Seeking Color In The US

Unlazy Savannah

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Name: Savannah

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Profession: Artist.  Savannah focuses on furry art, and admits that this can be controversial in the world of comics.  "There's a real tribal mentality in comics and anime. Even within the furry community there are divisions everywhere.  A big one is between those who do sex drawings and those who don't."  

Savannah says that because these kinds of divisions and controversies she kept her drawings a secret for a long time.  She doesn't do sexual drawings, but was worried her friends in the wider anime community would think she did if they knew she was involved in the furry community.  Savannah says that she has just always been interested in drawing animals, and just really connects to the style of art (Disney has been a big influence for her).  

She doesn't let the judgement affect her anymore, and has widely attended both anime and furry conventions to sell her art.  

How did you get interested in drawing?:  "My parents got me into art.  My mom used to draw me paper dolls.  My dad is an engineer and taught me to draw."

What influences your style?:  "I'm bi so I like both male and female forms.  You draw more of what you like, so I guess I like the female form more."

What's your favorite color?:  Yellow.  She likes yellow because of its vibrant, and reminds her of her hometown of Tampa.  Also, her room was painted yellow by her mother.  

On the role color plays in her art:  "I like to express a feeling through colors.  Some colors are cool, some are dreamy, some are warm and vibrant.  I think of colors in tones and feelings."   

On her experience in the anime/furry community:  Savannah has been featured as a panelist in a discussion about Hispanic women in comics.  "It can be kind of a boys club," she says of the comic art communty.  "But in furry art it seems like there has always been women.  It's really even, which is cool to see in a typically male dominated art culture."  

On Hispanics in the furry community:  Savannah says she has been excited to see a growing hispanic presence at the many conventions she attends.  She explains that the furry community really supports being proud of who you are and your interests.  "I'm glad there are more hispanics showing up and being proud."  She specifically noted that there is no one hispanic look.  "Hispanics can be anything so theres probably many here you you don't know."  

Panda Chan Amanda

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Name: Amanda

Anthrocon Alias: Panda Chon

Hometown: Pittsburgh 

What colors remind you of your hometown: Black and Gold, baby. COME ON STEELERS! Come on Roethlisberger, take it home for us this season!*

*we had to wikipedia every sports reference you seen in this interview

Favorite color: Anything pastel, but mint green is her favorite.

Profession: Artist, jewelry and clothing maker.  Her art is an explosion of pastels. 

Panda Chon says that she gets a lot of the inspiration for her art from going to so many conventions.  She is a proud member of the furry community and is excited to have AnthroCon in her hometown. 

She is also inspired by anime and retro gaming (she still plays Ages Genesis).  

Her dog Nico loves conventions too.  

Cousin Kelly

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We parked our car across the street from Cousin Kelly's house in Buffalo, New York. On the way to lunch, we avoided him at all costs. To be completely honest, he was wearing a wife-beater and a fedora and that was enough reason at the time. On the way back to the car, we miraculously managed to see through the fedora and saw the 20-foot totem pole he was creating in his front     yard. 

 Just look at this Daddy-O. He's as cool as saying "Daddy-O!" 

Just look at this Daddy-O. He's as cool as saying "Daddy-O!" 

Race: He's Algonquin with "white man blood" (Just an FYI for our readers — we seriously, seriously didn't ask him about this).  

Favorite Color: Rainbow. He rediscovered his love for the spectrum when he started working on his totems. 

Work With Totem Poles: He's been carving them for years. In fact, he even wrote his graduate thesis on proving that totems are memorials to Lemurian ancestors from the lost continent of Lemuria. 

For those who don't know, Lemuria is a fabled lost continent that disappeared from the Pacific Ocean and is rumored to be the origin of all mankind. Lemur thrived about 14,000 years ago. This was about the same time that Atlantis thrived as well. It is rumored that some Lemurians survived the Great Flood by moving underground. They now take residence on Mount Shasta in California. 

According to Cousin Kelly, Lemurians were ancestors to Native American people and they were saved after the Great Flood by "Sasquatch." Wanna know how he proved all of this? Read his god damn dissertation. This is our blog. Not his. 

 Here's Cousin Kelly describing to us the migration patterns of the survivors of Lemuria. 

Here's Cousin Kelly describing to us the migration patterns of the survivors of Lemuria. 

More About Sasquatch: One time Cousin Kelly set eyes on Bigfoot / Sasqautch when he was camping with his Irish Setter in Canada on a trip hunting Lemurians. Bigfoot didn't harm the dog (or Cousin Kelly for that matter) because the Sasquatch and the Irish Setter were kindred spirits. Cousin Kelly also couldn't tell whose eyes were whose in the darkness of the night. 

 "Where The Wild Things Go." From where we're standin', the Wild Things go to Buffalo to carve totem poles. 

"Where The Wild Things Go." From where we're standin', the Wild Things go to Buffalo to carve totem poles. 

ore About Dogs: One time, Hugh Laurie, of "House M.D" fame, tried to sell Cousin Kelly's trick dog to Jody Foster. If you're confused by this story, sorry to say that we have no additional information to offer you because Cousin Kelly swiftly moved on to the next topic. The next topic was Jodie Foster. 

More About Jodie Foster: Jodie Foster and Cousin Kelly are best friends. Jodie always says that he reminds her of Robert "Bobby" De Niro from her first movie, "Taxi Driver." If you don't know who Robert De Niro is, he was the guy driving the taxi in that Jody Foster movie. Jodie and Cousin Kelly love to "roll doobies" at Grace Slick's house on Fulton Street in San Francisco. They're just really the best of friends. 

 Cousin Kelly's current dog / second best friend after Jodie Foster. Stay the fuck away from him, Hugh Laurie. 

Cousin Kelly's current dog / second best friend after Jodie Foster. Stay the fuck away from him, Hugh Laurie. 

Butterfly Chris

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Every year in Columbus, Ohio the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden has an exhibit called "Blooms and Butterflies." Throughout the spring and summer, every afternoon they release newly emerged exotic butterflies into the botanical garden.  A butterfly expert introduces each new species to an audience.  

 Seen in the Blooms and Butterflies Exhibit

Seen in the Blooms and Butterflies Exhibit

Don't get fooled by the name, Slick. There might be some blooms and there might be some butterflies but these ain't your grandma's botanical exhibit. Fuck your grandma. I went to her botanical exhibit last year and it was a load of shit. 

The main reason this exhibit was so much more bad ass than that of your cunt grandma was because of Mr. Butterfly Chris. Just look at this guy. He looks like the kind of guy you don't want to piss off at a bar cuz he'll beat your ass with a pool stick. But really he's the kind of guy who frolics arounds Ohio catching butterflies with a net. The kind of guy your grandma doesn't want to piss off because he makes a delightful high tea. 

Anyway, enough about your slut grandma, we were lucky enough to interview Butterfly Chris. 

Fave Color: Blue followed closely by pink for no reason

Fave Butterfly: None in here, believe it or not. There’s a group of small butterflies called hair streaks and they’re about the size of your thumbnail. Their color scheme is orange and blue spotting.

The most cool thing about them is their bizarre relationship with ants. Hair streak caterpillars become pupa (or, disgusting word warning, pupate) in ant hills and the ants protect them. But once it becomes an actual butterfly it has very little time before the ants turn on it. I think that’s cool. 

 Seen at the Blooms And Butterflies exhibit

Seen at the Blooms And Butterflies exhibit

What’s your favorite color fact about butterflies: The relationship with butterflies and color is best exemplified through the idea of mimicry. Here we are a Pipeline Swallowtail butterfly and it is toxic. It’s neon blue at the edge of its wings. That’s how predators know not to eat it otherwise they will die. But, other edible butterflies what that same color scheme are also saved from predators. Birds learn not to eat that color scheme so color can literally save a butterfly’s life. 

It should be noted that we didn't make up the name Butterfly Chris. His friends (and probably your grandma) actually call him Butterfly Chris. Can you imagine being so into your job that it's actually a part of your name? Like "Mattress Salesman Randy Mancini" or "President Barack Obama." I guess that last one isn't that weird.

Cores Brilhantes Tiffany

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Chicago was a special stopping point for us because we got to meet up with the third member of our best friend trio (first and last time we're ever calling it that), the infamous Tiffany Ward. Seeing her was particularly special because in a few months time, Tiffany will be moving to Brazil to pursue her dream to curate Afro-Brazilian art.

She's just now launching her blog Cores Brilhantes ( which spotlights Afro-Brazilian artists and themes. We got to talk to her about her blog and future big move.

You’re originally from San Francisco but haven’t lived there in almost ten years. What colors make you think of that city and why?

Blues and greens and oranges, when I think of the natural colors of the city (the pacific ocean, the greenery, and the orange accents). Black when I think of growing up in SF and the pro-black education I received through my first years of schooling.

What do you think about the city now that you haven’t lived there in such a long time? 

Now I feel like I’m half-Californian, half-New Yorker. Having lived in both places, I’ve seen a lot of how gentrification tears places apart — the damage it does to the culture. People escaped the south by going to places like SF and New York and DC and Philly and, with them, they built beautiful, colorful cultures. Now our spaces are being taken away so I do kind of feel like I’m in a no-man’s land.  The neighborhood (Bayview/Hunter’s Point) I’m from isn’t even gonna be there any more.  

In New York, just being there 7 years, I saw so much change. I lived in Harlem and you’d see this brown place — a brown place where people were forced to live because they weren’t allowed to live in other places. And now they’re being forced out? Oakland, New Orleans — these were brown cities. Now we have nowhere to live. So, yah, when I think of San Francisco, I am heartbroken. 

You’re in Chicago now. What colors do you think of when you think of Chicago? 

Gray, misty gray. I tend to think of more somber colors here in Chicago. Chicago is a very loaded city for me. I came here to recover, to learn compassion for myself. I came here to get peace of mind. its really easy to get distracted, to get swallowed whole in cities like NY.  Because I’m not attached to Chicago, I have more time to be at peace with myself — to see my own color. 

But the somber gray comes from the income inequality, the history of housing discrimination here in this city and the poverty that ensued as a result of these policies.

And America as a whole?

The misty gray also represents to me the way in which America will ignore the gray in race relations. Everything is black and white. We’re always told and shown the end of the story, never the beginning (or even the middle). When a young, white kid makes a mistake, you "need to hear the whole story." We talk about shades of gray for some people but not for others. 

When you give people the human experience in all its different shades of gray, you’re learning compassion and that’s really important in race relations.  That’s important in a racially charged city, in a racially charged country, in a racially charged universe. 

There’s a serious lack of compassion here in this country and in this gray windy city.

So why is your focus on Afro-Brazilian art? 

As a kid, I didn’t think I was into art at all.  Everything I learned was eurocentric so I didn’t see myself in any of it.  Later, when I was studying abroad in Brazil, I realized I was into art when I saw a painting of an Afro-indigenous Brazilian man in the field working.  It was such a beautiful portrait of African and indigenous history. I wanted to see more.

 Renata Felinto  Renata Bardot

Renata Felinto Renata Bardot

So you’re moving to Brazil —

I’m moving next year. The move was all about putting myself into an artistic space and I realized, through social media, that there wasn’t really a space for Afro-Brazilian artists specifically. There are things dedicated to the African Diaspora or to Brazil in general but not just Afro-Brazilians.

There’s such a vibrant community of blacks in Brazil that I want to celebrate it and be part of it. It’s important that people have spaces to express creativity and to escape a solely eurocentric lens of art. 

 Photograph by Guilherme Malaquias, an artist soon to be featured on Cores Brilhantes. More of his work can be found  here.

Photograph by Guilherme Malaquias, an artist soon to be featured on Cores Brilhantes. More of his work can be found here.

And that’s where your blog, Cores Brilhantes, comes in. 

It translates to “brilliant colors.” It highlights Afro-Brazilian artists and Afro-Brazilian themes as told through art. 

Can you give us an example of one of the artists you feature and how they use color? 

Renata Felinto! The magentas she uses! She uses patterns and mixed materials and even glitter (though you can’t even tell it’s glitter). It’s just all so vibrant. When I think about what I want to present to the world, it’s work like Renata’s that inspires me. She IS Cores Brihantes. She IS brilliant colors. It’s so awesome to see Afro-Brazilian women represented.

 Renata Felinto

Renata Felinto

 Renata Felinto

Renata Felinto

What colors make you think of Brazil?

Blues and the greens because of the water.  When I think Brazil and the African diaspora, it’s impossible to not think about water. It's how we came to exist in this part of the world. 

But also, I think of Pelourinho. It’s the center of the city in Salvador — it’s a historic UNESCO site. It’s emblematic of how I feel about Brazil in general. It’s beautiful and people know it for its beauty but the history is much darker. It was a whipping post. It was the square where slaves were brought to be beaten. And now it’s a tourist site but no one talks about the slaves. It’s beautiful but there’s no question as to how or why. 

People also talk about “tan” when they talk about Brazil. But I think black and brown are cool and should be celebrated as well. 

Do you think color plays in to the exoticism of black women around the world? Maybe people assume that black women should only be portrayed in bright, vibrant colors?

Yeah! Because there’s this general idea of “wild women.” With the history of the slave trade, people came from colder, grayer areas and went to these warmer places where everything is so green and lush and the color of people’s skin is literally different. 

But there's a lot of contemporary art thats on my blog that not just bright paintings.  Like the art of Sonia Gomes.  Her style is completely different than what people might expect. She uses different materials and a lot more gray or white. 

 Sonia Gomes

Sonia Gomes

With the diversity of techniques and styles, Cores Brilhantes isn’t the name just for the art itself. It's the name for the history and stories that people tell. There is no one right way to be represented. That’s the whole point. 

So what’s your favorite color? 

Deep Magenta. I’ve always been fascinated by ruby colors, both in my clothing as well as in home décor. Ruby tones look really great on my skin. 

As we already said, we are so, so proud of Tiffany. Normally, the three of us will take any chance to poke fun at each other but, today, Tiffany gets a free pass because she's doing something so beautiful and exciting. This blog post is a landmark moment in our friendship because we're all working together and no one said anything remotely snarky. 

lol jk. We're totally gonna make fun of Tiffany. Look at these pictures where she's treating us like we're her personal assistant and back-up dancer:

All the world is Tiffany's stage and we are merely players. Congrats, Tiff.

Sculpture Artist Wayne Porter

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Name: Wayne Porter

Profession: Artist.  Wayne is a self-taught sculpture artist who works with mostly recycled materials.  He makes both small-scale and large-scale sculptures, some getting up to 60 feet tall.  

Hometown: Montrose, South Dakota

About His Studio: Wayne’s property in rural South Dakota is now a much visited sculpture park featuring all of his work. Pieces of his that range from a giant, red dragon to a demonic Jack-In-The-Box clown tower over highway 14. 

It’s clear Wayne loves living in South Dakota. He was as enthusiastic and excited to show off some of the flora that grew on his property (like bluegrass and sage) as he was showing us a, say, 8 foot statue of a frog dissection. In fact, he gets some complaints from his neighbors about how he doesn’t cut the grass. “Really weird,” he explained. “I love the grass.”

Wayne also lives with his albino dog, Bambino.  

How did you get started with sculpture?:  “I grew up in a blacksmith shop,” he explains.  Wayne’s dad was a blacksmith in St. Lawrence, South Dakota.  His first experiment with sculpture design was a small bull, which he still has on the desk in his shop. It’s funny to think years later, he’d own his own studio / property with a 60 foot bull’s head he crafted himself. 

What is your process?:  Despite the fact that Wayne’s sculptures are often life size or larger, he works with no preconceived plans.  He says that he pretty much just flies by the seat of his pants.  “I can’t draw them first ‘cause I can’t draw.  Can’t even write the idea down ‘cause I can’t read my own handwriting. I just have to go for it.”  

On the topic of inspiration, Wayne added “It comes to me at two in the morning and I just let it talk.” This wouldn’t be the last time Wayne anthropomorphized his art by a long shot. Frankly, if you were creating gargantuan figures of flies and goldfish toting umbrellas, you probably would too. 

 Porter says cartoons are a big inspiration for his art. 

Porter says cartoons are a big inspiration for his art. 

What kind of materials do you use?: Wayne uses everything he can find, including but not limited to old refrigerator parts, cement mixers, soft water tanks, diesel tanks, car rims, and old station wagon parts.  

 Porter says he doesn't understand why people constantly compare his work to that of Tim Burton's or say it is macabre. He just doesn't find what he does all that creepy.

Porter says he doesn't understand why people constantly compare his work to that of Tim Burton's or say it is macabre. He just doesn't find what he does all that creepy.

“When I was younger I used a lot more recycled materials ‘cause I was working faster.  I would take anything I could find and just start making something with it.”  In recent years, Wayne has has taken a slower approach.  He spent three years working on the sixty foot, 25 ton sculpture of a bull head that towers in his sculpture park.  

Favorite Color:  Red.  “i don’t know anything about color or art,” he insists.  “But like anyone, if I like it I like it.  I’ll completely change the colors on a sculpture if I decide I don’t like it.”  Red shows up a lot in Wayne’s process. “Rust is the disease of iron,” he says. And if he likes it, he likes it. 

What colors remind you of Montrose?:  He says that the spectrum of natural colors in the area has changed a lot since he settled on his property 15 years ago.  “It’’s hard to find colors here now.  The county is disappearing.  It used to be 1000 people, now theres 3,900.” 

Hobo Nickel Archie

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Name: Archie 

Profession: President of the Official Hobo Nickel Society

Hometown: Somewhere in Florida though he travels around in his van, teaching the country about hobo nickels. 

Just What Is A Hobo Nickel: Back in the early 1900’s, hobos that hopped from train to train would often make artistic carvings on a buffalo nickel (a special nickel with a buffalo on it). Archie said that hobos would give these carved nickels to train conductors in order to let them know they were “cool.” Though hobos, train travel and, quite frankly, using nickels have become less prevalent, the art form of carving these nickels still exists today and has even taken on modern twists. 

Example Of A Modern Twist: Archie knew one young woman who carved the buffalo on the coin into a buffalo stripper, including its very own stripper pole and heels. 

How Did You Get Involved With Hobo Nickels: "My dad started me in Hobos back in 1994 and it was a great 20 years and still will be a great future.

Your Greatest Moment With Hobo Nickels: He sold one hobo nickel for 24,000. 

What Is Your Favorite Color: We’re gonna have to do a direct quote on this one because otherwise you won’t believe us. "My favorite color is whatever croc i have on my right foot and whatever different  color i have on left. It makes people smile and talk.” We can’t make this shit up.

Bonus Fact: We won’t mention the specific carrier but Archie’s online handle is HoboChief69. Again, can’t make this shit up. 

Animal Stuffin', Good Lovin' Joe

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We were leaving Yellowstone when we drove through the town of Dubois, Wyoming.  We saw a roadside sign for a taxidermy shop.

What we thought would be a gruesome adventure into Wyoming mountain life turned out to be quite the opposite.  Instead of finding gross shit we found Joe.  Joe is hot.  And actually there was a lot of gross shit but joe was really hot so we kind of didn’t notice.  Maybe he was skinning a mountain goat before our eyes.  We didn’t really know what was going on.  

Tessa was so smitten by him that she forgot that she hates guns.  In fact, she thinks their perfect for each other and they’d be able to, in her words, “work it out as opposites.”

While he rifled through the pages of his taxidermy catalog, showing us false deer and moose eyes he would order and later shove into the skull of some dead animal, our eyes were fixed on his. In fact, our eyes probably looked as googly as the fakes ones in the catalog. 

Each of us stood in his sexy little murder den fantasizing about him being her boyfriend. Like, maybe he’d send me flowers or win me a big stuffed bear at a carnival. Except, I guess, in his fantasy, it would be a bear that he shot, dragged back to his workshop, skinned and stuffed himself. Swoon!

Long story short, our pictures of him are blurry. A girl can’t be expected to focus her lens or her mind with such a foxy fox-murderer around? Did we just take women back 50 years? Somebody shoot me. Joe? 

Name: Joe

Hometown: Dubois, Wy

Profession: Taxidermist.  Being an avid hunter, Joe originally got into taxidermy because he couldn’t afford a taxidermist.  He started as an amateur and then began going to taxidermy shows around the area.  After a series of white ribbon awards he decided he needed to improve.  Joe is now the owner of Windy Mountain Taxidermy in Dubois, and his shop is filled with expertly stuffed animals.  

What’s the craziest thing you’ve stuffed?: “I’ve done a monkey for a zoo.”  Joe has also stuffed pythons for zoos.  

Craziest thing in the shop:  Buffalo penis that he turned into a walking cane.  Probably not the biggest in the room, am I right, Joe?

Fave Color: Green, like a plant green.  The kind of green you hide in when you see a bear.  (Joe has, in fact, faced a bear.  Joe is incredibly nonchalant about this fact).  

Name of your hunting dog: La Dee Da(😍😍🔫🐕🔫😍😍). Must Love Dogs? Check! Must Kill Elk? Check! 

Bison Ranch Dan

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Name: Dan Thiel

Hometown: Cheyenne, Wyoming

Profession: Owner and Operator of Terry Bison Ranch

Mission: “We try to give people a little flavor of the whole west.”   Dan stresses wholesome family fun and entertainment.  He and his family, who all work together at the ranch, have set up a train tour, horseback riding excursions, and ATV’s all as different ways to get people excited about exploring what the West has to offer.  

About the Bison: There are 2500 bison at the ranch, roaming across 27.500 acres.  Dan loves getting to take people out to get up close and personal with the animal that played such an important role in the history of the region.  

What colors remind you of Wyoming: “Really you have your two colors.  Summer green and winter dormant brown.”  Dan is originally from North Dakota, and says that when he same out to Wyoming at 15, he noticed how green everything was.  “Every state has its magical parts,” he says.  “We like to think we’re a part of the magic here in Wyoming.”  

Favorite color: Red, particularly the color of his red pickup truck.  Dan’s father was in construction.  He built big steel electric lines that were used for the Hoover Dam.  The company color was red.  “All the trucks were red.  Uniformity was important for the corporate theme.”  Today at Terry Bison Ranch all the machinery is painted Red, White, and Blue. 

Snow Drawings Sonja

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Name: Sonja Hinrichson

Hometown: Oakland, CA (by way of Germany).

Profession: Artist.  Currently in her third residency at Anderson Art Center in Snowmass, Co.  Sonja creates large-scale, completely impermanent and completely beautiful design patterns over huge tracts of untouched snow all over the world, including Colorado, New York and France.  She invites volunteers to help her creates the stunning designs, captures them with aerial photographs, then allows them to be completely overturned by nature. 

 Briancon, France

Briancon, France

How She Got Started With Her Snow Drawings: During her first residency at Anderson Art Center in the appropriately named Snowmass, she borrowed a pair of snow shoes and went walking around.  She started noticing patterns she created against the snow like on a blank canvas so she started goofing around making patterns with the shoe prints.  

Soon she began taking photographs of the patterns, and began noticing different light patterns such as shadows within the imprints, or the sun beaming straight in.  She then began playing with angles, light, and shadow through photography.  

Her inspiration came from the huge, untouched, pristine snow spaces found in Colorado.

 Eychauda, France

Eychauda, France

How did you start taking photographs of these large-scale works in the snow? 

During a residency in Steamboat Springs, Co, a local pilot offered to fly her up to photograph her snow patterns.  So began the aerial photography and the help of volunteers. 

What unforeseen problems did you come across as you began to create more of these snow prints? The first few times were definitely a learning process.  “Sometimes I would do a whole piece and then realize that there was no place to photograph it,”  joked Sonja. Issues like this are the nature of her work. For example, there is always a chance that a project won’t work out because of weather, which happened in Finland.

 Ooms Pond, New York

Ooms Pond, New York

On The Help From Community Members, Volunteers and Strangers: Being as large scale as they are, her works began to take on the nature of a community project.  She began having volunteers help her create the large scale patterns.  She started by having about 8 or 9 volunteers, but now has up to 70 people helping over the span of a project, often 30 to 50 people a day for a 2 or 3 day weekend.  

“Starting from the weather to the people, I don’t know who my participants are, so its truly a community project.”

 Snowmass, Colorado

Snowmass, Colorado

She has works that allow her volunteers to roam through the snow freely, but she also organizes volunteers to work in patterns.  “It’s almost like a performance- knowing what steps to take, never crossing each other.  If you sped it up it would look like an organized performance.”  

She says that it’s about an environmental experience for the participants.  “It’s a long process, and you really tune into that one space.”

She says emphatically that her works is “really about the participants, in the moment.”

 Snowmass, Colorado

Snowmass, Colorado

How do you feel about the inherent nature of impermanence in your work?

“I am immaterial in my life too, not a big collector of stuff.  I don’t think we need to add more stuff to the earth.”  

She says that European magazines that have done write ups on her always nearing up Land Art.  “They do not understand Land Art.  This is not Land Art.  I do not want to add any material.  In my work nature takes it back completely.  The only documentation is photos and the peoples’ experience.”   

She says the her snow designs are a “combination of appreciating art work and the nature that it is in.”

 Hayden, Colorado

Hayden, Colorado

The Role Color Plays In Her Work:

She says that the pure whiteness of the landscapes she works in is an important element in her projects.  The white makes it possible to play with shadows and light.  Imprints either reflect the sunlight or cast a shadow.  She reiterates that she didn’t really think about it at first, and that it all sort of just started out of play.  With the scale and organization that she now works in, “it’s like painting with natural light.”  

She also mentions that much like so many other uncontrollable factors, colors often come into the pictures by accident.  It could be a lone standing tress, a person still walking their way through the pattern, a ski lift, or a park sign.    

While working on a commission in France, they took a shot of the snow pattern that had a bright orange restriction sign in it.  The arts commissioner hated it, and wanted the sign to be edited out. 

“For me, those little splotches of color are interesting.”  She explains that these “mistakes” can help express relation to scale.  She enjoys photos that are completely abstract without those kinds of modifiers, but those little spots of color have the ability to show human smallness.  “That’s where real color comes in- it’s fragile and small but important.”  

 Catamount Lake, Colorado. The appearance of color is totally dependent on the time of day. This is when the sun beams directly into the grooves, creating a "white ink" effect.

Catamount Lake, Colorado. The appearance of color is totally dependent on the time of day. This is when the sun beams directly into the grooves, creating a "white ink" effect.

 Catamount Lake, Colorado. This is when the sun hits the drawings at an angle and casts a shadow into the grooves, creating a black mark effect. Playing with light, time of day and angles of the sun is how Sonja interacts with color in these works.

Catamount Lake, Colorado. This is when the sun hits the drawings at an angle and casts a shadow into the grooves, creating a black mark effect. Playing with light, time of day and angles of the sun is how Sonja interacts with color in these works.

What is your favorite color?  Green.  She is a nature fan, and an environmentalist.  “I barely have any green clothes,” she laughs.  “This is my first time here in summer and my green receptors are over stimulated.”

What color reminds you of Oakland?:  Blue, because of the blue sky there. 

All pictures of Sonja's snow drawings were collected from her website. Do yourself a favor and check it out at 

Garden of the Gods Cy

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Name: Cy

Also present: Harley, his Shih-Tzu

Not Present: His Harley. Baby's in the shop. 

Hometown: Colorado Springs

Favorite Color: Blue. However, he says he feels obligated to say that he likes black.  When we asked him the reason for his allegiance to the color black he said, “have you ever seen a biker wear anything but black?”  

What colors remind you of Colorado?:  Green. Colorado is full of vegetation and nature. Cy says he can see Garden of the Gods from his window so it’s kind of always his backdrop anyway. 

Uncle Carl

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Name: Carl (or Uncle Carl, if you’re a Coyne girl)

Hometown: San Juan Pueblo.  Carl is actually Danish, but moved to New Mexico to buy land a raise a family.  His land is a small, community oriented Native American Pueblo in between Santa Fe and Taos, right along the Rio Grand.  Carl is friendly with all of his neighbors, and unfriendly with all two billion mosquitos that live along the river.  

About His Home: He Built it himself. We were fortunate enough to get a chance to stay in the home that he built himself. It's  been featured in several architectural and interior design magazines because it's nothing short of perfect.  It also uses adobe, natural lighting, and solar panels to create an energy efficient dream home.  In recent years he’s added the plumbing, though the outhouse in back is still functional for the adventurous. 

His place is exactly what you would expect from a Nordic hippie.  It’s colorful and beautiful, made with many natural and recycled elements, yet structurally impeccable and precise down to every detail.  If your’e going to build a hippie dream home in rural New Mexico, you have to build it right.  

Most important feature of his home: The enormous dragon spine that provides the structural backbone for the entire house.  Yep, duh, there is literally a giant wooden dragon sculpture running across the ceiling with the majestic head jutting out the door outside.  Before even exchanging hello's and how-are-you's, Carl will make sure you've seen the dragon. He even calls his home "the Dragon House." 

The second most important feature of the house:  Carl’s “Everybody Loves A Dane” coffee mug.  

 And he's a snappy dresser, too? Sorry, ladies, Carl is not single. 

And he's a snappy dresser, too? Sorry, ladies, Carl is not single. 

Favorite color: Burnt orange.  He pointed to several of his Pendleton blankets as an example (omg we get it, Carl, you’re chic and you live in the Southwest). He also pointed to the mountain range out his window (oh yah, Carl is also slumming it with a super-gorgeous view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains).

He said in the autumn, the sun sets behind the mountains and turns them to a fiery red-orange. That’s even how they got their name (Spanish for Blood of Christ). In fact, the way the sun illuminates mountains leads to a lot of mountain range’s names in this region, including Albuquerque’s Sandias, which means watermelon. 

 Probably thinking about dragons. 

Probably thinking about dragons. 

Weasel & Fitz Crico

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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.” 

Tinkertown Lynn

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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 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.

Native Plants Juan Carlos

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Hometown: Lives in Albuquerque, NM.  Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico

Profession: Works at Helen’s Native Plants on 4th St. in Albuquerque, a nursery specializing in desert plants native to the area.  Also, they have chickens and roosters.  There may be a duck (stay tuned). 

Favorite color: Blue.  

Why is blue Juan Carlos’ favorite color?  “I’m a guy,” he says (this is an answer we get a lot). He thinks it’s proof that God is a guy too.  “If God was a woman, the sky would be pink.”

Favorite Shade of Blue: Blue Jeans Blue.  Classic.  

Rooster Situation: Juan Carlos has a rooster that is so brawny and bad (I’m sure his favorite color is blue too) that it killed another one of the roosters that roam around Helen’s Native plants.  However, Juan Carlos’ prize winning rooster one met a duck, and having no idea how to fight a duck was forced to forfeit.  The duck’s favorite color is pink.  

Ornithologist Richard Prum

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If you've been following our trip, you'll know that a while back we visited an ostrich farm in Solvang, California. Because we're a blog focusing on color, we wondered what colors an ostrich could see and what an ostrich's favorite color could be. 

Well, when we reached out to a couple of bird experts, let's just say we were really cock-blocked by the ornithology community (a cock is a bird so you can't come down on me for swearing, mom). No one responded. Damn you, bird scientists! Just because you study animals that can fly doesn't mean you get to look down on the rest of us! 

Well, our luck has finally changed. Yale's own Dr. Richard Prum graciously (and quite punctually, I must say) responded to our questions. Lesson learned: next time you have a question, ask the guy from Yale. His responses are below. 

Can ostriches see color: 

"Yes, ostrich and all other birds see in color, and they see much BETTER than we do. Birds see in the UV, which is not just beyond blue. This means they see a whole new dimension of colors we cannot imagine like UV-yellow and UV-green. And they have these in their plumages too."

Why do birds see so much better than us? 

"Mammals spent >100 million years crawling around in the dark trying to keep from being eaten by dinosaurs. During that time, our ancestors lost the great, complex color visual system that had evolved in fishes. Then Old World monkeys reevolved a sort of retrofit version of color vision, which we have. So, our color vision is basically a secondary hardware patch instead of a well designed system.

Tough for us, but great for birds!"

What is your favorite color: 

Oh easy! Blue! Blue in bird feathers and skin is a structural color. That is, it is not made by pigments (basically dyes) like most other colors. It is made by optical scattering of light from nanostructures in the feathers. The size of the structure determines the wavelength. We have spent a lot of work studying the physics, the development, and the evolution of blue colors in birds.”

So we'd like to extend a major thank you to Dr. Richard O. Prum for answering our questions so thoughtfully and proving that people who study birds are people too. And colorful people at that!

Bohemian Vagabond Christopher

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When it comes to our interviews, some of them are organized ahead of time, and some of them just happen when an opportunity presents itself.  As part of our adventure through Truth or Consequences, we prearranged an interview with a Wiccan priest named Christopher after seeing his advertisement in a local arts quarterly. 

We called back and forth about schedules. He was pretty insistent that he had to make himself a sandwich but we could head over in about an hour (maybe an hour and fifteen minutes — he couldn’t be sure).  We exchanged phone numbers, we had a meeting place, and everything seemed to be all planned.  Yet when he answered his door in pantyhose, we quickly realized that this would be our least formulaic interview so far.  

He invited us into his cozy apartment where he lives with his two beloved cats.  We sat down at a table laid out with tarot cards, a crystal ball, and candles and began to ask him questions.

Profession: Ordained Wiccan Clergy specializing in weddings, funerals, and home blessing.  

Favorite Color: Purple.  Purple has always been his favorite color.  It resonates with him because it is the color of “respect, regality, respectability."

How Colors Play Into His Profession: Christopher went into precise detail of the meanings of different colors in Wiccan culture.  


    Green is the color of growth.

    Red is the color of passion and victory.

    Pink is the color of love. 

    Orange is the color of sexuality. 

    Yellow is the color of sincerity.  

    Blue is the color of healing and legal issues. 

Christopher takes the meaning of these colors very seriously and has different colored candles to be lit for different occasions, depending on the need.  Perhaps if the Blue Man Group had taken these color meanings as seriously as Christopher does, they wouldn’t be facing legal issues (did you know a Novato man is actually suing the BMG because he got hit in the face with a blue ball? Oh? You’re not as up to date with the Blue Man Group as we are?  How about you light a green candle and grow the fuck up). 

Hometown: Christopher is a proud resident of T or C, and proudly told us that he will die here. His enthusiasm for his home was infectious.  He insisted on showing us all of the amenities in his apartment.  He gushed about his kitchen faucet and had us feel for ourselves the hot mineral water that flowed without delay.  Cost for that glistening kitchen stream?  Included.  Cable?  Included.  Electricity?  Included! All the amenities one could need! Get them right here in T or C!  

The mineral water that runs through the town has a visible affect on his appearance.  He demanded that we touch his hair.  Seriously, less than an hour after meeting us, he asked us to run our hands through his soft blonde locks.  And we did.  And we don’t regret it. And then felt his hands.  Equally as soft. 

About New Mexico: He described to us the orbs of light we would potentially see in the New Mexican desert and farther on into Texas. These orbs are one of many reasons Christopher feels a deep mystical connection to New Mexico and it provides so much “aaaaadventure.” (He had a very distinct way of saying the word adventure. It was very “Mufasa-in-the-clouds”).  

Feelings on Florida:  Don’t go.  If you do go, watch your shit and double-check your credit card statements. There’s a lot of fraud and identity theft there. He worked there for years, hated the vibe, but made a total killing. The fortune-telling business is good in Florida. 

The difference between a $500 and $5000 crystal ball? “Easy,” says Christopher. “A $500 crystal ball is made up from shards of crystal that has fallen from the chandelier and been swept up and formed together.  A $5000 crystal ball is one pure piece of crystal expertly carved into a perfect sphere.”  And you guys can bet your sorry asses that Christopher had a 5,000 dollar crystal ball. He doesn’t light a purple candle for nothing. Seriously, show some respect. 

 This is Christopher’s cat Big Daddy. He found him in the desert and the two have been inseparable since. One time, while they were traveling around in Christopher’s RV, Big Daddy jumped into another truck and started checking out the pedals. The truck-owner, who happened to be a fellow fortune teller, said that Big Daddy used to be a trucker in another lifetime. Christopher says this explains how content Big Daddy is in a car. They’ve traveled the country together.

This is Christopher’s cat Big Daddy. He found him in the desert and the two have been inseparable since. One time, while they were traveling around in Christopher’s RV, Big Daddy jumped into another truck and started checking out the pedals. The truck-owner, who happened to be a fellow fortune teller, said that Big Daddy used to be a trucker in another lifetime. Christopher says this explains how content Big Daddy is in a car. They’ve traveled the country together.

In conclusion, Christopher was one of the most gracious people we've met thus far on the trip and it was seriously awesome he invited us into his home. He also predicted that one of us would soon be traveling to China and the other would soon be opening a business. Neither of us really has plans to see China or do... business, but, then again, if Mufasa-In-The-Clouds tells you you're going to China, get your ass to China. 

"辛巴 --- 记得"

(That's "Simba --- Remember!" in Mandarin*). 

*translated poorly 

Hot Springs Chantal

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Name: Chantal

Hometown: Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  Chantal is a native or T or C (which is what the locals call it). 

Occupation: She works at Blackstone Hot Springs Motel.  She and her husband also run a youth skateboarding competition here in town called the Fiesta State Competition.  

What colors remind you of New Mexico / T or C?

She immediately thought of the color of the infamous New Mexico sky.  We talked about how difficult it is to explain how or why the sky here is different.  “It’s bigger,” she says.  “When I go other places I never seem to notice the sky, but every time I come back to New Mexico the first thing I notice is how wide it looks, how it’s just a blanket over the whole world.”  

She also thinks of the green up on Turtleback Mountain.  “When I think of the colors of T or C, I think of the colors the mountain experiences through the motions of the sky”.  

How do you think Truth or Consequences celebrates color?

She explains that there is a natural artistic tendency in the town.  She says that the people here, “create art just through caring about the community and giving to the community. “  So many people here just allow anyone to paint a mural on the side of their building.  

By allowing artists to express themselves, they become a part of the artistic process.  “The spirit of letting people exist is what brings the colorfulness to the town”.  

Favorite color: Pink. Duh.

Hot Dog Scott

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Name: Scott

Hometown: Benson, Arizona. 

Occupation: Owner of Wild Dogs Hot Dog Stand / Arizona hot dog enthusiast. 

Scott's Story: Used to be a So-Cal hot-shot. He lived on Mulholland Drive next to Sharon frickin' Stone. SHARON FRICKIN' STONE, GUYS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I'm talking the chick from Catwoman (featuring Halle Barry). MEOW! Anyway, Scott then moved to a fine country home (MEOW!) in Auburn, California. Finally, in his words, he "left it all and finally got the chance to open his hot dog stand in Benson, Arizona" just like he always dreamed. 

Favorite Color: It used to be blue until he opened the hot dog stand. Now, it's red and white, the representative colors of Wild Dogs. Meow! 

Crystal Vortex Allyn

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Name: Allyn

Occupation: Works at the Sedona Crystal Vortex, a metaphysical store in Sedona, Arizona. The shop specializes in rocks, minerals, aura photography, psychic readings, lifestyle and more rocks and minerals. 

Favorite Color: Pretty much all cool colors: greens, blues and purples. Today she was wearing green because she wanted to correlate with her heart chakra (which is represented by green). 

Philosophy On Color: Everyday she makes the active choice about what color(s) she wears / puts on her body according to what chakra(s) she would like to activate. She says people make these daily decisions unconsciously, pointing out that we were both wearing blue and that that meant we wished to express ourselves (conjuring the throat chakra). She also pointed out a man driving a bright yellow Jag down the streets of Sedona, saying he wished to conjure his Solar Plexus / third chakra. This meant he was trying to rev his self-esteem. (If you think about it, this makes sense. He probably had no self-esteem. Please refer to our future blog post about mid-life crises. If we still haven't written it, please refer to our future blog post about procrastination). 

On Canines and Color-Crystals: Allyn has two dogs who also benefit from aligning their chakras with crystals and colors. Her long-hair chihuahua uses crystals for his soft skull. She says she can see the benefits already and her veterinarian gives her two thumbs up. Her older dog suffered from low self-esteem when the chihuahua moved in. The chihuahua apparently was the hot new piece around town (probably seen cruising Sedona in a yellow Jag). Crystals quickly boosted the old dog's self-esteem. There's always room for two in a yellow Jag.