Growing with New Mexico: The Artisan Mind

Symbols are woven into the fabric of society, and embedded with meanings. In New Mexico, our rich artistic heritage give those symbols a unique significance. 

For many creators, life revolves around painting, weaving, and carving stories into art. New Mexico captures an unbroken chain of artistic imagination that has withstood the test of time. 

Renowned Acoma potter Eric Louis makes every piece with an admiration for his lineage.

“My great-grandmother Marie Z. Chino is one of the most renowned potters from Acoma, so I can go back four generations,” said Louis.  

This multigenerational legacy shows how passionate artists are to carry on the legacy passed down to them through families and communities. 

Former KOB anchor and native New Mexican, Carla Aragon, is still inspired by our state’s mysticism.

“New Mexico is just such a jewel. We have that here, and so many times we take it for granted. We’ve had that here for centuries,” said Aragon.  

The art created by generations in New Mexico has played a pivotal role in preserving their heritage and history.

New Mexico history author and scholar Mary Montaño studies that history, dating back thousands of years. 

“Humans haven’t always been literate, and really the only way to understand your world or know what’s going on is to see pictures of it,” said Montaño.

Symbols and patterns, initially etched into the canvas of Mother Earth by Pueblo people thousands of years ago, eventually evolved into a form of language. 

In Albuquerque, the Petroglyphs National Monument stands as a living form of the drawings made thousands of years ago. For the first time, symbols came to define the lifeblood of a population and found their voice. 

Zapotec weavers like Alex Mendoza carry on the visual traditions of their people, ensuring that these symbols continue to thrive.

“Each of these motifs does have a meaning.” He represents the connection between art and culture, highlighting the significance of each symbol,” said Mendoza. 

New Mexico has been home to legendary artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Will Schuster, R.C. Gorman, Judy Chicago, and Maria Martinez, whose works have made it into the history books. 

Present-day Pueblo potters like Eric Louis draw inspiration from a silent muse; Nature. 

“The majority of our designs are coming from nature, and that’s all of us, across all cultures,” said Louis.

 Alex Dukepoo, a Laguna potter, acknowledges the legacy he is creating is important. 

“[Art is a] representation that will outlive that person.” Eric Louis agrees, saying, “I feel that responsibility to teach my children. To me, it’s important to pass that on because it can captivate a new audience.” 

Artistic momentum in New Mexico keeps clay in the kiln, chalk to paper, and paint on canvas. Thousands of years of art produced in this state prove that the possibilities for the evolution of creativity are endless.