Sept. 25, 2016
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Kystral Ramirez

SFR Picks: Paper Fringe

Justin Favela subverts the touchstones of Latino culture

July 6, 2016, 12:00 am

The New Mexico Museum of Art imports a new make and model this week, as Justin Favela cruises into town for a three-day artist residency. The Las Vegas, Nevada-based artist applies his unique style of cultural reclamation to the lowrider community. “The car is a symbol of American progress,” Favela tells SFR. “For Chicanos and Latinos to take this symbol and make it their own, I thought was powerful.”

Favela assembled a full-scale 1964 Chevy Impala lowrider piñata for an exhibition called Chop Shop at Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Kate Ware, the curator of photography at the New Mexico Museum of Art, saw Favela’s creation and asked if it could be included in the museum’s lowrider show. Unfortunately, the piñata had already been cut into pieces, in line with the Chop Shop theme.

In lieu of presenting the original, Favela agreed to come to Santa Fe to construct something new. He leads a workshop July 8-10 in which volunteers can assist in constructing a half-scale Chevy Impala lowrider piñata. “Whenever I have a big project, I have family and friends helping me in the studio,” Favela says. “With this, I don’t have to beg people to help me.”

Favela typically uses cardboard as a base for the piñatas and then layers on papier-mache and tops it off with colored tissue paper. “I used the piñata style to represent my Latino American identity in the easiest way,” Favela says. “A lot of our culture has been stripped away from us and made American. That’s one of the themes of my work.” In addition to his destructible paper vehicles, Favela applies the same aesthetic to two-dimensional landscape paintings. “I’m taking all these paintings by one of my favorite artists, José María Velasco,” Favela says. “They’re these really fluffy, romantic paintings of Mexico, and I take them a step further in piñata form.”

Favela’s work sure sounds unique, but what SFR really wants to know is, does he fill these things with candy? “I do not,” Favela says. “In the tradition of a true piñata maker, I leave the candy to you.” (Andrew Koss)

Lowrider Piñata Workshop with Justin Favela:
2-4 pm Friday, July 8, 10 am-4 pm Saturday, July 9,
and 1-4 pm Sunday, July 10.
Free with museum admission Friday and Saturday,
and free to New Mexico residents Sunday.
New Mexico Museum of Art,
107 W Palace Ave.,


Courtesy Convergence Gallery
“I hope to convey the wonderful relationship we have with the natural world around us,” Brad Stroman tells SFR. The local artist manipulates his medium with mastery, creating roughly textured backgrounds that force the viewer’s eye to the realistic subject in his work’s forefront: sometimes a gear or a feather or flower. Stroman says he combines cultural influences like the Japanese Zen philosophy of wabi-sabi and Native American influence, and his new show, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, opens July 7 at Convergence Gallery, in conjunction with Motor Maids—a women’s motorcycling group founded in the 1940s, the first of its kind. (Maria Egolf-Romero)

Brad Stroman: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
5-7 pm Thursday, July 7. Free.
Convergence Gallery,
219 W San Francisco St.,


Roadhouse Records
“Women nowadays don’t really lie around on beds eating grapes,” artist Catherine Ferguson jokes of her upcoming show at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, Daughter of Rooms. Across 20 paintings in oil and acrylic, Ferguson depicts various women reclined on beds. They’re beautiful portraits of her friends and an interesting new direction for a painter who traditionally works in the medium of retablo. Ferguson came by painting honestly, as the daughter of artist parents (her mother, who died in 2014, studied with Frida Kahlo in the ’40s and will also have work in the show), and tells SFR she had never really done such a series before. (Alex De Vore)

Daughter of Rooms:
1-5 pm Friday, July 8. Free.
El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe,
555 Camino de la Familia,

Affordable Cultural Submersion

Peter Sills
The International Folk Art Market brings traditional arts from 59 countries across six continents to the City Different. And on Sunday, it does so at an affordable price. Drag the whole family to the outdoor market on Museum Hill (16 and under get in free) for an enriched experience. Gabe Gomez, marketing and communications consultant for the market, tells SFR that “it’s a true cultural exchange for all to engage and enjoy.” Expect live performances, an international food bazaar and a map detailing the folk artists’ home locations, which is tailored to please the kiddos with sticker incentives. “The program strives to awaken children’s awareness about the many countries and cultures that exist in the world,” Gomez adds. (MER)

Sunday Market/Family Day:
9 am–5 pm Sunday, July 10. $15.
Museum Hill,
710 Camino Lejo


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