Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Presenting The Maestro!

Sometimes we need to remember the many reasons why we fight so hard to make the world a better place. Not only do should we learn from those who've gone before us but we also have a responsibility to teach what we know of the world to those coming up behind us. Art is one of the aspects of humanity that is often overlooked, or undervalued. Yet, for all of human existence we've honored certain creators of craft and art. Funny thing is we don't usually honor them until they're long dead and gone. As a working artist myself I can tell you this is extremely annoying but it may be an unintended result of the fact that most artists march to their own drummer. We may seem to be out of step with the rest of society, and indeed we often are, but we can sometimes be leading the way out of the muck and mire of oppression and confusion. If only folks who are less in communication with their own creative spirit would stop rushing about and notice, they might remember why life is worth living.

I first met Maestro Gaxiola back in 1999 during the 3rd annual ArtCar Fest. Filmmaker Les Blank screened his film about the Maestro and because I was a participant and volunteer for the fest I got to meet him and his wife Alice. This film is a MUST SEE for any artist or anyone hoping to become more creative, in fact it's a must see for all humans!
Les Blank's new non-fiction film features California artist Gerald Gaxiola - aka The Maestro - who lives passionately by his credo, "Art is a religion not a business." For over twenty years, the Maestro has totally dedicated himself to art for art's sake, producing an astonishing array of work - none of it for sale.

This American documentary profiles the colorful life of middle-aged artist Gerald ("The Maestro") Gaxiola who 20 years ago forsook the daily grind of a normal job to become "a Western cowboy," a persona he has cultivated ever since. Gaxiola has created numerous objets d'folkart in that time ranging from painted landscapes to 72 Van Gogh-inspired paintings to detailed, realistic sculptures. Though he has produced many works, and has even dabbled in performance art, Gaxiola refuses to sell his art because he believes that "art is a religion, not a business," and fears that he will be "corrupted" should he sell any of it. As a result, Gaxiola has very little money, but this does not stop him from creating, nor does it stop him from launching periodic paint pellet gun attacks on such "institutionalized" artists as Christo and the late Warhol. - Source

From The Maestro's Written in the Rocks.

The Maestro is a true Renaissance man in that he is a master of many media and methods. He sings, he sews, he paints, and he sculpts. He designs, he conceptualizes, and he builds. Watch the Maestro and his art on video:

The Maestro has the most magnificent wardrobe of handmade (by himself) cowboy boots and matching outfits. These head-to-toe ensembles are simply unlike anything else in either rodeo circles or Hollywood costume collections. Here's a pair of boots the Maestro made to commemorate a sort of pilgrimage he took, with wife Alice, Santa Monica, CA to Chicago, IL on America's famed Route 66:

Seem more of the Maestro's amazing one-of-a-kind cowboy boots

Please visit his website, watch the video clips above and treat yourself to the fresh, delightful, honest work of a true American artist. I hope the Maestro inspires you as much as he does me!

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

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Blogger WesternMan said...

My dear Emily,

I woke up this morning with the same thought I always have, another day, another day. Then I read your E-mail and I went to your site, read it and to my most happy surprise felt, ..this is not just another day! This is a special day for me. To be included on your site is a great honor and I thank you deeply for all the kind words you wrote on my behalf.

I love art. I have devoted my adult life to it. Art is what makes us human. Art makes us human as oppose to war which makes us animal-like and inhuman Your tireless work as an artist and your work against war and those who would wage it and your steadfast resolve to fight against injustice wherever you find it is the highest form of humanity one could possess. I salute you and am happy to count you among my friends.

Thanks again for all you have said and done on my behalf, Maestro

9:28 AM  

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