Cal Lutheran art exhibit memorializes local student


Gabrielle Renteria

According to the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art website, Lucca Drake Aparicio was seeking a career as an artist or a curator. This exhibit offered the opportunity to view his work and tell stories about his life.

Gabrielle Renteria, Reporter

The William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art hosted a temporary memorial exhibit from Saturday, Oct. 26 to Saturday, Nov. 2 for the late artist Lucca Drake Aparicio, who took his own life shortly after graduating from Agoura High School.

This 24-piece display paid homage to Aparicio, whose friends, family and mentors described him as a light in their lives.

“I knew that my son had a little bit of that X factor. He didn’t have to say much, but people just gravitated towards him,” Lucca Drake Aparicio’s dad Ovidio Aparicio said.

Rachel Schmid, curator of collections and exhibitions, made this on-campus exhibit possible. As Schmid is on a four month leave, Interim Curator Marita Zerbe is curating the museum in her absence.

“[Schmid] arranged it with the family, and I did all the leg work. We went on studio visits, we had the canvas stretched, the paper works framed…out of the hundreds of works he did, we picked the 24 with the most meaning,”  Zerbe said.

Zerbe said Lucca Drake Aparicio came to the campus gallery as a 16-year-old high school student and asked Schmid for a job.  Since California Lutheran University doesn’t employ people that age, Schmid had to turn him down.

The gallery hosted a closing reception on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. where those who knew and loved Lucca Drake Aparicio gathered to celebrate his life and legacy.

“He would be really happy. I’m really happy to see it up because he worked so hard for this,” high school classmate and friend Lia Grinsell said.

Attendees walked through the gallery and observed abstract impressionist style paintings, drawings and multimedia works. The art ranged in size, color and materials.

Lucca Drake Aparicio’s high school English teacher Alexis Botton  said she recognized Aparicio’s talent right away.

“Some of the stuff he was producing in class was just out of this world, he was just crazy talented,” Botton said.

His friends said his creativity was endless, and described how Aparicio left his mark everywhere he went.

“His art was graffitied places, on desks at our school, on computers. He used to take my lipsticks and paint with them,” said friend and classmate Amara Baker.

Those who attended the closing reception of the exhibit said the experience of seeing his art on display was healing and gratifying.

“It just makes you feel closer to him because this is what his whole entire life was about, this is what he wanted to do,” Lucca Drake Aparicio’s friend Olivia Aleks said.

Ovidio Aparicio said the experience was therapeutic for him. He said he enjoys being able to share how wonderful his son was with those who knew him, and hearing stories from people about the impact his son had on their lives.

“A lot of people feel that he helped them deal with life, or be an inspiration to just get up and keep going,” Ovidio Aparicio said.