The start of this project can be traced back to when I gave a presentation about murals at the Taos Ski Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, back in 2019. Mark White, from Questa, asked if I could do a mural in Questa. He explained about the beautification initiative and the plans for Questa to integrate murals on buildings throughout the village. [Editor’s note: Discussions on beautification through QEDF director Lynn Skall were perhaps the inspiration that caused Mark as an individual to set up this commission with David and Andy. This mural is not a part of the project, which would have required larger community input.]
The mural wall at Andy Martinez’s Roadrunner Welding shop is a bit unusual as a wall for murals: It is a large wind shelter wall for the outdoor shop, made out of steel. The two large, curved segments, to the left, are old pieces that were once used as a gunny sack slide, up in the Red River Brandenburg Park, I was told. The two next panels are very heavy old sliding steel doors, and the last panel is part of a toolbox for the shop.
I did some sketches that would fit the unusual shape of the wall and be simple enough to be clearly visible all the way from the highway below the shop. I chose bold vivid colors as we have here for the New Mexico sunsets, red for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and green bean plants in various stages of growth fitting the variations in the panel sizes. Mark wanted to feature water: Agua es Vida = Water is Life, to be part of the image, so we added irrigation water between the rows of dirt the beans grow in.
The cross was already there when we began the mural painting process, which is dependent on nice sunny winter weather. The large dark primed metal panels get extremely hot during the summer, like an oven; the paint must be applied when the temperature is at least 40 F., so the timing in the warm, sunny, not too cold, not too hot, part of January was pretty perfect.
It is always interesting to work directly with clients, in this case two different people—Andy Martinez, the shop owner, and Mark White. Mark commissioned me to create the mural, to transform an environment, to create site-specific artworks and to make sure everybody is happy and satisfied with the end product that will be visible and hopefully a beloved landmark over the Village of Questa for many years to come. They both told me they were very happy with the result.
The mural measures about 14 x 45 feet and is situated high up on the top of the hill west of Questa on Highway 522 at Andy Martinez’s Roadrunner Welding Shop (575) 779-4239. Mural artist David Vedoe can be reached at (575) 779-3789; facebook.com/vedoe.