T H E C I R C U S I S I N T O W N
Unveiling the Unseen World
Well, JIM VOGEL'S - CIRCO CURIOSO! - that is.
And if you get on down to BLUE RAIN GALLERY, you can take in this outrageously imaginative circus yourself - admission is free.
Roustabouts Wrangling the Wind - hand-carved frame by artist
Juan de Dios Wagers with Dr. El Ocio
Playing with Fire
Each painting is accompanied by a whimsical and charming essay created by Vogel's son Sage, who clearly has inherited his Father's talent and imagination.
Jim Vogel is one of my favorite artists and it is always with great anticipation that I await his next show; and each seems to outdo the last. He is a grand storyteller - sharing/painting the tales and lore he learned from his grandfather, his mother and the elders of the village where he grew up.
Born into a family of 12 children in the rural Southwestern community of Roswell, New Mexico, he took to drawing intuitively at an early age. He would hang out at the Roswell Museum of Art Center and became enamored by the work that he saw, especially that of Peter Hurd (a native of Roswell) and Luis Jimenez.
This certificate for outstanding work in the Department of Art he received from Roswell High is a treasured reminder of that early talent and passion.
His first painting - his grandfather the cactus hunter.
Photo of his grandfather...
T H E S T U D I O
The drive north from Santa Fe to Vogel's studio in Dixon, New Mexico takes about an hour. The day of my visit was overcast and rainy, but the huge storm clouds that billowed and hung in the air just made the drive more dramatic and interesting. The tricky part was actually getting to the studio, perched just above the VIVAC Winery on an unpaved incline that turns to slime when it rains. Four-wheel drive a must.
Every studio that I visit has its own personality and I love to 'shoot' the details that tell so much about the artist. Here goes:
A view from one of the windows framing the massive sandstone mountain - Barrancos Blanco.
Sans hat...with apron
The large, two-room studio, notes Vogel, has had several interesting reincarnations. It was purchased in the 60's by a man named Harvey (not sure if he was a relative of THE Fred Harvey of hotel/restaurant fame). Anyway this Mr. Harvey had hopes of opening a Trading Post, but his efforts were thwarted along the way and he returned to his home in England. Next came the Hippies, says Vogel, who actually knows some of the folks who grew up in the house/studio.
Tools for carving the magnificent signature frames that
embrace his paintings.
One of the magnificent signature frames that Jim carves
that embrace his paintings.
that embrace his paintings.
His talented wife, Christen Vogel, is a tin and wood artist and has an amazing eye for finding salvaged pieces that she re-cycles into frames for many of Jim's paintings.
Her tin-punching tools...
Photo courtesy of Blue Rain Gallery
Tucked below Christen's large work table
are bins brimming with found treasures waiting to become beautiful.
T H E P R O C E S S
First comes the inspiration and then the sketch...
Lots and lots of sketches...
The day I visited Jim was working on a sketch for a new painting.
He stands and uses a studio wall as his 'sketching easel'.
His muse below for the painting.
When the sketches are finished they get transferred to canvas and the Vogel magic begins.
If your familiar with Jim Vogel's work than you know that his paintings portray dominant figures - exaggerated, larger-than-life, Fillini'esque.
The hands and feet are huge. The feet perhaps symbolizing an anchor ; the hands a tribute to the sanctity of work.
Jim Vogel's hands...
Represented by BLUE RAIN GALLERY
130 Lincoln Ave. - Santa Fe, NM
And he does wine labels - Available at VIVAC WINERY