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Santa Fe’s Traditional Spanish Market features more than 250 artists

Over 250 Spanish Colonial artists will show at the 66th annual Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe on July 29-30.

South Valley resident Vicente Telles juried into the Traditional Spanish Market for the first time. He is pictured with some of his art.

The work on display is a critical mass of woodcarving, tinwork, colcha, hide painting, retablos, straw appliqué, furniture and furnishings, weaving, jewelry, filigree, pottery and ironwork.

One of the artists will be Vicente Telles, who juried into the traditional market for the first time.

Telles was born and raised in the South Valley and found a deep love for making retablos.

In 2007, he decided to pursue a full-time career as an artist.

“Just not being able to do it was more anxiety,” he says of taking the leap to a full-time artist. “I would say what drives me is having the need to make art. It fuels me.”

During the past couple of months, Telles has spent his time researching saints and painting.

He’s finished about 25 pieces for the Spanish Market.

“I get my subject matter from the old santos and those from Mexico and from Latin America,” he says. “These are saints that we haven’t seen and a lot of research goes into each idea. I’m looking at getting a story told through my art.”

Like many other artists, Telles also builds the frames from scratch.

“Sometimes the frame will dictate what it brings out in the subject,” he says. “Each piece is cohesive in the entire presentation.”

Throughout his career, Telles has picked up tips from other artists along the way. This is in addition to the trial and error of working with natural pieces.

“The pieces are susceptible to the natural elements,” he says. “There are a lot of factors that determine if the piece comes out good or not. Sometimes the panel cracks. The fact that conditions can change and mess up your gesso or the paint may not lay down the right way. It’s always a gamble in getting it right.”

Telles has participated in the Contemporary Spanish Market in previous years.

This year, he is looking forward to having his family and friends see his work in a more traditional element.

“I’ve been keeping the fuel going into my art,” he says. “I have one more major piece to complete, and then I can worry about other stuff. It’s exciting to see it all coming together.”