HONDO, N.M., June 14 (UPI) -- Luis Jimenez, 66, an innovative New Mexico artist who was the first to create sculptures from fiberglass, has died in an apparent industrial accident.
Jimenez and two employees were moving a sculpture in his studio with a hoist when the piece apparently came loose, pinning him, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office told the Roswell (N.M.) Record.
The son of Mexican immigrants, Jimenez was born in El Paso, Texas. He worked in his father's neon sign shop and then studied architecture and art at the University of Texas in Austin, where he graduated in 1964. He later studied at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City.
After working as an assistant to Seymour Lipton in New York City, Jimenez moved in 1972 to Hondo, N.M., to pursue his craft.
"He basically created a new medium with fiberglass," said Brinkman Randle, board member of the Roswell Artist in Residence program.
One of his sculptures, "Southwest Pieta," was named a National Treasure by first lady Hillary Clinton. The Houston Art League made him Texas Artist of the Year in 1998.
Jimenez is survived by his wife Susan, and children Elisa, Adan, Orion and Xochil.