Ennui Gallery: fighting boredom with art

Ennui t-shirts

Originally published in Taos News

There is a new gallery in town, a co-op called Ennui. It features the work of Ren Geertsen, Sarah Hart, Cisco Velarde and Montserrat Oyanedel-Tolmo.

Ennui (pronounced: än-’we) is French for boredom.

“But our creative process is an escape from boredom and all things tedious, and so is our gallery,” said Oyanedel–Tolmo, expressing the collective opinion of the other co-owners. “The art we sell here is very much alive and interesting.”

The group began planning to open a gallery in August 2013. They all had been creating and selling their art through other venues, but wanted to offer them in a space of their own.

“The opportunity to rent this store came up and we thought it was a great chance to try out a group gallery,” said Velarde.

The grand opening was on October 19th.

The inventory

The four co-owners work in very different mediums so the inventory is a pretty eclectic assortment of art.

When you start browsing through the store, you will find a little bit of everything—from photography to jewelry and accessories; from magazine mosaic collages to paintings and hand screen-printed posters. There are also T-shirts and bags, recycled magnets and new and recycled clothing.

“Whether it’s a magnet, a bag, a necklace, or a painting, we’re pretty sure you’re going to leave Ennui with something,” Velarde said.

Their “across-the-board affordable art” sells well, they all agree.

“We offer a variation on the ‘traditional’ Taos gallery, by selling affordable, unique art made by young local artists,” said Hart.

“At Ennui, we believe that art is for everyone, and we want people to feel comfortable browsing around without being frightened away by enormous price tags,” said Geertsen.

“We believe that art collecting should not be just for the rich, and that is reflected in our prices,” Velarde said.

The artists and their work

Ren Geertsen does three-dimensional objects made of recycled materials. She creates jewelry, barrettes and pins out of zippers and pop tabs.

Her magazine collages decorate the gallery’s walls.

“Look at this globe made of bottle caps that she collected over the years,” Velarde says, pointing to a psychedelic sphere that hangs from the ceiling.

Chile native Oyanedel-Tolmo, a chemical engineer who loves to work with her hands, has created her own brand-name, Cha Cha.

“It stands for Contemporary Handmade Art,” she said. She makes earrings, Peter Pan collars, necklaces, and bookmarks.

Though she doesn’t have much free time (she is a Spanish GED instructor at the Literacy Center), she finds at least a few hours every week to devote to her art.

“I like to be creative,” she said. “That’s very much a part of who I am.”

She brings some items from Chile, like very reasonably priced alpaca wool sweaters and neck warmers and mother-of-pearl earrings.

Sara Hart owns and operates a print shop that specializes in custom designed event posters, T-shirts and artwork—Hart Print Shop. She also prints the Ennui Gallery T-shirts and sells recycled clothing she makes from her findings at garage sales and second hand stores.

“Sarah has purchased a number of pictures at garage sales, then she paints them and turns them into authentic works of art,” Velarde said. “We also have here many posters that she has created for different local bands.”

Cisco Velarde studied photography at UNM Taos.

“I do landscape art of New Mexico and some still life,” he said. “I have been shooting for three years now and I really enjoy devoting time to my art.”

Their business goals

All the Ennui members are excited to be a part of the growing El Prado art scene.

They said that they have been hearing a lot about how there are no young artists working in Taos, so they have put four of them in one place “to prove that we’re out here.”

They hope to offer Ennui Gallery as a space for community events like local theater and music performances as well as poetry readings.

The Live Taos monthly meeting will be held there on Wednesday, November 6th at 7 p.m.

For the collective, the most challenging part of owning a business is dealing with the seasonal changes of the Taos economy.

And doing all the paperwork associated with a business, they said.

The most rewarding part is finally having the space to display their work, and the pride they feel when they share it with others.

Asked for advice they would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs, it boiled down to two main issues: to make sure that you have the drive to accomplish your goal and the understanding that it won’t happen overnight.

Ennui Gallery is located at 1018 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, El Prado 87529

Phone: (575)322-4231

It is currently open everyday except Tuesdays, from 11 am to 6 pm

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Ennui Gallery - El Prado, New Mexico

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About dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Taos, New Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish literature and teaches at UNM Taos. She also freelances for Taos News, Profile, Hispanic Executive and other publications. A bilingual author, she has published eight novels, six in Spanish and two in English, two collections of short stories in Spanish and one in English. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010). Her collection of short stories The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond was published by the University of New Orleans Press in 2012. In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012,) Orfeo en el Caribe(Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013) and El retorno de la expatriada (The expat’s return, Egales, Spain, 2014). Her short novel Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event) is currently being published in serialized format by Taos News.
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