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Charles M. Carrillo has blended craft, conservation, and innovation throughout his career as a santero — a “saintmaker,” or carver and painter of images of saints. Carrillo started his creative journey in 1978 when he began researching the techniques, materials, and subject matter of the early santeros. Today he is recognized not only as the primary authority on this subject but also as the most accomplished artist practicing in this regional tradition.
Carrillo has won many awards, including the Museum of International Folk Art’s Hispanic Heritage Award, as well as numerous First Place, Best of Show, and Grand Prize entries in the Annual Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe, where he has been a participant for more than 20 years.
In 2006, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Spanish Market and the prestigious NEA National Heritage Fellowship. His work is exhibited in many major museums including The Heard Museum, Denver Art Museum, Regis University, Albuquerque Museum, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the Smithsonian.
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