Antonio Lopez, Puerto Rican (1943 -1987)

Antonio Lopez was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico on February 11th, 1943. When Antonio was seven years old, the family migrated to New York, where he attended P.S. 77 on East 104th Street. Through his talents he gained the friendship and admiration of other children as well as teachers. To keep her son off the streets, Lopez?s mother, a seamstress, would ask him to draw flowers for her embroideries. He helped his father, a mannequin maker, to apply make-up and stitch the wigs on the figures.

In adolescence, Lopez thought he would become a dancer, and in fact met with some success dancing in children?s TV programs, but he eventually turned to what he called ?his first love?---drawing. At the age of twelve he was awarded a scholarship to the Traphagen School of Fashion, which provided Saturday programs for children, particularly inner-city youth. The classes were offered by local colleges and training schools to expose young people to experience in the arts. In junior high school Lopez was encouraged by his art teacher to attend the High School of Art and Design (formerly High School of Industrial Arts), part of the New York City school system. Upon graduation Lopez was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where three teachers---Beatrice Dwan, Frances Neady, and Ana Ishikawa---supported him in his efforts to embark on a career in fashion illustration.

As part of a work-study program at FIT, Lopez worked for Fairchild Publications, publisher of numerous newspapers including the fashion trade paper Women?s Wear Daily. Staff in the paper?s millinery department noticed Lopez?s impressive drawings of women?s heads and invited him to view and draw the new season?s Lilly Dache collection. One of those drawings soon appeared on the front page of the paper. When offered the opportunity to take the job there, Lopez left school and joined the staff. About six months later was offered a positions at the New York Times where, after first covering the theater, he soon began a long and productive collaboration with fashion editors Patricia Peterson and Carrie Donovan. Under their experienced eyes he was able to explore the influence that various art styles---beginning with Pop Art, Op Art, Surrealism, and others?had on fashion design. He signed his work simply ?Antonio,? even after beginning a creative and business partnership with Juan Ramos, a friend from FIT.

In the early 1960s, Lopez began to free-lance for fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper?s Bazaar, Elle, and Andy Warhol?s Interview, where his portraits of models Jerry Hall, Jessica Lange, and Grace Jones enhanced their careers. In 1964, Lopez introduced himself to couturier Charles James in a New York restaurant. That meeting resulted in a collaboration between the young artist and older master that would last more than ten years and produce an illustrated record of all the clothes James had ever designed. James taught Lopez to appreciate the sculptural quality of clothes, a perspective that had a lasting effect on his drawings.

In 1969, Lopez and Ramos moved to Paris, where they remained for seven years. They were central there with designer Karl Lagerfeld in a group of models and fashion personalities and helped introduce American Pop Art to Paris. By the early 1970s, ANTONIO?S wor His constantly changing, flamboyant style came to dominate fashion illustration by injecting energy into a discipline that had been stagnant since the 1950s. Lopez?s career took him to Paris, Tokyo, Kyoto, Milan, Sidney, Melbourne, and other international locations.Working for and with manufacturers, publications, and retailers with models he had discovered and whose careers he had fostered, Lopez pursued various art forms and endeavors. He worked in a variety of materials, including pencil, pen and ink, charcoal, watercolor, and Polaroid film, and also pursued jewelry design, conceptual designs (such as window displays for Fiorucci and Studio 54), graphic collaboration on Interview. k was in demand around the world.

Metamorphosing the imagery of his Puerto Rican childhood, Lopez transformed girls from multiethnic backgrounds into representations of universal standards of late twentieth-century beauty.

Lopez died of complications related to AIDS on March 17, 1987. He was forty-four years old.

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