Taos Fall Arts Festival

Capturing the essence of Pueblo women

David Vedoe: 44th Annual Fall Arts Poster Artist

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“Harvest Dance” by David Vedoe has been selected as the 2018 poster image for Taos Fall Arts Festival’s 44th annual celebration of the visual arts of Taos.

The image is a highly stylized figurative work centering on a Taos Pueblo woman with a Pueblo tablita headdress, the Río Pueblo that runs through the village, a silked-out corn stalk, sage, feathers and vegetation — his vision of “the universal harvest dance,” he says, as it applies to the 2018 Fall Arts theme, “Beyond the Horizon.” 

During an interview at his home studio mid-July, he said it was his intent to “capture the essence of Pueblo Indian women,” that of belonging to the land, connected to the earth, the sky and the spiritual.

His rather spectacular original features a sulfurous yellow sky, earthen hills and Pueblo, orange-red earth crossed by electric blue water, all fronted by a bejeweled Pueblo woman and duskily rich vegetation. 

He started with an acrylic background, which he overlaid with colored pencil — using the light, medium and dark of each color — “It makes it 3D, you see?” And on top of that, he used acrylic washes similar to the frescoes he creates to transform a client’s ordinary, often boring, blank wall into a stunning artful-living statement.

Presently, among other commissions, he’s drying up to 20 pieces of oil-marked paper and gold powder for a Hopi-story work he’s collaborating on with his partner, Hopi-Taos Pueblo artist Jacqueline Gala. 

“It’s coming from internal inspirations,” he says about his creative process. “Most of my spirituality and ways of looking at life are expressed in my paintings — analyzing what we see and working with those concepts and visualizations.”

Once you’ve seen a mural by David Vedoe, you’ll never want to see just a plain wall again. He captivated the imaginations of the Taos Fall Arts poster image jury and the main thing everyone said was, “Where has this guy been?”

“It took us a while to find out how fantastic he is,” Fall Arts Vice President Ricky Pass says about ultimately selecting Vedoe as the 2018 Poster Artist. “We always put together a selection committee and check out the nominated artists’ studios. We look at what are their habits, how prolific they are,” because you have to have a good body of work, she adds, to show potential collectors who want a wide range to pick from.

As to where he’s been, the answer is right here in Taos for the past 29 years making art, using his Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts master’s training in architectural design for murals, teaching public and private classes and transforming lives, one wall and one painting at a time. 

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, he visited his father, Harry Vedoe, an artist and former cartoonist for The Taos News, almost 30 years ago. “I fell in love with it. I couldn’t find a way to get back here fast enough.”

In his “spare” time, he cofounded Taos Art Organization in 2008 with Taos artists John Staple and Bren Price, and he travels as needed for custom murals or architectural jobs. He has been represented at Taos Plaza’s Village Shop for a number of years. 

When he’s not painting mythologically imaginative and transformative imagery in acrylic, oil and mixed media, he’s pondering whole conceptual cityscapes, reinventing many wheels — i.e. windows, entryways, courtyards, balconies. You name it, he’s redesigned it and made it come to life.

“The most inspiring is the murals and the fun and joy I get when I can transform people’s lives,” he says. “It’s another way of using my talent — a commissioned work and a collaboration — What do you want, what are you about, how do we make a painting about you, what are your dreams?”

To help make your art dreams come true, contact David Vedoe Fine Art & Building Design, vedoe@laplaza.org or call (575) 779-3789.

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