Where do we go from here?
Hard to believe that two months have passed since New Mexico started its first shutdowns of public places. In those two months, we have grown to recognize new levels of responsibility and develop new forms of community. The pandemic has isolated us, frightened us, and shook our concepts of our society. As we shift our focus from selfish need to global healing in restructured world, the world and its people must rise together to create a new way of living, one born in empathy and innovation. The questions are “where do we go from here?” And “how?” And where is Here?
We go from Here
Here for me, is Santa Fe, where I work and grow as an artist. Naturally, I have been working on my art , the large central piece of my series Coral Reef. You can see the progress:
From here - talking
I have been using Zoom, FaceTime and Skype to keep in touch with family and friends across the country. Some of these calls are frivolous and fun and others are structured and serious, like the slow-read Shakespeare group and the James Joyce reading group. In other groups we ponder questions in open discussions – about the Beatles – were they misogynist or progressive? I talk to family who live far away, and I see how healing our phone calls can be.
From here - walking
I walk in the arroyos and along the Santa Fe River, amazed - as I am every year - at how quickly Spring leaps from pathetic sprigs on bare cold ground, to full blown explosion of leaf and color. I practice yoga, and that has help me quiet my spirit and be hopeful.
From Here to Absolute Elsewhere
And How we go from Here
Where do we go from here? We will see with the passage of time what changes are permanent. For now, Spring has the answer. I will plant seeds, figuratively and literally, tend them and watch them grow.
Deco is award-winning collage artist working and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Yes, the sky is that blue.
What Spring is this?
Mid-April, and daffodils are in bloom, a sudden snowstorm has killed off the abundant wisteria blossoms, and everyone in town looks like the Unabomber. Yes, it’s Spring, like all Springs …and like no Spring we have ever seen.
My daily routine has changed little – I am plugging away at my art, making steady progress. Here are the latest photos.
Shakespeare Endured Epidemic Isolation Too
I am also attending my usual literary meetings via Zoom, reading early writings of James Joyce in one group, and tackling Shakespeare’s Coriolanus in another. Coincidentally, a writer for the New Yorker made some interesting parallels with the play Coriolanus and the current administration’s response to the pandemic. Here is the link: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-shakespeare-play-that-presaged-the-trump-administrations-response-to-the-coronavirus-pandemic
Spot the Collage
In preparing for this blog entry, I looked at recent photos and I was amused that many photos look like my collages. For instance:
Can you pick out the Deco Collage Original?
Let’s make this more fun. Send me your answer plus a 10-word statement of why you should win, and I will send the winning entrant a greeting card collection. ($20 value and I will cover the shipping cost). Send your contest response via Messenger to my Facebook page @ Deco – Artist. Contest ends at midnight April 30, 2020.
Like many of you who are alert to the pandemic sweeping the globe, I have had to make some changes to my plans and routines. Trips have been canceled; appearances have had to be postponed. Disappointment and frustration rule the day. When I learned about the importance of “flattening the curve”, I knew I had to do my part. At some significant monetary cost, I have stepped away from my booth at El Museo – I had just settled in there on February 1, and was planning to complete the season. But public health and my health and the health of people I love is at risk. I choose to be proactive and creative.
Home and Studio
So….for the time being, I am working from home. My home studio is already cluttered with scraps of the latest Coral Reef piece, and I am making great progress.
I can also fill orders that come from Etsy and this website. I will be soon joining another online art gallery: Art of Giving Art, which has a charitable donation component. I will have more info on that in my next blog entry.
I have a large stock of cards, journals and posters that make terrific gifts – take a look at my two Etsy shops for ideas.
The Propitious Moment
On the last day of January, a great opportunity opened for me in Santa Fe – a booth at the Winter Market of El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe became available. I know some of the artists and artisans and other vendors of this market, so I was familiar with its layout. They offered me a booth with real walls – that means I could bring some of my big framed Original Collages and have them on display continuously, like a mini- pop up gallery.
After some hesitation, I jumped in the pool – what fun! The Winter Market operates all weekend long, so it is accessible to folks visiting The Farmers Market next door for their weekly fill of fresh New Mexican produce and goat cheese on Saturdays, and appeal to late-rising tourists and locals on Sunday afternoons.
Artist at Work
So as of February 1, I was up and running – DECO fine art collage at the Winter Market. The following weekend, I hauled in my easel and collage tools and I demonstrated my cut-and-paste technique to my visitors. I enjoy showing my approach, especially to kids who are then eager to start their own collage projects. As a delightful bonus, I get to work on my new piece, one of the Coral Reef series – another bright and flowy abstract.
I was welcomed warmly by the vendors at the Winter Market, especially by the artists on Gallery Row. I brought in my Original Collage portrait of Abraham Lincoln and put it on prominent display in my booth. I was pleased when the management asked to use the image of my Lincoln as part of their print ad campaign for the Presidents Day Weekend. The ad went into both the weekly events and culture magazine and the Saturday daily.
So that’s pretty cool. I’m not sure how long I will be doing the Winter Market – it ends in May – but I have some interesting travel planned for the Spring which will take me away on some weekends, so I will have to decide whether to keep a presence in the Market.
I will post my plans here on my website and on FB and Instagram. I have some other “irons in the fire” – exciting new ventures! and I will hear about them next week and post updates.
A recent first-time visitor was befuddled while sitting down to tea and commented that my home was like “walking into a collage.” I laughed, but I came to realize that this sort of arrangement was what I had been doing all my life. I don’t like to follow “rules”, but I suppose I have a few guidelines.
I live in a Santa Fe-style house, which is local code for “hey, it’s small”. So like many locals, I learned to use every square inch to my advantage. I layer furniture and art vertically and horizontally, under and over.
1. Make it cozy and colorful.
Using only a few colors in a bold color palette, I echo color in the sunburst painting and the cushions; the green of the house plants harmonizes with the hue in the tall antique painting. Note the vintage wine baskets under the daybed (great for guests and quick naps!) I stow unused knickknacks and guidebooks and maps for visitors in these baskets.
2. Arrange things in ways that make you happy.
I use the mantel for display of precious items – my mother’s Venetian glass vase and my grandmother’s bronze statue. On the banco below, a beautiful glass mosaic (a Judy Steed original) and a dragonfly firescreen are layered behind candles and plants.
4. Discover you have a collection.
What was the outcome of all this rearrangement and thought? New energy! I have sent submissions to art shows throughout the country and made plans for new projects. New art! I started this one yesterday – let’s see where it leads me.
My two Etsy sites – are thriving: Every week brings new people who want to bring collage to their homes and who want to give meaningful gifts.
I invite you to take a look.
Stars to Start
What a beautiful crazy year. 2019 saw new projects all year long. For me, the year began with moon, sun and stars – and unexpectedly, is ending that way too.
In January, I opened my long-anticipated my solo show, “Universe in Pieces” at the Fuller Lodge Art Center in Los Alamos, New Mexico. I exhibited over a dozen of my biggest and finest Original Collages, all featuring aspects of the Cosmos – from Moons, to Planets in our solar system, and far-off nebulae and star-birth clouds.
Around the State, Across the Pond
Soon after that, my “Hear the Echoes” collage was made into a poster by the Department of Cultural Affairs of the State of New Mexico, who distributed it all over the state, as well as every office in the State Capitol while the legislature was in session. I was proud to know that my work celebrated Poets of New Mexico.
This year, marked a first for me: I exhibited my work in an international collage exhibition, in England, “Fresh Cuts.”
In the late Spring, I debuted an Etsy shop to create a truly accessible venue to people who want to buy my art, from small giftable products to the large Original Collages. I also prepared for a few summer shows “Happy Little Clouds”, “Making Waves” and “Shakespeare on the Wall”.
Stars in the New Year!
And now, how does 2020 begin?
With sun, moon, stars – and galaxies, nebulae, and star birth clouds!
I am launching a New Etsy Shop!! This one is called StarArtbyDeco, here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StarArtbyDeco
As the name implies, the focus of this site will be the Cosmos – everything outer space, all the time. I will also post art featuring my fabulous beasts, like my “Dragon”. Greeting cards, blank book journals, mousepads are here as well as art prints and full framed Original Collages.
Of course, I will keep my other shop: DECOfineartcollage – this is where you can find Scenes of New Mexico, fine ladies dancing, juicy pears and pumpkins, as well as prints of Guadalupe.
Here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DECOfineartcollage
Both shops will be frequently updated with new items.
Please click on the items and the hearts to tell me you like them, and it would be great if you could make my shops your “Favorite.”
I am looking forward to 2020. I anticipate new shows, new opportunities, new creations – I can’t even imagine what will be coming! See you soon.
Two Big Shows
Boxes packed! Portfolios stuffed! Display racks stand ready for loading. The two events I have been preparing for months are imminent. I am excited! I have new work to exhibit and I will get to meet new people from all over the country.
Recycle Santa Fe Arts Festival
The first event is this weekend: the big Recycle Santa Fe Arts Festival at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 Marcy St, in Santa Fe. I will occupy the same spot I had last year: lucky Booth #75. There, I will display the new work, and offer for sale Originals, posters, giclée prints, journals and cards. Come by and say hi!
I am also honored that two of my Originals will be exhibited in the Recycled Juried Art show, in an adjacent galley. The two pieces in the show are “Still Life” one of my most awarded Original and “Hear the Echoes” the collage that was commissioned by the State of New Mexico. These are rarely shown, so I hope you find a moment to view them. I will have posters and giclée prints of Hear the Echoes" for sale at my booth (#75.)
Meow Wolf Pop Up Boutique
On the next Saturday, November 23, with barely a minute to breathe, I am bringing the whole shebang to a new venue: Meow Wolf, the storied and inventive arts collective in Santa Fe, at 1352 Rufina Circle. This pop up is one day only! The Holiday Artisans Market will be in an exhibit room with a separate entrance from Meow Wolf, so you won’t need to stand in a long line, and you won’t need to pay the hefty admission fee to the Meow Wolf experience. If you can’t make it to the Recycle Show, this will be a fun way to see more locally made treasures.
And after the Shows...
After these two exciting opportunities, I will take time to breathe and count my blessings, gathering with family and friends. I will be looking forward to the new year and make plans for The Next Big Thing.
The aspens in the mountains near Santa Fe never fail to inspire me. Every season has its charms – the white leafless trunks in the deep snow of winter, the tiny tendrils of baby leaves in spring, the lush green of midsummer, but it is in Autumn that they are most magical. A friend likened the experience of strolling under the golden boughs to walking in Lothlorien.
Aspens to Support Animals
Through the end of this month I am using the inspiration of Aspens to support a worthy institution. I am donating 10% of sales of Aspen themed pieces for sale in my Etsy shop. Included are Originals, posters, journals and greeting cards. Take a look at what is available at my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DECOfineartcollage
Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival
I have been preparing new work for the two big shows coming up in November. The first is the Recycle Santa Fe Arts Festival https://www.recyclesantafe.org/ which is on a weekend in the middle of November. I will be there in my booth on Saturday and Sunday, November 16 & 17, 2019, showing new work and offering many collage items for sale. This is one of the most popular shows in Santa Fe, with people flying in from all over the country to see how artisans have creatively reused and recycled.
You will be amused and amazed. https://santafe.org/Community_Convention_Center/
The following weekend, on November 23, I will participate in a pop-up show at the famous MeowWolf - this will be the Saturday before Thanksgiving and we expect an enthusiastic attendance. I will have a booth and show Original Collages and offer many gift items for sale.
Got to get back to the easel – one month to go and much to do!
Sometimes a fresh set of eyes looking over your work can result in something brand new. That’s the way is was for me last week when I was preparing flyers about my sales promotion for the animal shelter. I had my daughter, a brilliant graphic designer, review the flyer, and suddenly I have a new slogan. I just love it! It’s so obvious, and quirky and true!
The New Slogan
I think it looks spiffy!
Promotion to the Support the Animal Shelter
So, about that sales promotion, here’s the deal – and it’s not too late to get on board. I have several items in my Etsy shop that feature Pear images…I create a lot of Pears! (Just look at the “Mostly Pears” page of my website).
This is harvest season for pears so I thought that I would entice you to reap some luscious pear collages. I will donate 10% of the sales of Pear items in my Etsy shop DECOfineartcollage to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. Prints, Giclées, Posters and Greeting Card sets are all included in this promotion. Here’s the link to my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DECOfineartcollage The Pear promotion ends on September 30, but I will do another featured item next month … hmmm … the aspens are coming into full color in October …
Good news from Española, a town northwest of Santa Fe. Right on the heels of the great honor of local artist Roger Montoya – he was named a “Community Hero” by CNN for his work in establishing a nonprofit youth arts center in Española (https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/15/us/cnnheroes-roger-montoya-moving-arts-espaola/index.html) – more art is coming to the town. Española City Clerk, Melissa Velasquez, is progressing with her plan to have new art adorn the walls of City Hall. Working with the Northern New Mexico Regional Arts Center director Gabriela Silva, she is recruiting regional artists to loan art for a half year. At a recent meeting with the City Clerk and the Clerk’s Deputy, I agreed to be among the first to show there. We expect to install the art in late October, with the public debut at a council meeting, in November or December.
Although this month has been full of delightful creative activities, it has also provided moments of tranquility and contemplation. I found solitude as well as joyous meetings with family and friends. A short respite in Maine, in Arcadia National Park allowed both of these. It was my first visit to that state – hiking, picking wild blueberries, seeing humpback whales, and laying on the rocks to listen to the crash of waves. I promise myself that I will return.
Clouds and Waves
Back in Santa Fe, two gallery events were celebrated within a few days of each other. The first, on July 31, was at the Santa Fe Community Gallery, where the exhibition “Happy Little Clouds” was on the display. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale performed a portion of their upcoming concert there – I got a shout out from the conductor for my work, “Summer Storm”. A few days later, in Los Alamos, The Fuller Lodge Art Center opened its exhibition “Making Waves”. A jazz band entertained us as we viewed the group show. My Original Collage “Too Far Out” was received with enthusiasm.
On another note entirely, the Fest for Beatles Fans roared into town – Chicago, that is – and I was there for the entirety. As part of the staff, I help with set up and I am in in charge of the Beatles Art Contest, an all ages event. My co-writers and I wrote, produced, and directed a short play looking at the legacy of Brian Epstein on the world of the Beatles in 1969. We call our team the Troika, and we plan and write all year for this event and the one in New Jersey.
I took time in Chicago, my old hometown, to visit with family and friends: whole red snapper at Maria’s, Polish buffet (the Red Apple!), water taxi on the river, playing at the Bean, and lunch at the Baby Goat. I am so happy I got to see so many dear faces and have beautiful moments with them.
The Bard Plays in Santa Fe
As soon as I returned to Santa Fe, with the smell of roasted green chile in the air, it was time to prepare for the next event – Shakespeare on the Wall! This eclectic art exhibition is part of the Santa Fe Summer Shakespeare Festival. My work, “Titania Enthralled,” a framed full-size giclee, is on display at A Gallery Somewhere, 3209-A Calle Marie, in Santa Fe, until September 15. The gallery is one block from the new Swan Theater, (showing Measure for Measure and Henry IV, Part I). These are in the lively Theater District, which includes Meow Wolf, and will be part of the Theater Walk on September 14.
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.