Tasha N. is an emerging local mixed media artist who has broken into Gallup’s art scene in the last year. Starting with her first every gallery show at ART123 Gallery in August 2017, Tasha has immersed herself in Gallup’s creative ecosystem and has added a tremendous energy to the community. She’s lent her talents to enhance the look and feel of ArtsCrawl; she’s the graphic designer behind the “masani”-scarf inspired branding of gallupARTS’ summer 2018 Artist-in-Residence program; she introduced Artist Trading Cards to Gallup through workshops at ART123 Gallery and ArtsCrawl; she created an Inspiration Station-themed “parklet” for the Coal Avenue Commons project, complete with a retrofitted gumball machine. This month, she’s preparing for her first solo “pop-up” show at ART123 Gallery in conjunction with the extension of Hannah Manuelito’s Asdzáán exhibit. Tasha N.’s pop-up show opens Saturday, September 8th from 7 – 9pm (during ArtsCrawl). We hope you’ll come meet this dynamic young artist and see her totally unique style of work. In the mean time, you can learn a little bit more about Tasha with this Q & A.
Q: What got you started with art? How long have you been making and creating?
Tasha N.: I always found these types of questions difficult because there wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t making or creating something. Many of my family members, including both my parents, are artists and so, making and creating art was ever-present. But if I was to pick a moment in which I really felt that I started honing my art skills, it would actually only be a few years ago. I started making and trading artist trading cards (miniature pieces of art no larger than 2.5″ by 3.5″) on my favorite social media site, Instagram. Soon after that, I branched out from creating fan-art with artist trading cards into art journaling, water-coloring, bookmaking, photography, and other types of mixed media art including creating original illustrations, which was a big step for me as an artist.
Q: How would you describe your art?
T.N.: A lot of my artworks varies from each another depending on the media I’m using or the purpose for which I’ve created them. I’ve heard people refer to my art as colorful, full of texture and interesting. As for myself, I really don’t know how to describe it other than it’s different and that it’s often times very colorful. When I work on my abstract landscapes I tend to focus on lines, bold colors, shapes and the feelings they invoke in me rather than the realism of the subject; but, when I work with watercolors, I’m much more interested in realism as it can be challenging to achieve with that medium.
Q: What inspires you as an artist?
T.N.: Inspiration. I think the world itself is very inspiring. Sometimes the elements that create our environment into what it is are often so blended together that you have to look closely and intentionally to see the beauty in them. When I’m out and about in the world I try to keep that mindset and when I do, I find even the smallest of things very inspiring. Landscapes, memories, found objects/papers, colors, feelings a moment invokes, poetry, found textures or patterns–they all find their way into my works.
Q: Tell us about one of your favorite projects.
T.N.: I think my favorite project has to be the mixed-media paintings I did last year for ART123 Gallery’s August Group Show. It was the first time that I created artwork that would be viewed by people in my own community rather than by the social media ocean that I was used to. And although, I come from a family of artists, very few of us have had a chance to showcase our artwork, so it was exciting not just for me but for my family as well. One of the paintings I created was a portrait of my grandmother which has thus far been one of the most popular works I’ve done and has become something of a family heirloom. Creating that portrait in particular is something that I’m very proud of. My grandmother has been a crucial part of my life and the title of the portrait is “Home” because that’s exactly what she is to me. I’ve been through tough times in my lifetime but if there was ever one place I know I would be welcomed and loved it would be wherever my grandmother is.
Q: As far as art goes, what would you like to try next?
T.N.: This year has been quite an eye-opener for me. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many different types of artists, to work on various creative projects and to visit new places, and in doing so, I’ve come to find a new appreciation for the idea of ‘creating art with intention’. That’s not to say my art lacks intention because the pieces I create are thoughtful and meaningful to me, but I think what I would like to try is creating artwork that has a social commentary and challenges the audience to think differently. I’ve actually been sitting on an idea of a new series of paintings that I would like to create and I’m hoping to begin that project sometime in future.
Follow Tasha N. on Instagram @pacotacorox.
gallupARTS is proud to present “Challenge Gallup: A Native Artist Group Show for Social Justice” at ART123 Gallery. Opening on Saturday, July 14 from 7 – 9pm (during ArtsCrawl) and running through Saturday, August 4, Challenge Gallup spotlights 11 Native artists whose work tackles timely and relevant social justice issues, from homelessness to diabetes to environmentalism to stereotypes.
For example, Diné painter Adam Maria, calls attention to (in his words) the “epidemic of Type 2 diabetes in the Navajo community,” by juxtaposing food contributors to diabetes with natural lifestyles. In his painting “Type 2,” he contrasts a crushed soda can with a blue bird. “My aim is to depict chaos and balance in the same frame,” Maria says. In doing so, he hopes to pinpoint the underlying causes of diabetes—cheap and commodity foods, and a loss of cultural bearings.
Diné painter Clint Holtsoi’s “The Unexploited Identity” faces Native American stereotypes head on. Holtsoi paints a captivating portrait of his father wearing a headband of disfigured Wild West-themed plastic toys. “It is dangerous when Indigenous people, Indigenous culture and the Indigenous experience are used for production, inclusion, mascots, costumes, etc. because we are no longer seen as human beings,” says Holtsoi. “In the year 2018 it is no longer a discussion of cultural appropriation, but racial social justice.”
Diné painter Jerry Brown addresses the “unwritten, unspoken expectations for ‘Native art’ from Native artists.” Brown says, “the stereotyped expectation that the only art I can or should create is art that portrays images of my culture is no longer acceptable.” Brown’s colorful and abstract paintings, such as “Soul,” break the mold.
Challenge Gallup’s featured artists also include mixed media artists, photographers, and social practice artists. The complete lineup is:
- Adam Maria
- Betty Holyan
- Clint Holtsoi
- Grace Rosario Perkins
- Hawk Platero
- Herman Louie
- Jerry Brown
- Keith Edaakie
- Michael Billie
- Rylin Becenti
- Ty Hudson
Shannon Gurley O’Donnell opens her second solo show at ART123 Gallery on June 8. For her first solo show last year, Shannon presented “Cosmos,” a series of large-scale, space-themed, totally mesmerizing paintings. This year, she is going small with “Little Treasures: A Collection of Small Paintings.” Curious about what downsizing is like for an artist, we sat down with Shannon to ask a few questions:
1. What is the inspiration behind your upcoming show, “Little Treasures”?
I love nature, so this show is a collection of small (2”x2” to 8”x10”) watercolors that showcase what’s around us in nature. Many of the paintings in this show highlight details of birds, plants, and more in a way that we often don’t truly see – the details that get lost in our hurried glances as we bustle through hurried days.
2. Do you find it more challenging to paint large scale or small scale?
When I do realistic watercolors (versus abstracts), I enjoy working on smaller pieces because I enjoy showing more detail when it’s on a small scale rather than a large scale. I think that overall I don’t always have the inherent patience to create such detail on a large scale. With that said, I also love working on very large paintings but tend to paint more loosely when doing so.
3. In what ways has this show helped you grow as an artist?
This show has given me opportunities to truly look at and notice the amazing details because I had to really see them in order to paint them. For example, the cactus spines on the saguaro – I never looked at the base of the spines . . . never truly noticed how they come out of a whitish, raised base, and they all come out like spikes protruding from a ball or something. Also, the spikes are different lengths, and often, some are broken or missing.
If you have never heard about the Fibonacci sequence in nature, I highly recommend you look into it – it’s FASCINATING! As I was sketching the saguaro spines, I realized that they follow the Fibonacci sequence. I didn’t have to paint the spines perfectly, but I did have to honor the sequence in order for the painting to “read” correctly (the Fibonacci spiral can be seen on pinecones, pineapples, artichokes, dandelions, sunflowers, and more).
4. What do you hope people take away from this show (besides purchasing a piece!)?
Always, always, always, my hope when people see my paintings is that they have a sense of love and wonder. A sense of joy and delight. I know how I feel when I see different works of art, whether natural or man-made: My soul is touched in a way that brings me back to my rightful place in this great big, amazing, wondrous universe! I feel the same when I hear music – I am transported to a magical space.
I paint from photos and truly appreciate the generosity of local (and other) photographers who so generously allow me to paint the beauty they capture. I always say, “Your eyes, my hands.” It’s collaborative teamwork…together we touch others by bringing the beauty that already exists to the attention of those who may not see or notice it otherwise. I believe that seeing and experiencing beauty is a deep, deep soul need. That longing is placed there by our Creator to surprise and delight us, nourish and nurture us, give us hope and peace to sustain and energize us. I accept my gift humbly and gratefully share it with others. Everyone has gifts. Mine is painting and sharing my art with others. I love this and get soooo much joy out of doing so.
5. Do you have a favorite artwork in this show?
Well, I always love hummingbirds (and have three new ones in this show), but the close-up painting of the cactus spines (“Up Close and Personal”) is one of my favorites. I love the depth and variation of the color I achieved with watercolors (getting this depth is easier for me to achieve when painting in oils). I also love the simple composition of a small section of the cactus at an angle.
Meet Shannon and be the first to see “Little Treasures” at an Artist Reception on Friday, June 8 from 6 – 9pm at ART123 Gallery (123 W. Coal Ave. in downtown Gallup).
Local artist Tine Hayes is making his return to Gallup’s gallery scene this month with a solo show at ART123 Gallery from May 12 – June 5. To celebrate his most recent work, we sat down with Tine and asked him a few questions. His answers are inspired and inspiring!
Q: How long have you been practicing art? How did you get your start?
I grew up in a home surrounded by art and artists. My father is a professional artist, and our family ran a gallery for 20 years. Gallery season was a part of my life, from folding flyers and mailings to hanging paintings and adjusting lights. I was encouraged to make art from a young age, and in my home art was valued as an important part of existence. I started making art before I can remember. I studied Art throughout my schooling, and I have always felt a need to learn to paint, draw, and be creative. I guess I can’t really remember a time when I did not practice Art. Despite or perhaps because of my childhood, I still feel like I am just beginning to understand the process.
Q: What have you been exploring in your art recently?
I always love and hate my work. There is an unconscious and unintended way that my work comes out that I am both satisfied and annoyed with. The limitations of my style and ability are boundaries I try to push with various degrees of success. My work is intended to create an experience. Recently, I am exploring the integration of human impact on the natural world. I think that we are a part of our world and we change our experience of it through our existence. I am also fascinated by the truth and abstractness of the landscape around us, and I try to make my painting explore both the expression and experience of seeing. Allegory, my new show, is intended to be about each piece individually. When we see the landscape, we have a primal reaction to the image, but this show is about the secondary experience of the viewer. Where the viewer goes with the experience of the image is in itself a metaphor for our impact on the world around us. That all sounds very obtuse. Basically, I just want to make paintings that people like to look at.
Q: What keeps you motivated as an artist? What inspires you?
I love painting. I love looking at paintings, making paintings, and teaching painting. I am compelled to paint because it is hard, and when it is done well it can be deeply impactful. I am inspired by simplicity, by truth, by beauty, and by the conveyance of experience. Even when I feel I am getting worse I still want to get better.
Q: What is your studio like?
My studio is my living room. My kids know to watch their step around the pallets scattered around the floor. I try to keep it tidy, but it is mostly a mess. I work from photos that I have taken, so I have many images I would like to paint hanging around and piled up. I make a mess on the floor with paint drips. It is not glamorous. My wife is very understanding, thankfully.
Q: Do you have any advice for emerging artists?
I think the key to expression is skill, and skill comes from practice. Making time in life to practice art is hard to do. If you’re compelled, fight for it. Believe in its importance, and strive to be authentic.