Nico Salazar returns with New Flexico, a love letter to his New Mexico Homeland

"So, this show is all New Mexico-themed pieces," illustrator Nico Salazar tells SFR. He's about a week away from his upcoming show, New Flexico, at KEEP Contemporary (it's also his birthday) and says he's drawing day and night to put the finishing touches on the new body. "I've always been into it, but I always like being challenged with my art, and lately I think it's a challenge for me to interpret very New Mexico things in my way."

Indeed, Salazar has often inserted unmistakably New Mexican ephemera into his bold black and white pieces, but whereas touches like chile and cholos, old trucks and mountain-scapes have been a more ethereal presence, New Flexico puts Salazar's New Mexico at center stage—these works feature familiar folks and nostalgic references, but they're all notably Salazar-esque in execution.

"This has always been in my mind, in my memories, and I've been going back to my elementary school days, my high school days, and trying to remember what that was like," he explains. "It's all about nostalgia."

Also notable is Salazar's use of more human subjects rather than characters. Japanimation and kawaii culture have always permeated Salazar's shows; New Flexico, however, brings composite sketches of people to life. Granted, they're more like combinations of things from Salazar's memories and subconscious, but they're also oddly recognizable to the viewer.

"Whenever I draw these people, I feel like I know them," Salazar notes. "My favorite artist of all time is Jaime Hernandez, who did this comic Love and Rocketsand I would see people I knew in that comic—not literally, but I'd be looking and think 'that's my auntie from Pecos or someone from around the way!' He really inspired me to look at the people I know and try to do that."

Take the show's namesake piece, inspired by Salazar's cousin.

"He was always in a Raiders jersey, always had a different chola girlfriend," Salazar reminisces. "I would say this show means the most to me because I'm really connecting with…I think all my shows up until now, I've been playing around. This is a clear vision for the first time. A lot of my work is so random, but this one…it's where I'm from and I think a lot of others might appreciate that. We'll see." (Alex De Vore)

New Flexico:
5:05 pm Friday, Oct. 16. Free.
KEEP Contemporary,
142 Lincoln Ave.,

Indigenize the Screen

Courtesy Santafeindependent.com

You can read plenty about a number of movies screening at this year's Santa Fe Independent Film Festival in our movie section this week, but it seemed absurd not to make special mention of the Indigenous Film Program. A hybrid drive-in/virtual event running through the fest's four days, the program finds exciting films such as fairy tale-like Monkey Beach from director Loretta Todd (Métis Cree), the contemplative family documentary My Dear Mother from Finnish Sámi director Paul-Anders Simma and any number of other full-lengths, shorts, local productions and more. It's been a mainstay component of the fest for years, but this might be the most intriguing batch we've ever seen. (ADV)

SFIFF 2020 Indigenous Film Program:
Various times Wednesday Oct. 14-Sunday, Oct. 18. $12-$40,

The Whole Wide World

Courtesy Currents New Media

This year's virtual version of the annual Currents New Media Festival proved that groundbreaking art can (and does) exist in the digital-only sphere, but its organizers' physical space on Canyon Road, Currents 826, continues to prove there's sometimes nothing like the real thing. Thus, if you wished for a micro Currents-like experience in 2020, look no further than artist Anne Farrell's A World Contained. The exhibit spans numerous media, but none more evocative than a pair of video installations. We're not even quite sure what they are yet, we just know we're ready to love Farrell and already love Currents. You must reserve a time slot to attend. (ADV)

Anne Farrell: A World Contained:
All day Saturday, Oct. 17. Free.
Currents 826,
826 Canyon Road,

Take a Bite

Courtesy MorningStar Angeline

If you didn't quite catch all the films you'd have liked over the past few days—or even if you did—you probably still have room for the Bite Size Film Festival, a one-night-only program featuring shorts by over a dozen New Mexico filmmakers. Curated by Santa Fe-based filmmaker Alexandra Renzo and Jenn Garcia of Albuquerque's Arabela Films, the lineup is meant to bring the film community closer and provide easily watchable shorts for film fans. "We've got this incredible array of films, and there's no category—except that they are New Mexico makers," Renzo tells SFR. Throw in spoken word from Hakim Bellamy, live music from Ashley "Saywut!" Moyer, kidPlastic and others, and friends, you've really got something. Celebrate locals always, we say. (ADV)

Bite Size Film Festival:
5 pm Tuesday, Oct. 20. $25-$40.
Motorama at the Downs,
27475 W Frontage Road,