The Magic Gardens in Philadelphia is a museum and community arts space created by artist Isaiah Zagar. It was build over many years using recycled materials, found objects, and about a million different colors. Here are a few of them:
Name: Christopher. He had trouble pronouncing his name as a young child so he’s been going by Crico (pronounced Kreeko) his whole life.
Hometown: Madrid, NM
Profession: Works at Weasel & Fitz art gallery in Madrid, which features work from local artists and specializes in recycled, found object, and Folk Art.
Favorite Color: It’s between lime green and orange. Crico says he just likes the way these bright colors make him feel, and that he's always been drawn to them. He especially likes the way they work together and bounce off of each other. (The front of Weasel & Fitz is a very bright shade of lime green).
What colors remind you of New Mexico?: “Adobe colors,” he says emphatically. It’s everywhere. “I also think of a specific shade of blue that people here call ‘door blue’. It’’s called door blue because a lot of people paint their doors with it’”. Go figure. We had never heard of “door blue”, so he pointed just across the street to a classic New Mexico adobe home painted with blue accents around the door and windows.
Like many other New Mexico residents, he also says that when he thinks of New Mexico he thinks of the color of the sky. “It’s different here. It’s so blue, almost like looking at the ocean when you see the horizon”.
How do you use color?: Crico says that he loves to use lots of bright colors, like his favorites, orange and lime green. His house is so bright that other people wonder how he can stand it, which has made him wonder if he is not a little bit color blind. Crico himself is a painter, and tends to use his love for bright colors in his work. “I have toned down my painting style since my youth,” he says. “I used to paint in only really crazy colors.”
Hometown: Albuquerque, NM
Profession: Lynn operates the gift shop and ticket booth at the Tiinkertown Museum at the base of Sandia Mountain in Albuquerque. She has been working with the museum for many years, though she spends half the year in Mexico. Let me repeat — this woman spends six months of every year operating a museum dedicated to eccentric americana and the other six months of her year exploring what Goop.com reviewed as “Central America’s Indiest Country” (2013). Is Lynn the ultimate hipster?
Favorite Color: “Yellow. I love all bright colors. I love all the primary colors.”
What role does color play in Tinkertown?: Lynn says that color plays a huge role in the attraction of the museum. Though Tinkertown features all things american kitsch, it can sometimes feel likea tribute to the classic American circus and all of its puppets, props, and wacky details. “The circus has the best colors,” she says, and Tinkertown features the whole spectrum of the circus aesthetic.
The museum also gives off its own color, mostly because of the salvaged glass bottles that line the walls. Lynn personally loves the way the light catches all the greens of the bottle walls.
What colors remind you of New Mexico?: Brown. “Comedians came and did shows in New Mexico and made fun of how Santa Fe is nothing but different shades of brown. But I think our brown is a real asset. Its a cultural aspect to make us different from people in the East”.
She says that despite the overwhelming amount of brown shades spread throughout the state, “color is actually a huge thing here. You won’t find many people who don’t have an opinion on color.” She pointed out that the state gem of New Mexico is turquoise. Lynn knows a lot about gems. Gems are hip. Lynn is hip. Get with it.
Color in Mexico: “Color is a major part of my life,” she says, and explains that it’s a huge reason why she spends half her time in Mexico. She loves the color splashed all over the country. Especially the reds, blues, and turquoises.
If you ever find yourself driving down New Mexico State Road 14, there are two things you need to know:
1. The locals call it the turquoise trail so seriously, guys, be cool. Don’t be all uncool. (Ceil wants to say “if you’re too green to know it’s Turquoise, you’ll make me blue.” Get it? Color blog?)
2. You absolutely HAVE to stop at the Tinkertown Museum.
The Tinkertown Museum is a collection of the 40 years worth of wood carvings, circus relics and kitschy coin machines made by artist Ross Ward. Oh, and, guys, it was featured on MTV.
Remember on MTV Cribs when a celeb like Busta Rhymes or Xzibit would show us their king-size bed and say something like “here’s where the magic happens?” Well, Tinkertown is where the real magic happens. It proves once and for all that Xzibit didn’t know what the BLEEP he was talking about (Parental Advisory: Explicit Content all up in this mutha-bleepin’ blog!).
Anyway, more about the Tinkertown Xzibit…
Inside the Tinkertown museum, you can feed quarter-machines that will then play music, predict your future or set off some vibrant Appalachian scene.
There’s something to look at in every bleeping corner of the Tinkertown Museum. The walls are made from salvaged glass bottles (looks like Ross Ward knew how to party. Where’s his MTV Cribs episode?).
Plus, one of the most charming parts of Tinkertown is all of the signs. Their tone matches the kitschy atmosphere of the whole exhibit (Xzibit) but also adds a moody flair that most teenagers would kill to have.
PS: Did you guys know that there was an entire MTV series called “MTV’s Teen Cribs?” Couldn’t you totally see an emo kid screaming that quote about the undertaker to his mom and telling her to “stay the hell out” of his room because that’s where the magic happens? Even though the magic could never happen there unless he’s talking specifically about Magic: The Gathering?
Prayer To Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace
Where there are long roads, let us have gas
When we have gas, let there be probiotics
Where there are probiotics, let Ceil not talk too much about the innerworkings of the GI Tract