Arts

Hopeful harbinger for Taos art

Jones Walker Gallery brings focus on 'art, gifts, home accents and design'

By Virginia L. Clark
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 12/12/18

Magic is afoot in Taos if you are one to pay attention to such things. And that is the predominant vibe owners-artists Max Jones and Tony Walker feel for their new Taos gallery, a business dedicated …

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Arts

Hopeful harbinger for Taos art

Jones Walker Gallery brings focus on 'art, gifts, home accents and design'

Posted

Magic is afoot in Taos if you are one to pay attention to such things. And that is the predominant vibe owners-artists Max Jones and Tony Walker feel for their new Taos gallery, a business dedicated to "art, gifts, home accents and design."

Opened in March 2018, they recount one synchronous moment after another and are almost spellbound by each uniquely "perfect" occurrence.

Hailing from Dallas, Texas, in 2017 the pair have been Taos regulars over the past eight years, buying and collecting for their former elite home design business in Dallas. It was while they were working on an overhaul of a customer's Pagosa Springs home that painter Max Jones suggested they drive through Taos to finally meet his adored mentor, Taos abstract painter Nancy Ortenstone. Et voilà - it was love at first sight, he said.

"It was real iffy because, with Taos, you either love it or hate it," Tony Walker said of his husband's first visit to Taos. "I've been coming here all my life since I was 7 years old. The first time I saw the mountain I knew I wanted to be here."

For the next eight years they said: "Taos was our happy place. We were going to do an Airbnb or something like that."

"Back at the end of November (2017) the business sold, the house sold and we moved here this year, on Jan. 9," Jones said. "We were at the peak of our business in Dallas and had to either sign up for a new multi-year lease and business commitment or sell it all."

Taos magic continued to pop for the couple, who happened upon Rancho Milagro Gallery, at 127 Bent St., back when it was still owned by Ed and Trudy Healy (it was also the former site of Parks Gallery). They thought it so perfect that Walker took a photo of Jones in the front yard, and they bought a small Jim Wagner piece from the gallery.

Three months later, still searching for a spot for their new Taos business, they took one more look at the Bent Street site and found it closed. Upon inquiry they found the space available after all and bought it straightaway.

Later they found out from Walker's ear-piercing pro of Taos, named "Lizzie," that two other callers made offers immediately afterwards. Had they not sealed the deal at that very moment, they would have lost their most-dreamed-about gallery spot in Taos.

"Everything worked out perfect," Walker said. "We closed the business, liquidated everything, sold our house, bought next to San Geronimo Lodge and then found this place!"

The artists they represent are all Taos artists. The more well-known need no introduction: Jim Wagner, Nancy Ortenstone, Peggy McGivern, among others. Since March 2018, they say they've sold a ton of these artists works as well as some of their lesser knowns, such as Taos Pueblo scratchboard artist Jocelyn Martinez.

"There's currently a waiting list for her work," they caution. A participant in the Santa Fe Indian Market since 2008, Martinez received 1st and 2nd place Division Awards in 2013 and 1st place Division Award in 2010.

Also represented are woodcarver Andy Greif, fine and functional fused glass artist Scott Messick and former astronomer impressionistic realism oil painter C.S. Tally.

Max Jones's work separates out to "Maxterpieces," incorporating Nancy Ortenstone-influenced "amorphic color field" acrylics, and his Mark Rothko-inspired "Mini Maxes," gilded-framed squares of two predominant color blocks, hung in multiple rows stacked two to three deep.

"We love the whole community here," Jones said. "All the artists and gallerists are so supportive of each other."

"We love to educate our customers," Walker added. "I guess it's the small town versus big city thing. All our artists are living and working Taos artists. There's so many artists here, why not celebrate that? If we don't have what (people) are interested in, we refer them in Taos to someone else who does."

Noting that employees have gotten fired in other art towns for referring customers to a "competitor" gallery, Jones Walker of Taos has a caveat for all - "You reap what you sow."

So far their fine art paintings, sculpture, ceramics, up-cycled decor, design, wearables and library table of both old and new Taos art books, plus Max Jones's painting-demo studio, are all stirring the Taos creatives' pot and promising more Taos magic for years to come.

For more information, call (575) 758-7965 or see joneswalkeroftaos.com.

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