Eighteen-year-old takes festival art honor

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Tess Mansfield found her love of art as a high school student in Socorro,
“I was determined to find a hobby to occupy my time,” she wrote in her blog. “However, my interest in art became more than just a hobby, it became a passion that opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of a future career in the art field.”
The 18-year-old grew up in Rodeo, N.M., moving to Socorro three years ago. She graduated in May this year from Socorro High School as a member of the National Society of High School Scholars.
“Life hasn’t exactly been easy and I’ve wanted to give up so many times,” she said. “However, when you have a family as great as mine you want to be everything you can for them.”
Mansfield said her mom is her best friend.
“She’s helped me in so many ways that I can never really repay her,” she said. “She has always believed in me and for that I am where I am today.”
When she began drawing a few years ago, Mansfield said she would get frustrated because nothing she drew seemed to turn out like she wanted it to. But her mom kept encouraging her and she kept practicing.
“Today I’d say it really paid off,” Mansfield said. “I also owe a lot of thanks to an art teacher at Socorro High, Mrs. Laurie Heintz, she really encouraged me to further my education in art.”
The artistic world has provided Mansfield with some good opportunities, from drawing people’s tattoos, being offered the chance to help in painting a Socorro city mural and winning the SocorroFest T-shirt design.
“For me, winning this design was a true honor,” she said. “It gives me motivation and determination to continue in my future career in art.”
Mansfield said she has always been a determined individual believes hard work is the key to life.
“I worked for everything I have and never expect anything to just be handed to me,” she said. “Throughout my life I only have one goal; be myself and never give up on my dreams. I’ll work hard because I believe that there is a reason why I was put onto this earth and I won’t stop until I figure out what that purpose is.”
Moving to Albuquerque to attend the University of New Mexico, Mansfield said she is the first in her family to attend college and she hopes her two younger sisters will follow.
“As of right now I am majoring in studio arts and minoring in business and communications,” she said. “When it’s all said and done I hope to have a successful career in Graphic Design. I am super excited about seeing my design on a T-shirt at SocorroFest.”
Mansfield said she wants to encourage everyone to go to SocorroFest, enjoy some live entertainment, participate in family activities and try some local food.
“Hope so see you all there,” she said.

Glass Design by B.J.
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 Lesperance 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 division for six years. For two years, in 2005 and 2011, she won the T-shirt contest for SocorroFest, and this year she designed the wine glass for the event.
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.
“I love (art), it’s my greatest passion in life,” Lesperance said.