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Painted Walls Tell Stories in Northern N.M.

Murals in Taos and neighboring art villages, part one.

By Janet Webb, October 14, 2015

Throughout this summer and fall, as I’ve travel around northern New Mexico, I have been capturing painted murals on my iPhone. There are old, rather nostalgic, Route 66-style hand-painted business signs, personal narratives of village traditions, graffiti-esque blasts of raw energy, and some incredibly well-executed artworks (maybe commissioned by the town or building owner?).

This is just the beginning of documenting all the murals in BeyondTaos.com communities. If you have shots of this kind of wall art in Taos, Angel Fire, Red River, Questa, Chama, Farmington, Abiquiu, Ojo, the High Road to Taos, or anywhere between, please send them to editor@beyondtaos.com. Include the story attached to the artwork or the location, if you know it.

I’ll start and end this photo essay in Taos, oldest mural first, with newest at the end.

George Chacon's "El Santero" mural in Taos, by Howie Roemer

George Chacon’s “El Santero” mural in Taos, photo by Howie Roemer

This first photo shows the most prominent mural in Taos, and the picture’s not mine – Howie Roemer (a BeyondTaos programmer and member of Last to Know band) captured the moment when a double rainbow in the late afternoon light hit George Chacon’s El Santero on the west side of Cabot Plaza on Kit Carson Road.

Painted in 1989, the mural depicts a santero (artist) carving santos – sculptures traditional to the Catholic faith in this area. Instead of religious icons, Chacon has depicted the santero carving modern-day saints that symbolize stages in a family’s life. Behind the santero is the eastern landscape that would be visible if the Cabot building weren’t blocking the view. Over the past 26 years, George has periodically patched wear and tear on the mural so it remains in pristine shape. (Learn more about this mural and Kit Carson Road with the WalkTAOS app, a recent project of MARKETAOS, and more about George Chacon at his site.)

I’ll let the visuals do the storytelling for the rest of the photographs, mostly because I don’t yet know, or haven’t yet verified, the true stories behind each mural. Again, email me if you know. And for those interested in seeing the murals in person, I’ve included simple directions and a link to the nearest community’s visitor information website.

Starting on the High Road to Taos . . .

Tile-on-adobe mural in Penasco, near Sugar Nymphs restaurant.

Tile-on-adobe mural in Penasco, near Sugar Nymphs restaurant.

On the wall of Penasco Theatre Company in Penasco.

On the wall of The Penasco Theatre Company in Penasco.

Abandon adobe on NM Hwy 76, between Chamisal and Ojo Sarco

Abandoned adobe on NM Hwy 76, between Chamisal and Ojo Sarco

Screen shot 2015-10-14 at 11.36.44 AM

Mural on NM Hwy 76 at the turn into the Village of Truchas.

Mural on NM Hwy 76 at the turn into the Village of Truchas.

Now, east of Taos heading to Chama and Farmington . . .

Tierra Wools mural in Los Ojos

Tierra Wools in Los Ojos off NM Hwy 64, 10 miles south of Chama and 80 miles west of Taos.

Chama NM

New Mexico Visitor Center in Chama, headquarters of Cumbres and Toltec Railroad.

Dulce NM mural

Mural on a school in Dulce, about 40 miles east of Farmington on NM Hwy 64.

Mural on a closed business on NM Hwy 64 at the turnoff to Navajo Lake State Park.

A closed business on NM Hwy 64 at the turnoff to Navajo Lake State Park, about 40 miles east of Farmington.

Mural at Aztec Ruins National Monument

Mural at Aztec Ruins National Monument, 11 miles north of Farmington.

 

Now, back to Taos . . .

Murals by Scripture in Taos

Murals by Scripture on the west side of Taos Plaza buildings, facing Camino de la Placita.

A detail of the wall painting in Taos by Scripture.

A detail of the wall painting in Taos by Scripture.

Taos Academy mural in Taos

A Taos Academy student temporary art project (September 2015) in an alleyway off Taos Plaza. The art teacher is artist and master photographer Heather Sparrow.

Murals in Taos and neighboring art villages, part two, coming soon. Email your own  northern New Mexico wall art photos to editor@beyondtaos.com (if you’re OK with me posting them, with credits).

 

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