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28 June 2012

NM Snaps: Bradford Erickson

Samantha Anne Carrillo

The second installment of TiL's Nuevo Mexicano photography series, NM Snaps, features the work of student and artist Bradford Erickson. Erickson is currently studying Art Education at both CNM and UNM. Read Erickson's statement to TiL about his art below.

"I am fascinated by the act of making marks, be it paint on canvas, charcoal on paper, a line etched in copper, or a figure pecked into patinated volcanic rock. Like countless others, I respond to an inner, primal urge to assert my presence and, in leaving my mark, rationalize my existence in an turbulent and confusing world. I am not interested in capturing the real, but rather share my interpretation of the world I inhabit. My work, whether it is sculptural or two-dimensional, reflects the joy, guilt, and fear I experience, and it is through the process of constructing these works that I find release.

Much like the way children develop unique personalities, independent of their parent's guidance, I let my artwork grow and develop in response to circumstance; while I try to exert control over the
processes I work in, I account for 'artistic anomalies' and allow organic forces to exert their influence on my work. In this way, I allow the work to develop its own energy, instead of trying to force myself into it and, by doing so, allow my work to stand on its own.

I like to drink coffee on most days, and beers on most evenings, and love drawing in charcoal. I was born in Shawnee, Kansas, conceived on the grass lawn at a Styx concert in late September 1982. Recently, I've found inspiration in the works of Edward Hopper, H. Joe Waldrum, and Edouard Manet, and have been occupied with the process of synthesizing these artists influence into a series of digital 'paintings' which are currently on display at Blackbird Buvette."

Scroll on to enjoy more of Erickson's photography. Visit the Baadford Photography Facebook page to view even more of his work.

27 June 2012

Ex Cathedra

Rudolfo Carrillo

By Rudolfo Carrillo


Here is some mierda I come up with after I took the garbage to the curb and then set my arse down on an old chair I found abandoned on Ridgecrest Boulevard about a year ago.

That perch makes for a damn good sit because it is covered with the same sort of luxurious burgundy cloth and brass tacks that might have been popular among the upper classes back when the liquor establishments in these parts were dark and smoky, their clients innocent of things like men on the moon, the redemption of Elvis, and the the ascendancy of King Nixon.

Just so you know, I took up a book whilst in the aforementioned repose, and with considerable joy and foreboding read from the part of Huckleberry Finn where the hero of the story tells all about death. That would be chapters seventeen and eighteen, if you wanna know more.

The action in those chapters are all mixed up together, just like this post, and sorta like the fried animal flesh, smashed up beans, and sliced American cheese food product that I made for my supper last night. Some of it makes you laugh, and then you cry; but when you've just about had your fill of either tears or burritos, freedom beckons. For Finn, it was the river; for me it will probably be a good nap on the rico throne that I took home.


Anywho, it's been about a month since my old dog died. I ain't seen much of her in the dream world, except in bare glimpses, like the time I was carrying her around in a golden cage through the streets of Mexico City. My father appeared, covered in black ink and blue bird feathers. He was serving up elote on a street cart and wanted to tell me that the cage was empty, except when I looked at it. Course he disappeared in puff of smoke, but the dog smiled at me and licked her chops as I opened the door to her mew. Then I heard some nightjars chirping and awoke just past four in the morning with the swamp cooler just tumbling and tumbling cold air into the world.

Since every other body in mi chante was asleep, I tilted myself away from the abyss and touched a little round button that sets among its own brand of royal accouterments. An instant later, light filled up the whole room: a symbol of a common fruit with a bite taken out of it flickered and hovered in the center of all that action. For a moment lost in time, I thought order had been restored.


I was wrong about that too, because no sooner did I start clicking and typing than I found out some folks I knew back in high school were planning to meet up after thirty years removed from the city of gold. They must've  had an inkling that I might want to join them, so they sent me an order form, which told of near future reunion events that would be the ginchiest of all time, clearly worth the exchange of feria spelled out in Comic Sans on a pdf that also featured a multi-color gradient background and promises of golf and resort locations - with a picnic and campus tour thrown in for good measure.

I reckoned there and then I would not go. That was not out of spite, neglect, nor a failure of my nostalgia programming circuitry, but mostly because I didn't need to go, what with Facebook and all, sabes?

Besides, the whole damn thing just seemed a little too high falooting and I just knew I'd feel out of place in my dusty-shoe teacher costume among the bomb-makers, real estate developers, and high-heeled government wives. 

Very few of the freaks or theater or band people I knew in that misty world went to the previous iteration, convocation, invocation, or whatever the hell you wanna call it; the twentieth reunion sucked. If you wanna know how bad it sucked, here's some good clues: it was held at a downtown meatmarket; all the jocks and preps were drunk as fuck and rocking Thirty-Eight Special and Duran Duran. Ten years on, at least they've advanced to the country club level of things, though the swing from one extreme to the other is concerning, I gotta tell you.


It was pouring with rain that night of our twentieth reunion and my brother and I got eighty-sixed for complaining about the atmosphere, the shitty snacks, the watered down drinks. We stood outside in the falling summer water and I gave the bird to the captain of the football team. We wandered back to my place, and spent the rest of the evening watching old science fiction movies on the teevee and cursing the past during commercial breaks, which were mostly about the glory of the future, and so on and so forth.

Now it's dry as summer on Mars, out here, and ten years later, too. I feel like I've come around in a windy circle. Back yonder, the old man was in the hospital, fixing to die while the monsoon was swirling through town. Some folks were embracing the past drunkenly, my brother eventually went home to Ohio, and I was working my way to a place near the corner of San Mateo and Central for a meet up with a dog I thought was dead. She wasn't dead back then. She lived ten more years and became the center of my life, became the leader of the TiL pack. When she left all of that behind, she was at home and lying peacefully next to me on her special and luxurious futon, in case you want to know.

At first all of that hurt like hell: Rosie dying, my old man long gone, my twin brother living a continent away. But things sorta lightened up when I realized I never had to go back to high school, never had to see the creepy assholes, bullies, and temporarily beautiful people that had the run of the place. I had already decided, via the magic of twenty-first century computing technology, whom I  would still hang out with, virtually or otherwise.

Plus which, I have a damn fine chair to sit in and dream upon; a place to envision the future, and read about Finn's adventure. All of these things are portals to other worlds that I have either been in or at least dreamt about whilst longing for the next thirty years to pass swiftly, roaringly alive, like a river making its way to the sea.

21 June 2012

NM Snaps: Elaine A. Russell

Samantha Anne Carrillo

Things in Light loves the sights and sounds of New Mexico. Our plentiful podcasts are an attempt to share our favorite sounds with y'all, but we recently realized that the sights of this beautiful, difficult land are underrepresented on the site. Inspired by the wealth of talented photographers in the land of enchantment, TiL presents the first in a new series showcasing the work of masterful Nuevo Mexicano shutterbugs, past and present. The above photo — of the volcanic West side landscape was captured by local photographer Elaine A. Russell. Scroll on to read Russell's bio and enjoy a couple more of her terrific photos.

"Elaine A. Russell is a New Mexico photographer and artist. Since 2008, she has been writing a daily blog that showcases her unique vision of the world, as seen through her camera lens. She graduated from the New York Institute of Photography in 1990, and although she was a nurse for over 17 years has been focusing on her second career, art, since retiring in 2003. Her work has been published in magazines, calendars, and books. She was one of the original founders of The Wooden Cow Gallery in Albuquerque and has since moved to an online sales model. See more of her work at her blogsite, moonGipsies, and her Etsy store, moonGipsies Etsy."

The below smoky bosque sunset was captured by Russell in late-May. The contrast of the beauty of the bosque with oppressive wildfire smoke culminates in the emergence of the violet-pink blaze of the star we orbit, the sun. This photo seems particularly poignant given the Romero wildfire, which ignited during yesterday's summer solstice and has spread over 288 acres in the Corrales Bosque north of Albuquerque and on Sandia Pueblo land.

In the below photo, Russell captures remnants of the inner workings of the Albuquerque Rail Yards.

16 June 2012

The Next World is Here

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

If I was standing in front of mi chante, in the midst of the infinitely repeated and truncated nights this season and the next generate as a matter of natural processes - which I ain't - then I'd more than likely hurl this sorta conversational discourse into air with my tongue, just so I could watch it sparkle and move around in a million directions.

Maybe those vocalized thoughts would climb through the hot, dry wind that has come to distinguish this place, carrying the lot into space, chariot-like and roaring.  There'd be vowels bouncing off satellites and hooking up with this or that noun just for the sake of meaning and the promotion of order against the backdrop of a yawning void that goes on and on forever.

It could turn out that a sentient liquid on venus or a robot investigating the dust clouds of the andromeda galaxy would receive my howling transmission someday, come to believe they have a decent, if abstract, grasp on what the hell was going on amongst the momentarily beautiful bundles of flesh, electricity, and smoke-like souls that crawl and walk and wander through Burque.

I'd look up into the sky and pick out a familiar star or constellation; I'd speak to the dead like they were alive and happily dangling their wings angel-like off of the edges of a billion earth-covering clouds.

This is what I did between the horns of the day, but just some of it, I'd tell all those entities briefly described in the previous paragraphs of this transcription.

It still hasn't rained and even the weeds are getting brown, so I gave up on pulling them out of the garden. I figured they'd appreciate the gesture; maybe the monsoon would get here in time and they'd get to flower one more time.

After contemplating the implications of that command decision, I drove down to the student ghetto for chinese takeaway. They have a great lunch special at Kai's. I waited in the dining room and eavesdropped on two young blonde women. One of them had a tattoo of fancy letters on her right foot. The other had a pair of big white plastic sunglasses perched on her head, sorta like an ersatz alabaster temple to blindness setting upon an impossible flaxen sea.

They talked about infections caused by jacuzzi water and how they were both anxious yet intrigued about going to a cocaine and booze party. They seemed mostly flummoxed and laughed nervously. The one with the painted foot said you'll like the buzz but the other figured those sorts of activities encouraged infidelity and unexpected trips to the student health center. The hostess brought out the takeaway and I hobbled out of there just as the conversation turned to the subject of body hair.

When I got back to the car I noticed plenty of parking on Harvard Street. The asphalt lined corridor there, between Central and Silver was quiet except for a coffee house down the street, where all sorts of humans were drinking caffeinated beverages and carrying on like it was already summer. One fellow was juggling, tossing bright red spheres around and around while a dog wearing a blue bandana barked and jumped, turning circles around the man.

A pair of bearded dudes, dressed for Seattle or Portland, in flannel shirts and leather shoes, were playing a game of chess; one of them grabbed at the hound's tail as it spun past. A young couple gamboled out the front door, tossed their sandals into the street spontaneously and, with synchronous smiles flaring sunward, began dancing.

On the way home, I tuned the radio to a baseball game broadcast. The home team was winning.

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