In 2007- 2008, Hilario Lugo began a journey that opened his artistic expression to its full potential in engraving, but before this endeavor, he was a professional cook and felt it wasn’t going as he envisioned. He said his goodbyes and pursued his dream, to be an artist. While at a swap meet doing a mural, Lugo met a gentleman who would change his whole perspective on another medium for artistic expression and creativity.
The stranger invited Lugo to stop by to see his work of engraving on the lowrider cars. Little did Lugo know; he was about to see a whole new world that was going to fill his heart. Lugo fell in love with the newfound form of creative art and knew right away that this is what he wanted to do.
The craft is something Lugo takes pride in and the people he encounters. Which mostly consist of Lowriders and motorcycles. Lugo says these works of art can be brutal on the hands and joints, but it’s well worth it. He’s done a little over 40 cars but little pieces here and there, nothing too grand just yet. While the engraving is quite mesmerizing to watch, there is a process before the artwork can begin. At times if the parts haven’t been prepped or the chrome hasn’t been stripped away, the parts must be taken to a chrome shop for all plating to be removed. Simply carving into the chrome is very difficult and can lead to chrome chipping away like paint or rust buildup.
Lugo also states that at times he’ll get a few customers who bring him parts that have just been dipped in chrome and are wanting to engrave, it’s a process he says and the parts have to be stripped of the chrome to engrave, so now it becomes very costly for the client. Aside from a few obstacles, Lugo loves what he does and part of that has a lot to do with the builders he meets because they do it for the art, the culture, and the lifestyle. Plus, Lugo has a great history and connection with the lifestyle of lowriding.
There is no other area or profession he would rather be doing right now than this, it’s his full-time job and the bread and butter for him and his family. He also has a great deal of respect for the people who get this type of work done, there is so much that goes into it. And watching Lugo perform his craft is like watching a chef fillet a fish, it’s almost Zen-like, and you see it happening right away.
Tattoos are another area of art Lugo enjoys, but he does state that he doesn’t have any at the moment. He says that if he gets a tattoo, it’s going to be one of those continuing journeys to get completely covered. Engraving and tattooing go together like peanut butter and sardines, wait that’s not right…peanut butter and jelly, there we go. Engraving is more than just a hobby, or a job, when a person gets the flow of the filigree just right then you can go crazy with it but until then, take your time, it’s an art form.
Lugo’s Engraving offers classes in two different ways, one in person and the other online, Classes in person start at $1,050 for one day, $2,050 for two days, and $2,750 for 3 days, and the online classes are about 4 hours long and cost about $495 and they are one on one. Along with the classes, Lugo teaches the fundamentals of scrollwork and usage of tools and what types to use. And another added benefit of taking the class is that students can still contact Lugo for any questions they might have, no matter if it’s for 1 month or 2 years.
“It’s never too late in life to do what you want to do; it may not be on the Forbes list of billionaires but you can earn a good living and enjoy life.”
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