Zorro’s Lament

I’m in NYC, it’s early in the morning, but the streets are busy and very much awake.

Monday morning has arrived. The same as it ever was, and in Taos, Ed Sandoval aka Zorro, will soon be waking up to start his day, beginning with feeding his beloved horses, stabled in the Couse Pasture below his Studio de Colores Gallery.

Before I left Taos, I chatted with Ed about the current state of Art in Taos, thinking who would know better than he?

Ed spends most days (weather permitting) painting outside his namesake gallery (Ed Sandoval) next to the World Cup Cafe on Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

Driving into Taos, one cannot miss the artist who is usually perched on a small stepladder in front of a very large canvas in progress. Taosenos, used to the spectacle, call out to him from their cars as they drive by.

Tourists of course are drawn into his gallery to meet the artist and to view his surrealist, impressionistic take on the local landscape.

Ed Sandoval is a brilliant promoter of (not only) his work and Art aqui en Taos.

Born and raised in Northern New Mexico, Ed’s family settled in Nambe Centuries ago. His father worked at Los Alamos and Ed attended High School there which is where he was first bitten by the Art bug. He received his degree in Fine Arts from UNM and a Masters in Psychology from the University of Utah, before returning to New Mexico to teach Art at his former High School.

During the early 80’s he moved with his young family to Truchas to find his vision and voice as a painter. His arrival coincided with the filming of Robert Redford’s adaption of Taos author, John Nichols’ book, The Milagro Beanfield War.

Inspired by the character of Amarante Cordova, Ed began including the Viejito in his landscapes. The old man leaning on his cane has become the artist’s trademark and brand.

Ed’s true modus operandi these days, is to “bring Art in Taos, back to the streets, back to the forefront of what Taos is all about.” He says.

Lately he’s taken on a new cause. To bring back Quick Draw, an event that traditionally drew crowds during the annual Fall Arts Festival in Taos.

“I don’t care if it happens in Spring or Fall” Ed says, “but I’m asking the Town to reinstate it.”

Apparently the event was dropped from last year’s Fall Arts event schedule, and Ed blames it on the disappearance of Holly Alcott White, who was the former Taos Center for the Arts general manager, and was reported missing on May 6 last year.

Theories posited to explain White’s disappearance have ranged from a carefully planned, deliberate escape from life in Taos to kidnapping, suicide or foul play.

But nothing uncovered during the investigation has proven any theory correct.

Several searches conducted in and around Taos County and at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, where White’s car was found parked, have come up empty.

“Ever since “they” took Holly,” Ed said, making it sound as if an alien abduction was the cause of her disappearance, “the event has been dropped and it makes absolutely no sense. It was hugely successful for years, ” he continued. “People would come to Taos just to watch the artists at Quick Draw and bid on the work.”

All jokes aside, Ed says he’s terribly upset about Holly’s mysterious disappearance. “She was a vital part of our community,” he says. “And she was the continuing force behind the Quick Draw event.”

“I’m using Facebook to reach out to the Town about this,” he told me. “I think they should step in and revive the event.”

In his down time, if he’s not dressing up as Zorro and riding his Arabian horses around town, Ed’s usually on the road to Ojo Caliente to soak in the mineral rich springs. The drive itself often inspires his new work which you can see all day, everyday, aqui en Taos.


Top Photograph of “Zorro” by Bill Curry
 Photographs of Ed on the road to Ojo by Issa De Nicola
Other images c/o the artist