Thursday, April 17, 2008
GOOD AS GOLD IN THE SOUTHWEST
This week seems particularly short for me since I had the fortune of being able to travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico for my job. We were involved in a major charity donation to a center for children whose families are homeless for a national morning show. What a wonderful experience it was getting to talk to the people who benefit from the organization’s services there and see all the smiling faces of the sweet, beautiful kids. They were all so truly appreciative about all of the supplies they received.
While the charitable aspect of the trip was definitely a highlight, it was also a thrill to get to see some fantastic Southwest art. Since I sculpt my masks out of wire screen, I was particularly excited and validated by the work of master artist, Raymond Wiger. He lives in Taos and works with wire mesh to create the most amazingly beautiful sculptures of the human body. According to his bio, he received his training at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., where he participated in anatomical studies in the anthropology and art departments. He relies solely on his knowledge acquired in that discipline rather than using models or photographs. Truly magnificient and inspiring! Visit his site at www.raywiger.com.
Miguel Martinez is another well known artist, whose work I learned about while I was in Albuquerque. With an immediately recognizable style, Martinez was always inspired by the works of Rivera and Zuniga, those that gave dignity to common people. See his work and read his bio at http://www.mccormickgallery.com/martineztour.html. Giclee signed prints start at $1900. I hope to afford one of his originals just before I kick the bucket!
In addition to incredible art, Albuquerque offers tourists the opportunity to find some of the finest in native jewelry of the highest quality, at half the price of what can be found in Santa Fe. Lucky for me, the concierge at the Hyatt Regency downtown sent me to Gertrude Zachary’s wholesale jewelry showroom at 15th and Lomas in Old Town. The service was great, the salespeople were knowledgeable, and I got just what I was looking for at a great price. My pinky is soaring into FABULOSITY sporting a beautiful inlaid green and blue turquoise silver ring from the 1960s--in a hard-to-find style and cut by hand and not machine. After literally checking out all the galleries and boutiques in Albuquerque, they had the best prices. Visit their showroom online at www.gertrudezachary.com.
If ever I wanted to “find a husband,” as they say, Albuquerque would be the place for me to go. In the course of shopping and dining, I met some lovely, attractive, smart men who made the effort to engage me in intelligent conversation and are interested in staying in contact. Traveling is nice because it affords the opportunity to make new friends. Since New York is a "city of ambition," as a friend once put it, it's extremely difficult to make good, long-lasting friends with people here. “Extremely friendly” is how I would characterize everyone I met while in Albuquerque. While shopping in Old Town, browsing at folk art and jewelry, it seemed like I had the opportunity to get involved in some lively conversations with the locals about life in Albuquerque, the climate as well as art. One of my favorite interactions was with a female gallery owner who was immediately identifiable as a Texan just by the sound of her voice. Since I grew up in Dallas, we hit it off and chatted for more than an hour. I also showed photos of my masks to some of the artisans and they elicited positive responses. I have decided that Ebay is not the right forum in which to sell my art. They really deserve some wall space in a quaint folk art gallery somewhere and I am beginning the process of identifying possible representatives for my work.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a chance to sample a lot of the local cuisine, but I did have the chance to catch lunch at the Church Street Café in Old Town. The service was great and their salsa is the stuff that “picante” dreams are made of. I may have to go online and have some shipped to me! You, too, can buy their salsa and check out their menu at www.churchstreetcafe.com.
Though it was a nice place to visit, Albuquerque was a little too chill for me. I’m glad to be back in New York. The dust-filled wind really got to me, and my skin feels like it just went through dermabrasion five times in a row. Next week, I’m off for a vacation in the Pacific Northwest. They’re expecting snow there this week. Hmm...I wonder what I’ll be packing for that trip? Decisions, decisions. The good news is that I will get to spend some quality time with my beautiful niece, whose going to be a movie star when she grows up…or a physicist!