Our much beloved, René Robles Cosio, aka Rene Cosio Robles, passed away unexpectedly on November 22, 2022 at his home on Turtle Ranch in Taos, New Mexico. He was 51 years young.
René was born June 28, 1971 in Los Angeles, California. On this sunny afternoon he made his earthly debut accompanied by his identical twin Adrian. They were born to parents María Auxilio Cosio and Roque Robles Gamboa, joining their ten older brothers and sisters. René grew up in Altadena, California in the liveliest of households with his many siblings, a few nephews, a flock of chickens, all varieties of pets and even a great-grandmother who kept a strict eye on all the rambunctious boys. He spent much of his childhood exploring and creating every sort of mischief with his brothers, cousins and neighborhood friends in his backyard and the nearby parks. There was no dark tunnel too scary to explore, tree too tall to climb, or animal too wild to tame, even if it was a chicken. He also enjoyed many adventures in his family’s hometowns of Valparaiso and Potrero de Gallegos in Zacatecas, México. He recalled having a happy childhood until the heartbreaking passing of his sweet mother when he was only twelve years old. This loss forever changed his life, drastically transforming the dynamics of the home he knew and later inspiring his most impactful sculptures, “Nomadic Prosessions”. This series of sculptures represents a family unit and the “joys and burdens of life”.
His creative streak (a cinematic one) started in his teenage years while making action videos with Adrian and their best friend Troy (think Miami Vice meets Born in East L.A.). At 17, he left home and high school in the trusting company of Adrian to make their way in life. This was to be the beginning of their greatest adventure. Between odd jobs and moving to different locations he completed an associates degree in electrical engineering. At his point in his journey he discovered his love and talent for art in a ceramics class. His hands deep in clay cemented (pun intended) his pathway towards a life of creating art with metals, wood, found-recycled materials, paint, clay and fire. He taught himself to paint and began to explore sculpting in earnest while at Pasadena City College. A few years later he made his big move to the Windy City. His passion and his talent for art earned him a scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated in 2002. The work he began producing during this time was described as “deeply symbolic and metaphorical” while others described it as “intense”, “whimsical” and “inspiring”.
Drawn by its luminous beauty and breathtaking landscapes, René joined Adrian and his new family in Taos, New Mexico in 2006. Here René began working as an artist, an herbalist, a carpenter, a builder, blacksmith and jack-of-all trades. In Taos, René also met and influenced many artists during his time at Taos Clay including his partner, Sarah. The art scene in the Taos community would not be the same without René’s impact and the dedication to inspiring experienced and aspiring artists alike. After working all day René was happy to go to the studio and work on his own projects or help others successfully create their own projects- he was a mentor and instructor and often didn’t leave until everyone else was gone for the night. But his most important role in Taos was that of Papá Tío at the birth of Adrian’s children Joaquin Rene Robles born in 2007 and Emilia Eunice Auxilo Robles born in 2010 and loving uncle to Dylan Crabb. In Taos he found his home.
In 2020, René and Sarah moved to his happy place, Turtle Ranch. On Turtle Ranch he was able to experience his love of nature everyday. He spent hours working on creative projects during his days there, in between quiet mornings and evenings when he would enjoy feeding horses, walking the fields, and watching animal activity from his porch. Often, his days would start before the break of dawn and would then work continuously on various projects in collaboration with the owner of Turtle Ranch, Tracei.
In her words “no idea was too crazy or impossible”. He invited a challenge and sought to manifest creative visions with his particular attention to detail, his artistic aesthetic and his incomparable craftsmanship.
Left to continue his work and honor his legacy is his partner Sarah Newberry, his twin brother Adrian Robles, his sister-in-law Mellanie Robles, his four sisters, Elsa Escamilla, Maria Hall, Patricia DeRobles, and Arcelia DeRobles, his older brothers Miguel Cosio, Zenorino DeRobles, Roque DeRobles, Octavio DeRobles, Gregorio DeRobles, Francisco Robles and Victor DeRobles. He also leaves behind many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends who he has loved, guided and inspired to follow their own creative pursuits and the desires of their heart. René lived an extraordinary life, the life of a master artist and craftsman; the life of a master human.
A scholarship for Latinx community college transferring to the Art Institute of Chicago will be created in his memory.