Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pecha Kucha Taos Volume 18, 20 x 20 September 27, 2015

Robert Cafazzo  “Paintings in Motion”

“What am I doing Here?” a book,
by Bruce Chatwin
“How Did I get Here?”
a line from Once in a Lifetime, by David Byrne
In 1991, I needed to learn how to walk again.
My Thinking was,
I already knew HOW to walk,
After all I’d been studying movement,
‘Motion’ was a major component of my paintings.
The Edweard Muybridge Motion study photographs had been my study guides.
They are Individual phases of motion mapped out,
They tell a “How To” mechanics of animal locomotion.
Yet, it’s NOT that easy,
There are unknowing subtleties,
It’s Much more complicated than it looks.

I came to Taos to Heal, to Walk, to Wander, to Explore
and to spiral out.
To Learn not just HOW to walk again
but also how to Live again.
Pronounced dead, 30 days in a hospital bed, 3 months in a wheelchair.
Soon Afterwards,
I came to Taos. 

For ME, the paintings are a narrative,
a tail told over and over again.
They are everything I Love:
From Storytelling, to Color, to Texture, to Movement, the animals and the flexibility of Meanings.

Taos is my studio,
it is the nature around me,
the animals of the desert and forest,
the animals at the farm next door.
The horses and the buffalo running straight down the Paseo! 

Through Movement, Color, Texture, Light and the Grid,
I paint Animals in Motion.

My style is that of cave paintings and petroglyphs
with a twist.

The first major gallery in New York City I exhibited with was Jus de Pomme.
The gallery director began to laugh as I unwrapped a painting.
A PINK Cave painting!
She was hooked,
Who in the world would do such a thing!

I can’t help myself,
I like the color Pink! 

For ME,
Cave paintings and petroglyphs across the world have a commonality.
In Africa and Australia the animals may be quite different from the animals of Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Yet, They all tell stories.
Many depict so much more than what humans seem to remember.
I strive to tell those stories.
The interconnectedness of the Human Race.

We used to use the phrase a “GIMICK”
What some people would call a ‘hook’,
a recognizable ‘style’ unique to your own work.
Your Voice.

An artist chooses a vehicle in which to express themselves.
What makes up that vehicle is IMPORTANT.

Artists make decisions on so many levels,
it’s amazing that any of us keep doing what we do.

Choosing a color palette,
Subject matter,
and a Style. 

Color can be quite easy
Blue and Pink are the Most beautiful colors in my palette.
Or, “Color” can be challenging…

Paint the Night sky, an artist knows that color is Not Black! 

A friend of mine said to me a while back,
what color do you like to use the least…  
…find a way to make THAT color beautiful.
For ME that color is yellow,
Fall in Taos is ALL yellow,
and I find it breathtaking! 

Here in Taos we are blessed to have a
Blinding unyielding Light,
creating color,
or washing it out,
the bluest of blues,
the brightest reds.

The creation of an ‘art colony’ in any given place,
Depends on the quality of light,
in that place. 

Movement, we all notice something ‘move’ out of the corner of our eye.
Years ago I saw Baryshnikov
‘Walk’ across a room,
he made it look so effortless,
as though he were walking on water. 

viscosity I want to pick up my paint with my hands,
to slather it onto the paintings’ surface.
Occasionally I see people
touch my paintings,
(who touches paintings?)
I have to chalk it up to that luscious textural surface. 

I also think of Agnes Martin and her GRID,
that meditative walk along the surface.
The involvement of the imperfection
of her hand as it runs up against the turmoil
of an imperfect canvas.

I THINK about making art and every artist that came before me. 

When I taught for 21 years at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston,
Boston’s Museum School.
there’d be that student who had great FEAR
of their ability to draw.
I’d tell them that if they could write,
then they already knew how to draw,
that They had a Unique ‘signature’
an ability to make a drawing that only they could create.

I’m told more and more schools will stop teaching cursive writing.

This could be the end of ART as we know it.

…and yes,
making art,
IS WORK and it’s FUN.

ART matters,
it has been with us throughout human history.

In my gallery I’m frequently asked if I teach any longer?
I always answer,
No, I do not.
Yet here I am tonight still teaching,
And still learning. 

This evening,
I am honored to have been invited
by Matt Thomas and his team here tonight.
Thanks to many of you who have encouraged me to be here tonight.

To stand here,
to learn something from the other speakers,
and hopefully,
to have taught you,
this audience here tonight,
and to have learned a bit about myself as well.
Thank You all.
Sidebar: To any of you who may be about to deliver a speech, it is true that PRACTICE makes perfect. My speech here was about 870 words total for a 6 Minute 40 Second presentation, about 130 words per minute. it was exhilarating, I was quite nervous. I'd do it again if asked, and if you are asked, do it. 20 seconds per slide image on the screen beside me, yet I was so busy saying the words I never quite saw the images. I did however highlight my script close to when each slide would change. Hopefully sometime soon, the video of this presentation will appear on Vimeo, when it does I will add the link here. Thank you to those who attended, thank you those of you who have read this post. To the many of you who were so encouraging Thank You so very very much.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

D.H. Lawrence a Spiritual Pilgrim in Taos (copyright Robert Cafazzo 2015)

D.H. Lawrence a Spiritual Pilgrim in Taos
A group of UNM students visiting the D.H. Lawrence Ranch 

"New Mexico, one of the United States, part of the U.S.A. New Mexico, the picturesque reservation and playground of the eastern states, very romantic, old Spanish, red Indian, desert mesas, Pueblos, cowboys, penitents, all that film stuff. Very nice, the great South-West… …go out in the great free spaces!
In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly, and the old world gave way to the new.
I had looked over all the world for something that would strike me as religious."
From “New Mexico” by D.H. Lawrence
Lorenzo & I photograph by Sharon Oard Warner

Patroness of the arts Mabel Dodge Luhan in 1921 first reached out to Lorenzo while they were in Taormina, Sicily, asking them to come to Taos and write about the New Mexico she had fallen in love with.
Lawrence resists her invitations for almost a year before succumbing, he writes about this interim, “I still of course mistrust Taos very much, chiefly on account of the artists. I feel I never want to see an artist again while I live.”
 With Stan Riveles and Bill Haller at Mabel Dodge Luhan's guest house the Pink House
Inside the Pink House a cabinet door painted by Lorenzo

On his 37th birthday September 11, 1922 they arrived in Taos.
In Taos, New Mexico D.H. Lawrence found what he was seeking on his Spiritual Pilgrimage across the far reaches of the globe.
In March/April 1924 Frieda Lawrence was given the deed to the Ranch by Mabel Dodge Luhan. In return Frieda gave to Mabel the manuscript for “Sons and Lovers”. Thus the Ranch property of approximately 160 acres becomes the first and only home the Lawrences ever own together.
Archival photograph courtesy of UNM of the Lawrence Cabin in Winter, (Note this image is reversed)
The people of Taos Pueblo named Lawrence “The Red Fox”, and Frieda “Angry Winter”. Thus adding another moniker to Bertie, Lorenzo and Lawrence, all accepted names when referring to David Herbert Richard Lawrence, (never David nor DH).
(?), Frieda Lawrence, Trinidad Archueleta, (?) Lorenzo 

"Taos Pueblo affects me rather like one of the old monasteries. When you get there you feel something final. There is an arrival. The nodality still holds good."
“Taos” D.H. Lawrence
Through the alfalfa field a view of Taos

Although Mabel Dodge would have liked to seduce Lorenzo’s spirit in bringing him to Taos, it is in fact New Mexico and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Taos that did so.
The 'Cave' which Lorenzo uses for the endpiece setting in "The Woman Who Rode Away" 
"Every great locality expresses itself perfectly, in its own flowers, its own birds and beasts, lastly its own men, with their perfected works."                                 “Symbolic Meaning” D.H. Lawrence
The Buffalo Mural as it was a few years ago painted by Trinidad Archueleta

Here in Taos he writes of the natural world enveloping him, of hummingbirds, mountain jays, rabbits, deer, the death of a porcupine, and of the great tree and meadow before him.
At the ranch Lorenzo baked bread and roasted chickens in an adobe horno oven, bringing back comforting memories of his mother baking bread as he waited at the kitchen table.
Lawrence using an horno and horno paddle to bake bread (archival photograph Knud Merrild)

They live off and on at the Ranch near Taos for over 18 months during a 3 year time period. On September 11, 1925 they leave for Europe, Lawrence knows he will not be allowed back into the US through customs as he has developed tuberculosis and is in a weakened state. March 2, 1930 in Vence, France he succumbs to the disease at the age of 44.
In 1935 Frieda’s 3rd husband Angelo Ravagli arranges for Lawrences ashes to be brought back to the ranch near Taos where he has built a memorial on the hillside above the cabins.
Visitors from Japan, who I snuck onto the ranch which had been closed to the public during a 6 year period

Names of the ranch itself through the years
Flying Heart Ranch
Lobo Ranch
Kiowa Ranch
D.H. Lawrence Ranch
Bill Haller giving yet another of his popular tours of the ranch
The main features of the ranch open to public viewing are the following:
 Homesteaders Cabin, built in 1891, this was the Lawrences primary residence. The chair on the porch was built by Lawrence. 
The Buffalo Mural as it is today, "restored" to me a botched repainting
Murals of a painted pony and a buffalo were painted by Trinidad Archueleta. The tin Phoenix hanging outside the cabin was created by Brett.
Looking up into the sun through the Lawrence Tree
The Lawrence Tree, in 1929 Georgia O’Keeffe created a painting of a view looking straight up into the boughs of this magnificent tree.
Judith Nasse who is currently writing a book of Dorothy Brett outside the Brett Cabin
Brett’s Cabin, a small 100 sq ft space where the artist Honorable Dorothy Brett lived at the ranch, she helped with typing Lawrences’ manuscripts. Her chair sits in a corner, it too was built by Lawrence.
Inside the memorial, are the ashes of Lorenzo mixed into the concrete here, no one knows for certain
Lawrence Memorial and Frieda’s gravesite, located above the cabins among the large pines.
The public picnic table by the alfalfa field
The Alfalfa field overlooking the Town of Taos.
There is a picnic table near the field, restrooms are available to visitors at the bottom of the path to the Memorial.
Buildings currently off limits are the large house, which was Frieda and Angelo’s home, storage sheds and the horse barns.
The Chair Lorenzo built, now missing Frieda's upholstery work

"…you have started on a chair, an arm chair. …I hear a faint wood chopping and a few faint ejaculations as you shape the arms and legs of the chair with a small hand-ax. Frieda is lying on her bed stitching at a piece of tapestry you have designed for her for the seat of the chair."
“Lawrence and Brett” Dorothy Brett
Through the years guest books have been filled with the names of visitors from all over the world

My maternal family is originally from Taormina, (Sicily) Italy, a place where Lawrence spent a bit of time. Mabel Dodge in 1921 first contacts the Lawrences about coming to Taos while they are living in Sicily. As a prolific letter writer he would have had contact with my Great Great Grandfather who was postmaster, extended family in Taormina are still to this day working for the post office there.
Italians believe a birds nest built in your home is a sign of good fortune, here's one at the Lawrences

Lawrence hoped to create a utopian society in Taos, which he called Rananim, or “Order of the Knights of Rananim”, a country without war and squalor.
Eric Bauersfeld, Jim McKee, Bill Haller, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti

On September 11, 2013 I was invited by Bill Haller to join Lawrence Ferlinghetti on a tour of the ranch. Ferlinghetti was recorded at the Memorial reading his poem “The Man Who Rode Away (to D.H. Lawrence)”. Afterward we had a luncheon for him, his friends and a few notable Taosenos attended.
Seated: Eric Bauersfeld, Kate O'Neill, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Standing: Robert Cafazzo, Helen Macleod (wearing a Japanese mourning coat once owned by Dorothy Brett), Nita Murphy, Bill Haller, John Nichols photograph by Jim McKee
There Ferlinghetti asked each of us to re-evaluate in our own words Lawrence in the 21st Century.
My own thoughts which I shared with the group were ‘How I was affected by the moment, of being present at the ranch. Isn’t that what Lorenzo was after, to take the time to appreciate that moment, to pause, to look, to listen to the refreshing spark and inspiration of that moment.’
And to me that is what the ranch is all about, finding that sense of place, a sense of spirit and inspiration in our natural surroundings.
Izy Hossack seated under the Lawrence Tree

In my mind Taos is an epicenter of a spiritual vortex, others may call it an energy emanating geo-spiral, where healing energies are released from deep below the surface. This vortex also generates an affect on sensitive people with high levels of creativity. Taos has been a creative center for much, much more than these past 100 years. 
Wagon Wheel at the ranch, (Photo I took in 1991, and it's still there)

I am thankful that the D.H. Lawrence Ranch in San Cristobal just north of Taos has reopened to the public. The turnoff to the ranch is at mile marker 10 on NM 522 North, onto San Cristobal Road (5 miles to the ranch).
You will be at an altitude of 8,500 feet above sea level.
Spring 2015 the ranch is open Thursday & Friday 10-2, Saturday 10-4.
Summer days and hours will be posted soon.
The D.H. Lawrence Alliance has created a docent program with training by Lawrence scholar Bill Haller. Docents are happy to answer your questions and to give you an informative tour of the ranch.
There is no fee to visit the ranch, (donations are graciously accepted).
Tin Phoenix created by Dorothy Brett

"But as the bird Phoenix was consumed by fire in the Arabian desert only to rise again from it’s own ashes, so it arose here to a new life, fresh and beautiful, in the desert of New Mexico."
“A Poet and Two Painters” Knud Merrild

For further information about the D.H. Lawrence ranch please visit these websites:

All Photographs except where noted are by Robert Cafazzo

Monday, March 9, 2015

Taos History Tours “Off the Beaten Track and Hidden in Plain Sight"

See for yourself why Taos is much more than a Day Trip!

$90. (per person) Half Day 4-5 hours morning or afternoon
$160. (per person) Full Day 7-8 hours
$20. per hour, 2 hour minimum (per person)
All tours are self driving (transportation is not included), I will guide you to a number of locations unless arrangements are otherwise required.
Bring bottled water, camera or cell phone, camera or cell phone charging device, comfortable shoes and a hat. Do Not Bring a Computer Laptop or Tablet device.
Full Day Tours include time for a lunch break at a local restaurant, meals are not included in the price of the tour.
Please note: Tours include driving to various destinations and walking to specific places. If handicap accessibility is required, written notice of this is needed before any tour can be arranged. We can make some accommodation for special needs, understandably we do not control access to certain venues.
contact info: Robert Cafazzo 575-770-5580cell 575-758-4101gallery

Petroglyphs of Taos County Tour
This tour includes 2 to 4 Petroglyph sites within Taos County, imagery we will be viewing include many of these: Solstice Solar Marker, Calendar Marker, Elk, Deer, Big Horn Sheep, Snakes, Owl, Water Birds, Humanoid Figures, Kiva Emergence. Various Petroglyphs emerge during changing and shifting light patterns, not all images can be seen during any particular time of day. You will be awe inspired and impressed at just how many petroglyphs there are right here in Taos.
“…look deep inside of what we are - deep into the recesses of our existence, of our prehistory… These images are memories of long-forgotten dreams. Is this their heartbeat, or ours? Will we ever be able to understand the vision of the artists across such an abyss of time?” Werner Herzog director of ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ 2010.

100 Year Anniversary of Taos Society of Artists Tour
A tour of 100 years of art in Taos, visits will include Fresco Murals in Taos, Historic Art Collections, Homes of artists including a tour of the Couse-Sharp Studios, locations of where the artists painted, and the hidden location of the “Broken Wagon Wheel".
It is recommended that you take the time to visit local Museums on your own time before or after this particular tour.
“I think the colony in Taos is doing much for American art.” 1927, Oscar Berninghaus founding member of the Taos Society of Artists.

Scenic Taos Photo Op Tour
This tour includes the wide variation of landscape in Northern New Mexico, Adobe Structures, Churches, Flora & Fauna. There is a great deal to see and photograph here in Taos besides the primary attractions, we will take you to the next level of what is here down back roads and side roads. Wildlife viewing is best done at sunrise.
"I became interested in photographing some of the last vestiges of what was the frontier in America. Black clouds over the hills beyond Mabel's house which means rain somewhere--but down toward Ranchos that blue New Mexican sky with puffs of white clouds, over toward your beloved Hondo there is a grayness behind more white clouds--and a breeze blowing across the afternoon." Paul Strand of photographing in Taos, New Mexico 1931/32

Spirituality Tour (Full Day Only)
Visits to places of Worship including Capillas, Penitente Moradas, Churches, Sanctuaries, along with Hot Springs, a Kiva style Pit House. Part of this route will include the Northern section of the “High Road”. Healing Herbal Flora of Northern New Mexico will also be a part of this experience.
“See… they are always seeking something. What are they seeking? …we do not understand them. They say, they think with their heads.” stated Ochwiay Biano (Antonio Mirabal)
“Why of course, what do you think with?” replied Jung
“We think here.” indicating his heart.
“The idea… that a ritual act can magically affect the sun is… no less irrational than like every religion is permeated by the idea that special acts or a special kind of action can influence God (for example) through certain rites or prayers.” From “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” Carl Jung on a 2 week visit to Taos Pueblo in 1925.

DH Lawrence Taos Literary Tour (Full Day Only)
A visit to the Kiowa (Flying Heart) Ranch, the Lawrence “Forbidden” paintings and locations Lawrence was known to visit and write about, this includes Hot Springs and other sites.
“We find Taos very pleasant again, very beautiful… I must say I am very glad to be out here in the Southwest of America, there is the pristine something, unbroken, unbreakable, and not to be got under even by us awful whites with our machines, for which I thank whatever Gods there be.” D.H. Lawrence on his second trip to Taos 1924.

Georgia O’Keeffe in Taos Tour (Half Day Only)
Places O’Keeffe painted and places she stayed at. O’Keeffe visited Taos for the first time in 1929, walk where she walked, see what she saw right here.
Please Note: Currently there are no original O’Keeffe paintings in Taos on view to the public. A visit to the O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe is highly recommended.
“Wonderful. Well! Well! Well! This is wonderful. No one told me it was like this. I am having a wonderful time… I feel like myself, and I like it… It’s just unbelievable, one perfect day after another…” Georgia O’Keeffe on her first visit to Taos in 1929.

Taos Artists Studio Tour
Meet Taos Artists in their own studios, hear about their techniques and inspiration. This tour is designed specifically to your own taste. It is dependant on artist availability at any given time, therefore it requires 48 hours notice to make arrangements.
“The country outside of Taos is simply too beautiful, I have never seen anything so lovely in my life. It is not the kind of thing I thought I would see… these long chains of blue grey mountains, and the miles of sagebrush plains in front of them, with here and there rising out of the sage in the distance, clear blue hills standing alone.. and the most beautiful arroyos… and over all this acres of Blue sky. Well, I give you my word, I have never seen anything lovelier in my life. Taos is all that it’s name implies, ‘richness’, it is beautiful, and there was never a more beautiful single mountain than Taos Mountain.” Marsden Hartley on his first visit to Taos in 1918.

Hodge Podge Mix & Match
An itinerary for travelers who would like a little of everything, or perhaps just a few things. Some suggestions are: Mines/Mineral Deposits, Dennis Hopper, Dinosaur Tracks, Descansos, Torreon, Wheat Mills, Commune, Mushroom Hunting (late summer only), Shopping/Antiquing, along with any selections from any of the other ‘set’ tours.
Please allow 48 hours for planning.
“In about 3 minutes, you’re out of town, looking at the scenery. I love driving around, I never get tired of the great scenery. Blue. Well you know, I think it’s the sky. It’s so Blue, isn’t it? Here in Taos, the sky. Blue is my favorite color.” Agnes Martin on Taos 2001

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I have been actively listening, reading and writing about the History of Taos since 1991. My knowledge of Taos is quite broad and I have been granted access to many of Taos’ best kept secrets, which I share with visitors on tours of this historic culturally rich place.
You will want to take photographs during your tour, although we do not provide photo “workshops”, we do bring you to some of the most photogenic places in Northern New Mexico. My philosophy is to show you something just around the bend, to point out things others would never notice, to show you how to look and perhaps to filter a bit too. The major attractions such as the many Museums, the Rio Grand del Norte Gorge Bridge, & Taos Pueblo are easy and convenient to visit on your own and should not be missed. Our tours are designed specifically to show you how much more than this Taos has to offer, it truly is much more than a day trip from Santa Fe.
Trend Magazine, Magazine & New Mexico Magazine have published my photographs in print and online. In 2013/14 I was hired to create specific itinerary tours to travel writers visiting Taos. A few of the writers have included Reuters, National Geographic, New Mexico Magazine, HIHO Magazine (Japan), Girl Gone Travel, Whiskey Sisters, Curve Magazine and Bay Area Reporter.

Reservations are recommended; a deposit of 1/3 is required. Deposit is non refundable if cancellation is within 24 hours, except due to inclement weather.