Artist’s paintings come alive in Day of the Dead pieces

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Local artist Bobby Jo “B.J.” Lesperance has been a professional artist for seven years.

Lesperance said she had a passion for art since pre-school when she created many drawings. In pre-school, she created a Christmas tree picture for a design contest, and when she was 10 years old her dad introduced her to a local artist of 15 years, Fernando Mercado. Mercado was an inspiration to her because he gave her her first set of professional markers, she said.

Lesperance was president of the art club in high school, and took art classes after graduating.

“There is always inspiration in what you do,” Lesperance said.

“The challenges are finding time,” Lesperance said. “I’m involved in a lot of things. I work two jobs. I want to just concentrate on art.”

Lesperance said everyone in her family is an artist in their own way. Her two younger sisters also do art. Her sister A.J. does pencil work and her sister J.J. is a tattoo artist.

Lesperance’s Day of the Dead paintings are well-known, and she is involved in the art community in Socorro. She has held the title of superintendant of the Socorro County Fair fine arts, for six years. For two years, in 2005 and 2011, she won the T-shirt contest for SocorroFest, and this year she will design the wine glass for the event. Lesperance is also designing the logo for the ‘M’ Mountain Fly-In that will take place on Sept. 29.

Last year’s T-shirt design for SocorroFest was chosen from artwork she did a few years back.

“I didn’t compete, so it was pretty cool,” she said.

In competitions, Lesperance has entered her artwork in the State Fair and recently won honorable mention for the Hispanic Fine Arts competition. She has also won several contests in Socorro County.

Some of her favorite paintings are of horses and portraits of people. Lesperance also loves painting Day of the Dead skeletons and alters, she said.

“I love (art), it’s my greatest passion in life,” Lesperance said.

She started her Day of the Dead drawings in 2005, when she entered a contest in Magdalena. She won a blue ribbon and people began to like her work. Soon her paintings became in high demand.

For Lesperance, art is an expression of the grief she felt when her father passed away. Art was very soothing for her at the time, she said.

When Lesperance started to win awards, she sold her first art piece to Mercado.

“Here, in Socorro, everyone encourages everyone in the art world,” Lesperance said.