.  He was friendly and patient and took joy in explaining his craft – because he wasn’t just the gallery owner, he was the primary artist.  Over the years I collected a couple additional works of his, and I always loved his sense of color, shade, lines, proportion, and especially shadow.  The man was a genius with his craft.

Maybe he liked me because the first piece I was drawn to was one of his earlier works, in which he confessed he bit off almost more than he could chew in terms of the technical difficulty in an era before computer aided design. 

A week after visiting, I called to order that piece on the wall, and he knew who I was and remembered the conversation.  Maybe he knew that piece had found a home even before I did.  It was the creation story that sold me as much as the striking image.  Perhaps I was always a process guy underneath – appreciating the process of the serigraph as much as the final product.  It was an early view into how creative endeavors are also processes. If you’ve seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you can kind of imagine the life of someone obsessed with producing great serigraphs and lithographs.  

I didn’t know Fermin well, but I don’t think you had to know him well to appreciate his personality and his development as an artist. You could see his use of bold colors evolve as he traveled to the Mediterranean and then returned to New Mexico.

“Albuquerque artist and gallery owner Fermín Hernández, whose work hung on the sets of “Breaking Bad” as well as in the collections of Secretary of State John Kerry and actor Ted Danson, died Wednesday.”

I didn’t realize his art hung in such company, but I’m not surprised. Another gallery has taken on the task of representing his remaining work, and has a well-written biography there.  If you visit my home or my office, you can find his work hanging there.  It always gave me comfort that he was creating new works of art, and I’ve been looking forward to visiting him a third time in Albuquerque, but that next visit from me will come too late.  He was taken from us too soon.

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