David Anthony Fine Art on Kit Carson Road is not to be missed by any art lover passing through Taos.

David Anthony Mapes opened David Anthony Fine Art, a fine art gallery (and custom furniture showroom) in November of 2011. He opened the gallery as both a showroom for his New Mexico Furniture Company and art gallery.

The owner of this beautiful Contemporary Art Gallery, grew up in California but began visiting Taos in the late 60’s.

“I always knew I’d live here,” he said when we talked last week, “it just took a little longer to get here than I thought it would.”

It was his father (David Mapes Snr.) who came first and opened the late, great toy shop in town, Tio Vivo, with his wife Cathy, who ran it for many years. David eventually followed.

David has been here now for thirty years, and is very much a part of this town’s Art community. He and Rob Nightingale (who has his gallery, Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, across the street), have worked tirelessly together over the past few years, to revive the (Taos) Gallery Association and create more of a community between the artists themselves.

“Taos has always been about the Arts,” David says, “and I feel the need to make certain that the focus stays there which is why I try to be involved in all aspects of marketing Taos.”

“I’m working on the (Gallery Association) Website slowly but surely, and hopefully it will be up and running soon.”

David is an incredibly talented woodworker and furniture maker (the red chest and other furniture shown here are his pieces), so needless to say, he’s already pretty busy and to think he is running two businesses and attempting to revive another, boggles the mind.

Walking into DAFA one could imagine one’s lost one’s way and somehow ended up in a Manhattan Gallery, until one looks up at the vigas and takes note of the posts and corbels holding up the historic structure the gallery is housed in.

In this lofty, airy and well-lit space, the walls are hung with edgy and very modern paintings, contemporary photographers, including William Coupon, Taos’ own William Davis, as well as Mike Mitchell’s (now very valuable), Beatles images from their first American tour.

Glass and sculpture are displayed on pedestals and other surfaces, but in no way does any one piece distract from another.

All this is the doing of David’s equally (incredibly), talented and very chic Gallery Director, Thea Swengel.

“She’s been with me since the beginning,” David says, “I could not do this without her.”

Mapes also happens to be a licensed pyrotechnician (as in controlled  fireworks not setting random things alight), who has worked on many projects, helping to produce nearly 500 large fireworks display shows in Southern California, including shows at the Hollywood Bowl.

He supervised shows at Six Flags Magic Mountain that were executed over a manmade lake and he worked on rock concerts, including shows for the Who and Rolling Stones. He produced extravaganzas for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 10 years, along with corporate parties and other public and private events. (Is the Town Management taking note?).

Currently DAFA has a show of Kate Rivers’ intriguing collages hanging. These intricately made images are fragments of maps, notes, cancelled stamps, old books, and scraps of paper with handwritten notes that the artist uses to create her wondrous work.

“This work is an investigation of memory, nostalgia, time and space. Home and space become synonymous with memory, loss and nostalgia.”  She explains in her artist’s statement.  “I am interested in pattern, texture and the messages conveyed by the combination of text and image.”

David has more exciting shows planned and says that in general, he is feeling upbeat and positive about Taos, in regards to both the Arts and Business.

“It seems we are once again on the radar,” he said. “People want to be here, or at least to visit.”

“I feel very good about the way things are moving forward,” he said as we ended our conversation, “I think it’s just going to get better.”

For more information on Rivers, DAFA and David Mapes, do visit the sites linked below this post.


David Mapes Furnituure

All images c/o DAFA

Photo of David Mapes’ Red Chest taken at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art.

Beatles by Mike Mitchell

Feature photograph of Taos Mountain by William Davis