New Mexico, Reyes Padilla, Synesthesia discussed on Soonish



Later, I got in touch with Reyes Padilla, and we had a similar conversation about his roots as an artist, and his unusual method of working. I was born and raised in Santa Fe New Mexico. I am a visual artist. I primarily work in abstract and muralism. I focus on synesthesia, which means I can see sound and I paint basically what I'm saying while I'm listening to music. So a lot of my work is inspired by sound. I've been a full-time artist for almost 7 years. The first public meal really was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a little borough called Braddock. And, you know, I've had work go all over the country to multiple parts of the world, mainly I've done work in New Mexico. Do you listen to music mostly while you're painting because the sound is more organized in a way? I'm just kind of speculating here, but is it easier to paint or rap song than it would be to paint a traffic jam? For example. Oh yeah, yeah. I mean, I like painting the hip hop because there's a repetitive beat to it. And it's easier to lock into a certain visual. But yeah, I mean, I can't paint to a traffic jam or I've done pieces that are based in silence and meditation because there's still a visual element to that. So, you know, I definitely tap into any kind of sound, there can be, but, you know, personally, I'm just painting to whatever my mood is, you know, at that time. Let's zero in on plus it on Luis just so that people have a little better understanding of what this mural looks like. Could you tell us what colors and forms you use? I would describe it as like responding to the architecture using colors that reflect the New Mexico landscape. I mean, it really is very much myself, you know, it's kind of like a self portrait in a way. But it also represents the way I feel about New Mexico, you know, I wanted people to see these colors like that emphasize the New Mexico landscape. And almost blend in with it. So the colors I used were black Turquoise metallic gold and white. The Turquoise and the gold definitely emphasizing the sky and the sun. Which is New Mexico in a nutshell, but also the sand, and then we have very little light pollution here, so we get absolute darkness as well. So that gradient reflects the nature in New Mexico. What kind of feedback have you gotten about the mural? I've gotten amazing feedback. It's been one of the more noticed pieces that I've done. People are very excited that it's an old town. While I was painting it, you know, people who were around for the tourism season were really cheering it on. They were excited about it. They were taking pictures. So yeah, I've heard nothing but positive feedback on my end. I don't know if anyone would tell me directly if they didn't like it, but yeah, it's just, I mean, both murals in general have gotten a huge amount of praise and especially when people know that there's a conflict with them. People have been extremely vocal in their support to keep the murals. So, back to the conflict. In January, Reyes and Jodi found out that the landmarks commission wanted both of their murals removed. And Jodi says it was hard not to take that decision personally. What they're doing is, in order to try to preserve this facade, it feels like reversing time. We're going backwards. And we're not validating the rich art culture, which we've grown from the roots up and really nurtured. And here we are, because of this bureaucratic misunderstanding, now we're sacrificing something really important that is going to really upset the public. It's going to upset me and Reyes, of course, the owners Don Luis, but if anything, that reflects how we treat our artists and how we treat our culture, the people that are really fighting to preserve our culture and really trying to put our state on the map by representing who we are and putting our work out into the world. And then, you know, this is how we're treated in our backyard. This is where we need to talk about the bureaucratic misunderstanding Jody just mentioned. Back in early 2021, when the renovations at the basket shop and Plaza Don Luis were about to begin, the Plaza's owners and architects met with city planning staff and with officials from Albuquerque's department of arts and culture. Riddle says they'd all read the historic preservation guidelines for old town, and there wasn't anything in them that specifically prohibited murals. But they still wanted to make sure their plans were kosher. Yeah, so the mural point directly actually is not clearly outlined. They don't describe murals, and that's the big change. We actually had reached out to arts and culture from the city that said what permit do we need to do a mural and they said there's no permit needed to install a mural on private property. Go ahead. So at that point in time, with way marks not defining the exterior painting or murals and what we understood and what our architect understood, we felt there was a green light in that there was no guidance or anything otherwise stating that this was not allowed. So they went ahead with the renovations and commissioned Jodi and Reyes to paint the murals. It wasn't until after everything was finished that riddle found out that there had been a huge communications breakdown. Plaza Don Luis lies inside a historic preservation district called HP O 5. Which is the same district governing the San Felipe church and the central Plaza. And within the boundaries of that district, building owners have to apply to the landmarks commission for something called a certificate of appropriateness before they can modify any structure. Even if it isn't a historic or so called contributing structure. Riddle says no one in the planning department or the arts and culture department, or the landmarks commission,.

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