Sandoval Signpost
An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Featured Artist
 

Fine art photographer Amy Ditto

Feathered Friend, by Amy Ditto

Remedios y Yerbas, by Amy Ditto 

Signpost Featured Artist
Ghostwolf Gallery and the photography of Amy Ditto

—Oli Robbins

There’s a new ghost in Old Town that’s offering surprising encounters to its visitors. Okay, it’s not exactly a ghost, but rather a gallery with an arresting name—Ghostwolf—and even better art. It enjoyed a successful grand opening last month and continues to welcome and enchant art lovers and Old Town strollers daily. The gallery was conceived of, and founded by, photographer Amy Ditto, with the support of her husband and fellow photographer Stefan Chakerian. Amy’s goal was “to create an upscale space in Albuquerque that would be a stable space for like-minded artists with unique, artistically progressive visions to share their work.” The gallery is currently saturated with work by 15 artists, including painters, digital photographers, jewelers, a clay artist, and a wood worker. Says Amy, “the combination of artists that has assembled in the space not only makes sense aesthetically, but represents a truly dynamic group of genuinely talented and overall awesome human beings.”

Ghostwolf came into being one fortuitous afternoon when Amy meandered around Old Town looking for galleries that might fit her work. At the time, she was showing in a cooperative gallery in Old Town as well as behind the bar at High Noon Restaurant and Saloon. Recognizing that her work was distinct from conventional photography, and that she in fact might show better with painters and art of other media, Amy had decided to look at potential galleries when she came upon a vacant space that would become Ghostwolf (its name an homage to the “furry friends” Amy and Stefan have lost over the years). Most of the artists Amy soon recruited work with techniques and/or subjects that surpass art’s traditional, confining boundaries. Amy explains that Ghostwolf’s grouping is based off of a shared sentiment and aesthetic and believes the work is cutting edge. 

Ghostwolf will participate in ARTScrawl on the first Friday of each month, beginning May 6, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. It will also partake in Artful Saturdays, beginning May 21, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. You can visit Ghostwolf in person seven days a week at 2043 South Plaza Street NW or online at ghostwolf.gallery. In the future, Ghostwolf will present demonstrations and lectures by its artists. Says Amy, “We hope that the space will be a place where folks can come see and learn about art in a fun, warm, unpretentious, but still first-class, environment.”

While in college at UNM, Amy studied and fell in love with the practice of black and white photography. Like so many students, though, she decided to elect a different major, believing that a commitment to art might be too frivolous. Wanting to be practical, Amy chose to get her degree in philosophy and psychology. She later became interested in conservation and earned a Ph.D. in Ecology, writing her thesis on ecological genetics. Soon after she received her doctorate, however, both Amy and Stefan decided to switch gears and return to the arts. Stefan, then a computer scientist, suggested they open up a photography studio and Amy happily concurred. Their company, Aperture Photography (aperture-labs.com), was founded in 2010 and provides commercial services—specializing in food and products.

Amy’s connection to photography is not unrelated to her previous pursuits in biology and ecology. Says Amy, “I’m very outdoorsy, so there’s an aesthetic there in terms of appreciating nature and our environments. It’s the aesthetic alone that’s a unifying factor. But at the same time, I’m pretty interested in everything—which is great for photography and subject matter.”

Since Amy’s initial training in photography was in film, she had a lot of learning to do when she transitioned to digital in 2010. She is entirely self-taught in digital photography and Photoshop and is perpetually learning. “Originally,” says Amy, “I began doing very abstract work... I was interested in looking at things like color, things that we don’t immediately detect in a scene or intellectualize. They were very abstract... with all these crazy colors coming out that the naked eye wouldn’t notice.”

Now, she’s more representational and finds herself plucking her subject matter—like cow heads, florals and landscapes—from the vastness and quirkiness that is New Mexico. “Particularly with the landscapes, what I’m trying to do at this juncture is show you how I see them.” Rather than leaving a photograph untouched, she adds elements that create that elusive and ideal moment that “every once in a while we get lucky enough to catch a glimpse of.” Says Amy, “Art is really important in life, and it effects us. Having it around makes our lives better.”

Amy is this year’s branding artist for the Placitas Artist’s Series; one of her photographs will accompany all promotional items for the 2016 Series. The image used depicts a blue bench amid a rose garden, encapsulating a quiet moment found often in Placitas. The bench and garden belonged to Amy’s late in-laws, longtime Placitas residents to whom the work is dedicated. Amy will be showing at the Santa Fe Artists’ Market on June 4 and 5, from 10:0 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and again on September 17 and 18 at Cathedral Park. She has a solo show entitled, Spirit of Route 66, On and Around the Mother Road, at Loma Colorado Library from June 11 to June 30, with an opening reception on June 16 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. She will also exhibit her work at the New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair at EXPO New Mexico, June 24 through June 26, and at Girls Inc., a juried Arts and Crafts show in Santa Fe’s historic Plaza, on Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 
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