Taos inspires individuals to shoot for their dreams. Whether it’s the light, the space, the community or the fortitude of the mountain, people who are born here or come here tend to “give it everything they’ve got.” Taos Gallery Guide recently interviewed two artists who exemplify this spirit. One artist was raised by her parents here in a hippie commune in the 1960s. The other artist found his way to Taos just a few years ago without knowing anyone. Here are their profiles, which detail what it means to be a working Taos artist reaching for the stars.
FORGE (Jason Rodriguez) ARTIST / OWNER, CREATOR AND VISIONARY OF ARTAOS I was living in Santa Fe when I decided my goal was to become a full-time artist. I grew up in New York City and believe it or not, New York City has always felt like a small town. I sought that feeling again and Taos felt just right. I moved to Taos in 2015, didn’t know anyone living here, rented a studio and started making art and networking in the Taos art community. I am an active member of the Taos Art Council Advisory Board now and have participated in numerous group shows here in town. I create art that reflects my feelings about our world – sometimes political, social, parodical, satirical. I recently created an 8-foot, fully functioning parody of the Operation board game for a New York City show. I am also using augmented reality [or AR] to create real-world artwork that uses technology to animate and transform images in real time on mobile devices. The AR mural at Ziggy’s froyo [a locally owned frozen yogurt café opening this spring or summer] is an example of things to come for Taos. Serigraphy [silk screen], one of the oldest printmaking methods, is my medium. I enjoy the long process of planning a print. Sometimes planning takes weeks, while the actual print takes hours. But I can work in almost all mediums. I have had two shows in New York City in the last year and one in planning for Beijing in 2017-18. Additionally, I saw a need and created ARTAOS, which was created as a means to help artists extend their reach by using alternative approaches in exposure in all arenas. ARTAOS has a mobile art gallery/workshop in a 20-foot box truck, hosts printmaking workshops and is starting a town-wide mural initiative.
You can find FORGE at ARTAOS / 555 Editions, Taos • (505) 316-0237 • ARTAOS.com
GEORGIA GERSH ARTIST / OWNER OF STORE AND GALLERY, MAGPIE I think my store and gallery, magpie, is what prompted interest in this profile. While I do consider myself an artist, my main creative project right now is magpie. The space is my canvas. Filling the shelves and walls are my brushstrokes. I reorganize regularly to create exceptional vignettes to feature the work of the 75 local artists that I represent – some established, but mostly up-and-coming. I consider myself part of the art renaissance in Taos, providing yet another venue for the limitless talent we are so fortunate to be blessed with in Taos. Personally, I play in many different mediums. I have made jewelry for 15 years, I refinish and paint furniture, I do some mixed media on wood and canvas, collage and assemblage, but my most recent creative love affair is with papier-mâché. Several years ago, I started a series titled “New Growth,” making figures coming out of trees. I like the idea of making trees out of paper. I typically create one a year or so. They seem to create themselves as a means of coping with loss, grief and desire. Mostly, they are a hopeful representation of reaching up and rooting down. The figures have always been standing, arms stretched, but the two I am currently working on are one upside down and the other bowing her head, arms crossed. I guess they are a reflection of our times. I grew up here, on the Magic Tortoise Commune about 20 miles north in the mountains. My parents, both artists, migrated here in the late ‘60s with the hippie movement – my dad from upstate New York and my mom from San Francisco. I was away for about 20 years and returned in 2011. Taos is home for me.
You can find Georgia GERSH at magpie • 1405 Paseo del Pueblo, Taos • (781) 248-0166 • magpietaos.com