Erasmo Fuentes: Mormon Artist
Erasmo Fuentes de Hoyos is a sculptor in stone, wood, and bronze. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He was born in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1943 and raised in Saltillo. His father, Arturo, was a taxidermist and taught Erasmo the basics of visual art. He sculpted taxidermy forms for his father, which tutored him in sculpting wildlife. In 1964, Erasmo moved to the United States to work. He studied sculpture at Brigham Young University under Dallas Anderson. He concluded his studies in 1968.
He returned to Saltillo, Mexico in 1983 and he and his wife started a wood pallet-making factory. When that business went under, Fuentes made his living as an artist by carving wood and stone. He started his own bronze foundry in 1984 and became a master at carving wood or stone, modeling clay, or working wrought iron. He began receiving significant commissions for monuments in 1990, such as a heroic-sized monument of Porfirio Diaz, former president of Mexico.
Fuentes moved his studio to Provo, Utah, when two of his sons were admitted to Brigham Young University and he wanted to stay close to his family.
According to Fuentes, each sculpture has a meaning behind it. For example, his five children served as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ. With his son Alex, he created Anxiously Engaged—a sculpture that adorns Provo’s Missionary Training Center—while two of his children were serving missions. He and Alex were also commissioned to create a monument honoring the pioneers who settled Spanish Fork, Utah. His work is found in art collections in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, South America, China, and Korea. He has created many religious, wildlife, dance, and children pieces.
Fuentes is a self-taught professional guitarist. He played to earn living expenses while he was studying at BYU. He was also on the BYU Ballroom Dance Company, which was founded by his uncle Benjamin F. De Hoyos.
He and his wife, Cynthia, currently reside in Mapleton, Utah. His studio was destroyed by fire in June 2014 but he continues to sculpt.