Artist behind the Esperanza development’s massive rock pieces in Boerne passes away
Esequiel “Chappo” Luevanos, a Mexican-born artist whose work involved shaping massive limestone boulders into sculptures and furniture scattered across Texas Hill Country, died on Oct. 17. He was 63.
The cause was not immediately clear and was unexpected, said Bill Hinckley, the president of the Lookout Group Inc., the Texas real estate and investment company behind the Crystal Falls and the Esperanza development just outside of Boerne.
Luevanos repurposed large stones and turned them into rock installations. Using recycled construction materials, his work helped define the earthy-like brand of the Lookout Group. Its properties are full of salvaged limestone, pasture walls and hand-stacked walls that call back to German settler homesteads.
Crystal Falls and Esperanza are both replete with 2,000-pound hand carved street signs and dramatic stockade fences made of cedar stays. Luevanos was in the middle of designing art for the company’s upcoming George’s Ranch subdivision in Boerne.
“He created a surprise around every corner,” Hinckley said. “It wasn’t anything for him to pick up a 2,000-pound rock with chains and heavy machinery and bring it across the community to carve it into an owl.”
The Luevanos family did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement posted online, the family said they were devastated by the loss.
Luevanos is survived by his wife, Michelle Luevanos; daughters Raven Luevanos and Whitney Gordon; and sons Jeremy and Cody Gordon.
“Chappo was a loving and caring husband, father and friend who touched the hearts of those around him,” the post said. “Chappo dedicated his life to his wife and children, and his legacy will live on through the artful projects seen throughout Esperanza and beyond.”
Luevanos was born in the Mexican state of Coahuila in 1958. He and his four siblings immigrated to the United States when he was 4-years-old. According to Hinckley, the family arrived in a 1956 Chevrolet with only $20. The family made it as far as Florence, Texas, before the vehicle broke down.
Luevanos grew up on ranches in South Texas and began working for the Lookout Group in 1999. Luevanos and his brother Joe helped the company build its Crystal Falls Community near Austin. Crystal Falls, home to an old limestone quarry, was where Luevanos honed his craft.
One of the hallmarks of the Esperanza development is a 1850s-inspired mission sentinel near the entrance to the development.
Luevanos moved to Esperanza seven years ago and worked with a crew that based each piece on hand-drawn sketches made in the field.
“Every boulder or rock has a face,” Luevanos said in a recent promotional video posted on Esperanza’s website. “People just see a rock. I look at a face and the best way to put that where it will stand out better.”
Luevanos was well known throughout Esperanza and beyond. He developed a close friendship with Kendall County Sheriff Tom Allison, who said he considered Luevanos a father figure.
“His death was a really big shock,” Allison said. “I’ve seen a lot of death but it’s closer to home when it’s someone you’ve known for a long time.”