Luis Sanchez

The last time I sculpted was for a series in 2001. Since then I’ve been primarily painting, but during all that time, sculpture ideas have been brewing in my mind. In the spring of 2006, my partner and I moved to Kansas for a six-month sabbatical from city life in LA. It was a very inspiring trip, and it was then that I found a vision for- and the collection of- found objects to begin this series of sculptures and shadow boxes, But of course, there’s more to it than that.

In 2007, after we returned to Los Angeles, my health changed. Fourteen years before, I had been the recipient of a kidney transplant that saved me from a life-time of kidney disease. But transplanted organs don’t last a lifetime, and this one had reached the end of its useful life. For the last three years, I have been awaiting a second transplant, and living on dialysis. It has altered every aspect of my life in ways I could not have imagined. For instance, I lose three days of every week to treatment, month after month, stretching for three years and counting.

At first I wasn’t in a good space physically, mentally or spiritually and so I finally turned to starting this sculpture series as a method of coping, releasing my frustration, and as a form of therapy. It worked in ways I didn’t understand at first.

In the past, I have worked as an art therapy counselor for teens through an organization in Seattle called Power of Hope, as well as other organizations. Back then, I was the teacher; now it is my turn to be the ‘student.’ I had to express my emotions about my life-threatening illness by releasing them into something positive.

This body of work is very special because I’ve had to overcome so much. It’s been a rewarding and powerful experience. In the past three years, a series of characters have come to life through me; they’ve given me strength, hope, and light when there was none. These characters have saved me.

Every single one of these pieces is an aspect, an emotion or a thought that reflects what I’ve been going through for the past three years, echoing back through a lifetime of illness, struggle, and eventually triumph.