Archive for July, 2008

Erin is a self proclaimed garbage-picker. She travels the world’s streets collecting the discarded, picking up litter and recycling it into innovative assemblages. Many times, as seen here in the mirror, it’s her face that stares out from the gum and candybar wrappings she has used as costume design, in the picture to the left, titled “Me, Myself and I”.

Erin has a very small woman’s voice, she uses her artwork as her voice for political and social change. Her studio is her home and the powerful recycled artworks, that portray the world’s discarded and forgotten people, shouted her outrage and reverberated off the stark white walls. I heard her loud and clear.



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I had not known Ron Barsano before I contacted him about this project. He cheerfully and enthusiastically told me to “come out to his place”. He has a wonderful studio built next to his home, down a long dusty road. The room is dominated buy large windows and LATILLAS (la-tee-yas), Small branches of cedar, aspen or juniper placed between vigas to form a ceiling. There is a sleeping deck and a fireplace that are typical to serious artists, in Taos, who work late into the night. His nudes are some of the most beautiful I had ever seen. Ron is orgionally from Chicago, Illinois and studied at The American Academy of Fine Art in Chicago. He etablished himself in an art community in Taos, in 1970. He was a founding member, along with Ray Vinella, the late Rod Goebel, Walt Gonske, Bob Daughters, and Julian Robles, of the Taos 6 Contemporary Artists in the early 1970s.


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When a friend told me that Kevin Cannon and his sculptural leather pieces would make a great picture, I was skeptical. I thought he was the jazz musician that played around in a trio. No e-mail? No cell? How would I find this elusive leather sculptor? Taos mail ofcourse – Tell-a-friend got me in touch with Kevin. By this time, my curosioty had gotten the best of me and I had done some research. I wanted to know “How someone who studied saddletry could sculpt smooth sensuous leather pieces of art?

Just down the lane, not far from the Mabel Dodge Luhan house (formerly owned by Dennis Hopper), perched on an earthy-green piñon-covered hill, near the old Penitente morada sits the rugged pink adobe Kevin calls home and studio. He has an exquisite view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. He is a native of Queens and looks allot like Woody Allen. I thought of the movie “Manhattan”, black&white wide screen, as I took this photograph. It gives me the feeling of a movie set.

I chose to photograph him twice in this image. Once as artist and once as musician. It seemed appropriate to me.

Kevin’s studio was jambed with his elegant sculptures that are painstakingly made of molded leather subtly colored with many layers of thin acrylic glazes, they have patinas that suggest burl, bronze, marble, ceramic, cloth or even flesh. His tools were laid out with loving care and his guitars were propped against the wall just waiting to be asked to preform a riff or two.

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Ed Morgan should have been a mountain man. I think he was born in the wrong century. Even his chosen profession has been practiced from the earliest ages. Ed is a master engraver. He combines engraving and embossing to depicts a variety of subjects including Native Americans, animals, birds and flowers. He and his wife, gallery manager Virginia, own and operate the gallery, about 6 doors west of ours, on Bent Street.

Virgina and Ed live in a former two, now one, combined 2-storied adobe on what was originally the first plaza in Taos. I chose to photograph Ed two times in this image. The first position at his engraving station and the other embossing. As you can see, Ed likes to collect Western art and artifacts. His knowledge of all things old is astounding. If he is not in his studio, you will find him competing in role-play rendezvous, putting his archaic knowledge to work. Like I said ….. Ed Morgan should have been a mountain man.


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Thom Wheeler is a Texas native who became one of Houston’s foremost contemporary sculptors in the 1970’s/80’s, creating large commissions for corporations and architects, commercial and public spaces such as hotel and bank lobbies. He worked in grand scale ranging from 54 feet for bas relief works to 60 feet tall three dimensional pieces. Thom is tall and wears fringed coats, cowboy boots and hats. He lives life BIG too.

Thom built this two-story adobe castle, foundry, and gallery, at 939 Kit Carson Road, where he lives and works today. To visit it, is to experience a completely mind-blowing psychedelic trip to wonderland . To photography it is eye-crossing and to handcolor it – is hair-tearing! Believe me. I had seen this incredible building and beautifully maintained gardens from the street but could never, in my wildest dreams, have thought it contained everything from horse saddles, church windows, singing finches in cages to a collection of old aluminum license plates and beautiful hand-made silver crosses, which he calls “wall jewelry”. He now works in smaller pieces of brass, copper, and aluminum plate set with ivory, wood, cast glass, stag horn, and stone such as turquoise, malachite and jasper. Beside art, Thom’s passion is animal rescue and there is always a managery of animals underfoot. The whole experience of meeting and photographing Thom was pure pleasure.


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In the 60s, Larry Bell was part of an avant-garde southern California group of artists (Ferus artists). His primary materials were coated glass and plastics. He is a living legend. I met Larry, in his plain white annex, on Ranchitos Road, a short walking distance from our gallery. He spends half of the year in Venice, California. I was excited to meet him, I had waited for nearly 4 months to photograph him.

As the lights came on, the work for what he is best known, shimmering glass boxes whose iridescent planes seem to enclose a mysterious light, stole my breath away. Larry Bell took advantage of an advanced technology originally developed by the US Air force. It was surreal standing among the floating cubes that transcend Minimalism’s reductivism. Larry has had a long career so I decided to photograph him more than once, standing in front of series that span 4 decades. If you look closely, you can see his Sumer stick-men work scattered around the space.


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Last week, I spent two full days creating a paperback book. It was tedious, labor intensive and mind numbing, but I really, really enjoyed myself. It’s not like I didn’t have anything else to do. A commission lays unframed and unshipped, 2 gallery packets sit unmailed and I want to experiment with a new paper. But I have wanted to create this book for nearly 4 years and just decided to start the second half of 2008 with a completed project. I just wanted, no I needed, to be able to control and complete something – for a change.

I’ve made books before, for clients or as portfolios but never as a companion for an exhibition. Sure, we had brochures and show catalogues for our gallery openings and trifolds for upcoming events. But I actually never took two full days to sit down- uninterrupted and create a book. I was surprised to find that I was not intimidated by the blank computer screen or the monumental task before me.

I quickly chose a size and page count, layout and profile, with authority. I lingered a bit selecting a yummy background color, a formidable font face and color, and than a perky page decoration…. who knew that I had all this control at my fingertips! I was becoming light-headed and giddy with a Frankenstein need to give this book – LIFE.

Luxuriating over each image… not using an action to create 40 images, but creating each one-at-a-time, like some person out of the dark ages. I inspected every pixel, examined each histogram and unsharpened all wimpy edges. I became drunk with power, seizing each keystroke with wild abandoned passion.

And suddenly a sad turn, I was nearly finished. What would I do? How would I rekindle the ardor? Alas, a title….. I needed a title! I had created the book in one day….

Excerpts from: A Special Publication of
A collection of
Including full color and descriptive content in artist’s words
Textural Information
A Comprehensive published

A Fully Illustrated
Short conotations on
Feactures 40 images

The three word title took me another day. “The Studio Tour” .. who knew?

It would take Lucas over 2 years to take and post-process the images. I would spend 2 years handcoloring them. 6 months would be spent organizing, creating a website, a blog and PR for exhibitions. The 2 days I spent creating this book was the easiest part of the whole process. I am very happy with the results.

BTW-If you are interested, I have these booklets available for purchase $35.00 plus $10 S&H

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