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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.


Corrales Art and Studio Tour returns

The first weekend in May (April 30 and May 1), from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, the Village of Corrales will once again host their annual art and studio tour event. Village artists will open their studios and homes, hosting artists from the surrounding areas. Start your tour at the Preview Gallery in the historic Old San Ysidro Church in the heart of the    Village of Corrales. Visit www.corralesartstudiotour.com or www.nmartistsmarket.org.


With You In Bombay, mixed media, by Elizabeth Bogard

Collage/mixed media show opens at Placitas Library

The Placitas Community Library is pleased to announce an exhibition of original collage and mixed media fine art works. The show opens May 1 and continues through May 29. There will be an artist reception on May 6, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Collin Room at Placitas Community Library.

The works in the show are created by students of the Collage Like Picasso! Learning Studio: Karen Jones Meadows, Linda Nisenbaum, Laurie O’Rourke, Ann Roblyer, and Adele Stuhlmann. Elizabeth Bogard, the instructor of the class, will also be featured in the exhibit.

The artists incorporate handmade, organic papers and hand-decorated papers in collages that are uniquely beautiful and interesting to examine. Each collage reflects the personal style of its creator. Collage is a fine art style known as papier colle, which means paper glued to paper. Pablo Picasso and George Braque invented collage in 1911 by adding scraps of papers and other materials to Cubist paintings.

The Collage Like Picasso! Learning Studio is open to the public every Friday afternoon at the Placitas Community Center. Info: contact the Center at 867-1396.


An artistic path along the Placitas Studio Tour

The Placitas Studio Tour—opening the door to art

This year’s Placitas Studio Tour promises to be the best yet, with 58 artists at 48 studios participating on Mother’s Day weekend, May 7 and 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors will have an opportunity to look inside the creative process and see where the artists do their work.

The variety of media includes photography, woodworking, glass art, sculpture, mixed media, painting, fiber arts, pastel paintings, gourd art, collage, and more. Some artists will be demonstrating their process, and all will be happy to talk with visitors about their creations. Many artists offer complimentary snacks and beverages at their studios.

In its nineteenth year, the tour is a wonderful way to experience the beauty and hospitality of Placitas. Many people choose to make a day of it, visiting the many studios scattered throughout the scenic foothills of the Sandia Mountains, and then enjoying a meal at Blade’s Bistro, the Placitas Café, the Range Café in Bernalillo, the Merc delicatessen, or having a glass of wine with their art at Anasazi Fields Winery.

The tour features clearly marked signs that guide visitors to the various studios located throughout Placitas, and a full-color map can be picked up at the artist’s studios. In Homestead Village, maps will also be available at sponsor businesses like Hoot Art Gallery, Blades Bistro, the Merc, and Placitas Café. Folks who want to pre-plan their studio visit itinerary can download and print a copy of the tour map on the Placitas Studio Tour website at PlacitasStudioTour.com.

The tour is sponsored by the Placitas Mountain Craft and Soiree Society, a nonprofit organization that benefits the arts and art education in Placitas.


Placitas Artists Series features music, art

The Placitas Artists Series winds up its 29th season with Willy Sucre and Friends presenting Chamber Music for Strings and Horns. The concert, which takes place at 3:00 p.m. on May 15, features String quartet in one movement, Op. 89, by Amy Beach, Duo for Unaccompanied Horns by Gunther Schuller, and Sextet in E flat minor for two French horns & string quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Violist Willy Sucre will be joined by French horn players Peter Erb and Debra Fialek, violinists Krzysztof Zimowski and Justin Pollak, and cellist Joan Zucker.

The concert is sponsored by Vulcan Materials.

Prior to the concert, a 2:00 p.m. visual artists’ reception will feature the art of Jade Leyva, painting and pottery; Marcia Petty, dyed silk, rayon and cotton fiber art; Chris Thoeni, fiber art; and P. K. Williams, water media. Their works, which are for sale, will be on display through May 28.

The concert and visual artist reception take place at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the village of Placitas, located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242). The facility is completely accessible.

For ticket information, go to PlacitasArtistsSeries.org or call 867-8080.

 
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