News Column

Spanish Market inspires artists to evolve and refine their styles

July 27, 2014

By Patrick Malone, The Santa Fe New Mexican

July 27--The lively atmosphere at Santa Fe's 63rd annual Traditional Spanish Market treated every sense and sensibility Saturday.

Connoisseurs of everything from fine art to corncobs and good company packed the blocks around the downtown Plaza.

The rich sights of traditional Spanish art and the contemporary Hispanic works displayed nearby pleased the eyes, while an array of musicians took the bandstand stage. Their audiences filled every available seat and streamed through the Plaza, some lounging in the grass to soak in the upbeat atmosphere in bare feet.

Savory scents from a ribbon of food vendors' booths lured long lines of hungry marketgoers, then sent them away happy, with dishes ranging from fajitas to roasted corn.

Art is the glue of the annual festival, and business was strong, according to Charlie Esquibel, a Spanish colonial furniture maker from ChimayÓ, whose art has been shown at the Spanish Market since 2000.

"I've had a great market," he said, basking in the sale of his featured piece, a $4,000 distressed wooden bench tastefully adorned with rosettes and rope carving, the hallmarks of Esquibel's style. "Last year was good, but I've done better today than I did in both days last year."

The buyers, a couple from Austin, Texas, are in the process of moving to ChimayÓ. Esquibel said he is thrilled that the fruits of months' work will reside in the same town as he does.

The market inspires artists to evolve, create and develop a style all their own, Esquibel said.

"You learn as the years go by, by talking to people, visiting artists, getting ideas," he said. "You've got to get better because the competition is fierce. So, if you don't get better and learn and improve as you go along, you get left behind."

Esquibel and the artists around him in the Plaza practice the traditional style of Spanish art that the market grew up with. Snaking down Lincoln Avenue in the Contemporary Spanish Market, artists whose works are no less dazzling, but more modern, held the gazes and the dollars of their own audience.

Kimberley Dieringer of Santa Fe likes her art contemporary. She found just the piece on Saturday to add to her collection: A wild-eyed metallic stallion, its body shaped from a bike chain with a flowing tail and mane of wire.

It was displayed against a black backdrop in Los Alamos artist David A. Trujillo's stall of whimsical recycled metal artwork, where he resurrects discarded parts of bicycles, motorcycles and cars as characters with palpable personality.

Dieringer has been collecting jewelry and art for about 15 years -- more than half her life. Like the recent International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, the Spanish Market generated yet another piece for her collection.

"When I find a deal, I jump on it," she said.

Dieringer's experience at the Spanish Market, like so many others, wasn't just marked by the captivating piece she took away with her, but also by memories.

For Dieringer, her sister and her brother-in-law, the Spanish Market was the perfect start to an evening celebrating her sister's birthday.

If you go

Contemporary Hispanic Market: Continues Sunday on Lincoln avenue between E. Palace avenue and Marcy street, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., no charge.

Traditional Spanish Market: Sunday on the Plaza, heritage market with more than 250 artists, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., no charge.

View more photos

--Visit to see a gallery of Spanish Market photographs.


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Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, The (NM)

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