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Looking to an old friend for inspiration

The art a Pocatello man made as a teenager now sits in his office and serves as inspiration for the 70-year-old’s new artistic passion.

“My wife and I, we still like to go out and kinda roam around the backroads and we look for an old pick up, an old car, you know, an old camp trailer and things like that,” Vic Lucero said. “And that’s kinda how this whole thing got off on a roll.”

It was more than twenty years ago when Vic and his wife Doris were out roaming on a backcountry road and stumbled across something that Vic hadn’t seen in years.

“To me, I don’t know, it was like seeing an old friend,” he said. That “friend” is a fish Lucero painted as 14-year-old, which was hung on the outside of a shed.

Part of a project for the Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce in the winter of 1963, the fish was one of two – each on a separate billboard on opposite sides of town.

“So anyway, I went over there and knocked on the guy’s door and asked him if I could buy that fish,” Vic said.

The man questioned why he wanted it at first, but then Lucero explained his history with it.

“Then he told me, he says ‘you know what? I think that fish needs to go home.'”

And that’s where it’s been for more than two decades, giving him reminders of his past and inspiration for the future.

But painting wasn’t in the cards for Lucero, who spent 25 years with the transportation department before retiring.

Now, Lucero’s work can be seen with the work he does on vintage cars.

“My new form of art,” he said.

Since 1986, Lucero has worked on more than 35 cars and trailers.

“I found this car in Chubbuck, and that’s the very same car,” he said, pointing to two pictures of a car, before and after style. “The guy that bought it from me did this to it, but this car and this car is exactly the same car.”

Through the dirty axles and broken windshields, Vic still loves looking at his first piece.

“It was my first thing out there for people to see,” he said. “That was my inspiration.”

Vic says his kids have told him he can never sell the fish since they want to have that same “old friend” hanging around their homes.

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