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SOS Artists

Badillac Designs
Badillac Designs

This ain’t your grandma’s art fest. Browse upcycled jewelry and Dia de los Muertos-themed work at a variety of prices. Skulls, zombies and chupacabras will lurk alongside abstract sculptures and paintings. We’re featuring as many artists as we can here, but expect even more at SOS, including Wayne Boyden, Badillac Designs and Fresh Like Us.

Wayne Boyden
Wayne Boyden

Start off summer with SOS Music Fest at Expo New Mexico’s Spanish Village on Saturday, May 14 from noon until 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance. Kids 10 and under get in free.

Check out the lineup, which includes the likes of Ryan McGarvey, Lost Lingo, Nosotros and The Porter Draw.

John DeJesus

You may have seen John DeJesus' creepy-cool Dia de los Muertos sculptures clad in elaborate dresses and on display at Nob Hill's Masks y Mas. The Bronx-born Burque-based artist has been combining techniques of sculpture, comic book art, fashion design and Hispanic influence ever since he moved to New Mexico in the early '80s.

Sometimes he paints, sometimes he sculpts, but those themes always remain constant in his work. DeJesus says his affinity for comic books began as a child, when he split his time between NYC and his family's native Puerto Rico: "[I passed] the time on airplanes by reading comic books and playing with action figures, dreaming that someday I might draw and design my own toys."

That dream became a reality when he moved to the Land of Enchantment and met famed "Spawn" creator Todd McFarlane at a comic-con. That lead to a series of jobs in toy manufacturing companies. And the high-fashion element comes from the matriarchs in his family, who worked as professional seamstresses back in NYC. These days DeJesus spends most of his time producing original artwork, something he is able to do thanks to his years of success in the comic industry.

Olga Sanchez

She’s been getting inventive with what she calls a "sustainable form of jewelry making" for three years now. But Olga Sanchez has been involved with her materials a lot longer than that.

A fixture in Albuquerque's amateur cycling circuit since 1992, Sanchez got fed up with seeing old bike parts go to waste. So she started recycling spokes by refashioning them into bracelets, all coming from one strand of spoke, and ending in elegant clasps.

She uses other forms of metal—silver gleaned from old "x-ray and photo papers"—in mixed-metal sculpture, including large hollow vessels hammered into beautiful interior decorating pieces. Not only is Sanchez' work eco-efficient, it's also cost-efficient, with the hand-crafted bracelets going for an easy $25 a pop.

Steve White

There is something both gleeful and ingeniously inventive about Steve White's kooky world of pop-culture and Americana-themed art.

You might know him as the Pez dude; he often sports a coat he decorated with hundreds of the pill-shaped-sweets-dispensing statuettes. Or maybe you've been to his Folk Farm, replete with a mini-golf course, Grand Ole Opry-inspired paintings and Dia de los Muertos trinkets.

Former Alibi staffer Steven Robert Allen summed up why White's following is so devotedly cultish: "White seems to approach his subjects—country music, popular culture, society at large—with the fiery zeal of a charismatic, drunken backwoods preacher." White's work is also nicely sized and affordable. His augmented Pez figurines, such as a hand-painted Obama or Dolly Parton, make great gifts and conversation starters—not to mention, they’re fully functional.

Nick Harmon

Nick Harmon is not your typical street fair artist. His wide array of mediums includes snowboards, tables, doors and other items more typically linked to domesticity than artistic expression. His company, Fresco Harmony, works to make homes into colorful works of art. He also uses his canvases and other mediums in a way that "profoundly explores the range and drama of color." Harmon’s vibrancy will greet summer perfectly.

Jack Larson

Bloody zombies in tuxedos at a wedding of the damned, a ghoul who looks kind of like Pinhead from Hellraiser, Roswell aliens and dead-eyed pooches—these are just some of the ingredients that make up Jack Larson's disarmingly crude paintings. And the result is a maniacally eerie world that meets somewhere between the minds of George Romero and Edvard Munch.

The artist sums up his work with one brief Romero quote: "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth ... ." A theme to notice: Larson's undead are all coming to get us—their arms outstretched, attempting to break free of the canvas and shred human flesh.

Robb Rael

Magic Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, the grim reaper, a dreamy night sky over the Sandias—they don't usually all come up together. But somehow, they blend nicely in Robb Rael's portfolio of wavy, vibrant psychedelia artwork.

He sees his work as story-driven, intermingling tales of "great heroes, vengeful gods and strange fantastical creatures." Adding to the trippy mysticism is a vibrant and well-balanced palate that comes alive in highly saturated color fields.

Rael has been showing his work in Santa Fe and Albuquerque galleries for nearly a decade. Depending on who is playing when you check out Rael's work, you might just forget your whereabouts—mistaking the Spanish Village for a Grateful Dead show.

Raymond Sandoval

He’s been creating bronze sculpture works for decades. Raymond Sandoval’s most famous is probably the giant "Tamanend" piece in Philly. You've also probably seen his prize-winning floats on display at Albuquerque Pride or the State Fair.

He says his sculptures are the result of allowing nothingness and irrationality to guide him, as he works, to a place where he can make an intuitive, artistic leap of faith. Then he turns it over to us. "What I find is that in some indirect way, I've dredged up a piece of myself and put it on public view."

Recently, Sandoval has been using recycled paper to create Dia de los Muertos-inspired works.