Profile Hugo Mesa – Visit During Fall Open Studio 10/3 & 10/4

A VISIT WITH HUGO MESA – by Judy Dales

 

I just met Hugo Mesa recently, in spite of the fact that we live only a few miles apart, and I felt as though I had discovered a hidden treasure. Visiting his lovely rural home is like visiting a museum. It is full of whimsy and artistic touches scattered throughout the house and yard.

Hugo Mesa

Hugo at his work bench.

The man, himself, is also unique. I was immediately drawn to a like-minded creative spirit, and soon discovered that this is a man with integrity, depth and commitment. His drive to create has molded his entire life and every decision he has made has honored his art and his desire to live life on his own terms.

Hugo Mesa Deer Door

Hugo Mesa carves many doors or screens featuring wildlife.

He was born in Bogata, Columbia and lived in Los Angeles from the age of 17 until 1975. During this phase of his life, he discovered his talent, set about acquiring skill with many tools and a variety of media, and built a business that produced custom-made architectural elements from a combination of carved wood, metal, ceramics and Glassplex (a unique acrylic material that resembles stained glass). His unique creations were wildly popular and brought him both wealth and fame, but like many artists before him, Hugo discovered that success drew him away from the creative pursuits that are the foundation of his life.

Hugo Mesa door post

A signature carved door and door post by Hugo Mesa.

So he walked away, leaving the business behind. He moved to Florida where he built a smaller studio practice that allowed him to mold his life around his art. He continued to make doors, furniture and mirrors but each piece was hand carved, the product of his own hand and imagination. Scaling back his business allowed him to focus on his art, giving his creativity free rein and providing a life style more fitting to his personality.

Hugo Mesa

Carved Box by Hugo Mesa

In 1990 Hugo moved to Craftsbury, VT with his wife Valerie where he continued to carve large, custom items. While the beauty and serenity of the Northeast Kingdom provided nourishment for his creative spirit, it made it difficult to connect with customers. Once again, Hugo synchronized his career approach with his life style, and found that attending several home shows, and advertising twice a year in a log home periodical kept his name out there and word of mouth took it from there.

Underwater carved panel

Carved doors featuring underwater scene with fish and shells.

Recently Hugo discovered that as the years go by, the urge to create is still strong, but the realities of advancing age must be taken into account. The fact that he has amassed a huge collection of beautiful leftover pieces of scrap wood has provided the perfect solution. He now works on smaller projects such as intricately carved mahogany lamps that serve as night lights, pipes and all manner of whimsical items.

Water wheel lamp

Carved wooden lamp of a grist mill with a copper roof by Hugo Mesa.

Over the years, evolving circumstances have dictated change, but Hugo’s commitment to his art is constant. Visit his studio this weekend, October 3 & 4 from 10:00 to 5:00, and see for yourself the result of a lifelong dedication to creativity.