Leroy Ortega has been carving since 1969. Working in New Mexico, Ortega was heavily influenced by the Santero carvers. Carving his figures out of cottonwood, as the Santero carvers did, Ortega’s work is seemingly born out of the rich New Mexican tradition. The term Santero is a modern label, which refers to the religious carvers of the Southwest region of North America. The sacred images created by the Santero carvers serve as “tangible, visible reminders of the real persons they depict.”
– Awalt, Barbe and Rhetts, Paul. Our Saints Among Us, 400 Years of New Mexican Devotional Art, Albuquerque: LPD Press, 1998.