Roberto Lugo was born in Philadelphia and exposed to prevalent drug use and gang activity in the 1980s. In an effort to establish security for his family, Lugo’s father biked to New Jersey every morning for more appealing job opportunities. Lugo has said, “When I sit at a potter’s wheel, I often think of my father’s bike tire spinning, and this metaphor has always had me reach for more.” His graffiti, painting and ceramics works speak to contemporary issues of gang violence, race, juvenile incarceration, and socio-economic depravity.
After earning a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Penn State, Lugo was invited to speak at the National Council of Education for the Ceramic Arts in Seattle, WA in 2011 and delivered a lecture entitled “Activism Through Ceramics.” The following year at the NCECA Conference held in Houston, Texas he delivered another lecture titled “From the Wheel to the Wall”, a presentation on how graffiti relates to ceramics. He was honored NCECA’s Emerging Artist of the Year in 2015. Lugo will exhibit at Miami Basil and MASS MoCA in 2015 and has just accepted a professorial position at Marlboro College in Vermont.