STEVE THOMPSON IN SANTA FE, Part II of II: The Design Guy Reflects on Good Art in Santa Fe

Two more artists, not in this gallery district but both not to be missed: Painter Gigi Mills, and photographer Robert Stivers.

It is said that Gigi Mills is influenced by the work of Milton Avery and on close examination one can indeed see the influence, but that’s where the similarity’s stop: Gigi grew up in the circus, her father owned the Mills Brothers Circus based in Florida, and while other girls read comic books or learned to embroider, she practiced balancing on elephants! I loved her story so much and the idea of her work being influenced by Avery that when she offered to drop a catalog by our hotel I gratefully accepted. She did, and we loved the work so here are a couple of examples below. These pieces are sold but Mills is represented by gf contemporary in Santa Fe.
Gigi Mills, The Pianist’s Birthday, Oil, Paper, Crayon and Graphite on paper
Gigi Mills, Reclining with Still Life, Oil, Paper, Crayon and Graphite on paper
Robert Stivers is an American photographer whose collections are owned by museums (The MET, The Getty, LACMA, etc…), and is a long time favorite of ours (we own three of them). We’ve featured Stivers with a show his work at our Cabana Home store in Santa Barbara, and the work is available to be seen by appointment through the store.
Shown above and below: The same work printed in color, top, and in sepia tones, below
Hotel Find! The old St. Francis Hotel has been newly refurbished in white, crème, tan, beige, and taupe, with raw, antique style, early New Mexican style furniture in natural waxed and patinated finishes. The room was small but handsomely appointed (if I’d been less penurious I could have had bigger. Gorgeous lobby and oversized fireplace. Great bar but neither it or the restaurant were owned by the hotel hence no room service (none!).     

Best Restaurant: Hands down, The Compound reins supreme! We’ve been going to this restaurant since it was reopened a decade and a half ago by Chef Mark Kiffin. we hadn’t been there for ten years and it is still one of my favorite restaurants of all time.  

The restaurant is still headed by Kiffin, who took the time to come by to say hello and catch up on our kids (ours now an adult and his in high school). Kiffin is a James Beard award winning chef, which the Beard Foundation calls him the best chef in the southwest.
The original interior designed by Alexander Girard (best known for his textile design for the Herman Miller company where he created fabrics for the designs of George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames) is as relevant today as it must have when the restaurant opened in the 1960’s.
Alexander Girard Textiles, reissued by Herman Miller
Interesting new store: Modern General, where Bauhaus meets warehouse. The store is owned by Erin Wade who also owns the Vinaigrette restaurants in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Wades premise is, “things I use everyday”… Okay, so here you’ll find hammers, shovels, dish soap, books, brown rice and milk, as well as freshly brewed coffee. Well okay then. Check it out, its fun!

Worst in Show: Two categories here, Interior Design and Fashion.
The worst designed bathroom I’ve ever seen was at the historic El Farol on Canyon Road. I love the old El Farol, but they should have left the bathroom in its original state over this mess. Let’s test your design mettle: Can you name six design flaws in this photo (there are more than six)?

Fashion, shown below: As seen in a store window on the Santa Fe Plaza. Okay, I know, I know… don’t go to Santa Fe to augment your wardrobe.

Good night moon.

Source: A Design Guy

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