The ORALE! Gallery spreads the love of lo­cal art this Valen­tine’s week­end

Tempo - - CONTENTS - By Yvonne Pes­quera

Taos has a lot of artists hus­tling to raise a fam­ily and to earn a liv­ing while cre­at­ing amaz­ing art. In fact, many pieces of art­work speak to this re­al­ity: of what it’s like to be a lo­cal artist. At The ORALE! Gallery, art lovers can im­merse them­selves in this ex­pe­ri­ence.

Tre DeCosta, along with his wife Lizzy, is the en­trepreneu­rowner of The ORALE! Gallery at 114 Kit Car­son Road. On Satur­day (Feb. 17) at 6 p.m., the gallery will host a Saint Valen­tine’s artist re­cep­tion. The event is free and all are wel­come.

“Our mis­sion for ORALE! is to pro­mote North­ern New Mex­ico al­ter­na­tive artists,” DeCosta said. “These are the artists that don’t get a shot at the hir­ing gal­leries in the ma­jor re­tail dis­tricts in Santa Fe and Taos. We give voice to the voice­less, the artists that have no voice.”

At the Saint Valen­tine’s Artist Re­cep­tion, ORALE! plans to give free flow­ers to all the women who show up that night. There will also be free choco­lates, can­dies and cham­pagne.

“Our events are free-flow­ing and fun. There’s no other way to de­scribe them,” DeCosta said. “We usu­ally have in ex­cess of 200 peo­ple show up at all of our open­ings. Com­ing through our gallery on Kit Car­son Road, it takes on a life of its own.”

For Satur­day’s event, lo­cal artist El Moises will be sign­ing the children’s book: “Owl in a Straw Hat: El Te­colote del som­brero de paja.” El Moises il­lus­trated this book for the highly revered New Mex­i­can author Ru­dolfo Anaya. In a press an­nounce­ment for the book, the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico Press stated, “Anaya is the author of the clas­sic ‘Bless Me Ul­tima.’ In 2016, Anaya re­ceived the Na­tional Medal of Arts pre­sented by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.”

Anaya’s Span­ish text was trans­lated into English by the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico scholar, En­rique R. La­madrid.

Tempo caught up with La­madrid to get his take on the book. “Owls are wise,” he said, “but they’re not very smart some­times. Ravens and crows are re­ally smart, but they are not very wise.”

Ol­lie the owl lives in an or­chard in North­ern New Mex­ico. Other col­or­ful char­ac­ters in the book in­clude a fox, a coy­ote, a lobo and Randy the Road­run­ner who learned how to read, earned a busi­ness de­gree and now owns the best lowrider shop in Es­pañola. Through his unique, col­or­ful style, El Moises brings all of these char­ac­ters to life.

DeCosta said, “That book was a real de­par­ture for what El Moises usu­ally does, which is oil on can­vas, oil on wood, and cutouts. The il­lus­tra­tions are in­cred­i­ble, and they are hav­ing great suc­cess with the book. We will have the books for sale, and El Moises will be here do­ing book sign­ings.”

The ORALE! Gallery will soon cel­e­brate its sec­ond an­niver­sary in July. His­tor­i­cally, the DeCostas have en­joyed rep­re­sent­ing artists and throw­ing big re­cep­tions. “For my wife and I, we are chefs. We’re wait­ing to open a new restau­rant. The hospi­tal­ity comes re­ally nat­u­ral to us,” ex­plained DeCosta.

Paños are also on dis­play at The ORALE! Gallery. Paños are highly dec­o­ra­tive hand­ker­chiefs cre­ated by prisoners. Of­ten at pris­ons, a cot­ton hand­ker­chief is one of the few items al­lowed. Prisoners cre­ate their art us­ing ball­point pen. This form of art was the sub­ject of a Paris Re­view ar­ti­cle in 2015.

“I’m the only gallery that I know of in the en­tire South­west­ern U.S. that is ac­tu­ally show­ing and sell­ing hand­crafted paños that were made from in­side the pen­i­ten­tiary at Hobbs,” DeCosta said. “I rep­re­sent a cou­ple of artists from Hobbs. I put back 75 per­cent of the sale on their com­mis­sary in pri­son. These paños are amaz­ing.”

DeCosta said Taos Tat­too is his other store. “I’m very fa­mil­iar with great tat­too art. I know the level of the art on these hand­ker­chiefs. We have a whole dis­play of them. They are for sale at $300 apiece. They’re just amaz­ing in­mate art. In Texas, it’s il­le­gal to do this. Only in a few states is it le­gal for a gallery to sell and give the money back to the artists in pri­son.”

About the im­por­tance of these pieces, DeCosta said, “The lo­cals un­der­stand what a paño is. You don’t have to have five art de­grees to cre­ate some fine work.”

Other fea­tured artists at the gallery are Tera Muskrat, two-time Grammy Award-win­ning Robert Mira­bal, Scrip­ture, and Heather Ross to name a few. “Tera Muskrat has a new paint­ing she’s go­ing to be rolling out. Scrip­ture was born and raised in Taos; we have quite a few pieces from him. For Robert Mira­bal, we carry his whole line of jew­elry. We have his books, his CDs, and his spirit amulet jew­elry,” DeCosta said.

About Heather Ross, DeCosta noted that her work is out­stand­ing as a fine arts pho­tog­ra­pher. And she is hard­work­ing, work­ing nu­mer­ous jobs while cre­at­ing art. “She is a lo­cal Taos artist who suf­fers and slaves at that on a daily ba­sis here. She’s the real deal.”

Gary Blackchild is a New Mex­i­can singer-song­writer. He will be pro­vid­ing the en­ter­tain­ment.

“The whole night is free; we want fam­i­lies com­ing. It’s fam­ily ap­pro­pri­ate. We want all the lo­cals to come out and cel­e­brate this style of art in Taos,” DeCosta said.




RU­DOLFO ANAYA’S NEW BOOK is il­lus­trated by El Moisés, who will be on hand to sign copies at the Saint Valen­tine’s event.

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