Georgia O’Keefe lured us to New Mexico. As a start point, her work demanded it, however, we weren’t quite prepared for the breadth of magic we were to encounter there.
O’Keefe’s progression as an artist from New York City skyscrapers to New Mexico’s bones, rocks and succulents, her ‘White Place’ and ‘Black Place’, the Ghost Ranch, but most significantly, her home and studio in Abiquiu was definitely the catalyst; so huge was her influence on our new story ‘Las Casas’. Most significantly, the way in which New Mexico influenced her output demanded that we booked those flights.
Via O’Keefe’s live-in studio, The Ghost Ranch (along with every thrift store in every town we spotted along the way) was a hive of activity. It was AMAZING to see certain vistas that O’Keeffe chose to immortalise in seminal canvases, but most significantly, it was amazing to see the ranch so full of life.
We swam and picnicked on Lake Abiqui before taking the scenic High Road to the town of Taos through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where Native Americans and early Spanish settlers lived. On the outskirts of Taos we visited Taos Pueblo; an multi-storied adobe complex steeped in history.
Through Carrizozo, a town in Lincoln County, with a population of 996 and the feel of an abandoned film set, we travelled on to The White Sands Monument, a place quite unlike anywhere else we have ever been on any of our travels.
We were most recently reminded of New Mexico’s White Sands by Twin Peaks The Return. The enthralling events of Episode 8 had that site at their core and having watching the iconic White Sands sunset we battled through a wild thunderstorm en route to El Paso. When we arrived we felt like we had crossed a desert to get there; wind and sand swept.
The next day we made moves toward Texas asking questions about why artists make homes in certain places? What they choose to bring and in turn, what they leave behind. What do they look for and what does the location of their home or studio give back to them?
New Mexico provided us with a simpler outlook, and in turn a home for our new collection ‘Las Casas’, among the infinite minimalism of the desert. It gave us the time and space we needed to observe…