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FEATURED ARTISTS:

GENE MC CLAIN

JIM FISH

ARTURO CHAVEZ

ANGEL ROSE

LYNNE KOTTEL

KATHERINE HOWARD

ALVARO ENCISO

BARRY McCORMICK

BARTLEY JOHNSON

KATRINA LASKO

EDWARD GONZALES

GARY ROLLER

SUSAN JORDAN

BIANCA HÄRLE

MARCIA FINKELSTEIN

LYNN HARTENBERGER

DAVID W. CRAMER

MICHAEL PROKOS

LAURA ROBBINS

SUSAN GUTT

EVEY JONES

GARY W. PRIESTER

GENE McCLAIN

DAWN WILSON-ENOCH

LINDA HEATH

MARY CARTER

LISA CHERNOFF
 
JON WILLIAM LOPEZ

SARA LEE D'ALESSANDRO

RUDI KLIMPERT

DIANNA SHOMAKER

BUNNY BOWEN

ED GOODMAN

GARY SANCHEZ

MARILYN AND HERB DILLARD

GERALDINE BRUSSEL

SAMANTHA McCUE ECKERT

SHARON SCHWARTZMANN

JIM FISH

C.E. FRAPPIER

TONY PARANÁ-RODRIGUES

FERNANDO DELGADO

JB BRYAN

LORNA SMITH

KATRINA LASKO

BILL FREEMAN

JULIANNA KIRWIN

LENORE & LARRY GOODELL

RIHA ROTHBERG AND WAYNE MIKOSZ

KATHERINE SLUSHER

MEG LEONARD

BEN FORGEY

JADE LAYVA


For more great local art, visit
Placitas Artists.com

Sandoval Signpost Featured Artist Gallery

Jade Leyva

Jade Leyva in her Bernalillo studio in the Old Town Shoppes complex. Her painting Mira como me dejaste (Look how you left me) hangs above.

Signpost featured artist of the month: Jade Leyva

Leyva inspires artists to create

—KEIKO OHNUMA

It can’t hurt that she looks like Frida Kahlo—considering that she’s a painter. But Jade Leyva is no moody melancholic, so the ghost vanishes with the first spark of energy from the thirty-one-year-old Placitas artist.

Mexican by birth, Leyva’s boundless enthusiasm and happy ambition make her right at home in America. She turns the stereotype of the depressed artist on its head, bursting with enthusiasms from pop to prehistoric.

Her work ranges freely from Pre-Colombian frescoes to postmodern bleeding hearts, from photography to pottery. She always made things as a child growing up in an artistic family in Mexico City. But it was really a series of lucky coincidences—or a talent for courting them—that landed Leyva in a Santa Fe gallery, in her own studio, and in a beautiful home in Placitas.

She had been working in a fine art gallery in Mexico City in 2000 when her family asked her to come help with their restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Something unbelievable happened,” Leyva relates, her eyes sparkling.

She served a local customer who told her about his art collection. When she walked in the door of his house, she says, “I was amazed! Pre-Colombian things I saw at home, but Native American pots … I had never seen anything like it,” Leyva says, her eyes wide.

Her new friend Bill Freeman happened to be one of the nation’s top collectors of prehistoric pottery, as well as a Western oil painter and artisan known for his painstaking replicas of Native American ceramics. Leyva asked if she could try making something in his studio, and from that moment she was hooked.

“When I was not working, I would be in the studio all the time,” she says. “I learned to antique, learned restoration, he taught me so much about art, about classical music.” Freeman, eighty, who has mentored a half dozen artists over the years, offered Leyva a place to stay, and eventually she started moving between his homes in Scottsdale and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Before long, she had gallery representation in Jackson Hole.

Leyva came along when Freeman relocated to Placitas. Bright, animated, and enthusiastic, it took no time for her to make friends. She met Marguerite, a bead artist, while waitressing at The Range Café. “We hit it off right away,” Leyva said. “We had the same interest in doing art and talking about world peace.” The two talked and laughed so much, they feared for their jobs.

They dreamed of getting a studio together and doing art full-time. They decided to show at an art exhibit at the Old Town Shoppes, where owner Sara Chadwick was hatching a plan to create an artisan colony. After the show, Chadwick offered them one of her small adobe buildings in back to help “seed” the colony, initially for just a commission off their sales.

“Not in our wildest dreams did we think we could have a space together!” Leyva said. Translating dreams into reality was becoming her form of artistic alchemy.

Last summer, Leyva placed a call to Huey’s Fine Art, the Santa Fe gallery where Freeman had started selling his pots. They gave her an appointment, agreed to represent her, and she has since been selling three or four of her kachina paintings every month, in addition to the work she sells through the gallery in Jackson Hole. Together, the artwork now nearly supports her.

Her partner at the shop, Marguerite, credits Leyva with inspiring her to take the leap to full-time artist. “She really, truly, when she says that limits are self-imposed—she taught me that,” Marguerite said. Leyva had talked her into making the rounds of the Santa Fe galleries, literally pushing her through doors to show her work. “It’s because of her that I’m showing at the Institute of American Indian Arts,” she says admiringly.

Leyva shrugs and says, “a lot of it is pure luck.” But she quickly concedes that opportunities appear all the time—“for fear, people don’t take it! But there’s nothing to be afraid of,” she says with great conviction. “If it doesn’t work, OK, you had the experience.”

Currently, Leyva is working on textured masonite painted with Pre-Colombian designs from Panama, as well as colorful Neo-Mexican acrylic paintings distressed with heat. A self-taught photographer, she shoots black-and-white portraits, landscapes, and copy work for fellow artists.

“I don’t have a limit,” she says of her future plans. “Whatever you want in life, you have to go for it—not to be scared of anything or anybody!” Such outpouring of creative energy is an inspiring source indeed.



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