To the Editor:
I was confused to open the February 3 – 9 Tempo magazine [Taos News] to see a headline “Questa ‘Milagro Beanfield’s Wars’ Mural.” The full-page article featured a photo of a pastoral gardening mural dwarfed by a grotesquely giant Hollywood-type sign beneath the mural spelling out “MILAGRO.”
The article, by and about the mural artist, David Vedoe, explained that “The mural pays homage to Taos resident artist John Nichols’ book and film, ‘The Milagro Beanfield War.’ ” And the mural’s purpose is “to become a visual part of the ongoing economic development of Questa.”
Put simply, nobody asked me for permission to use my name or work to pay homage to the mural, or to the “ongoing economic development of Questa,” or to construct the enormous and insulting MILAGRO sign beneath the mural. It’s insulting to the people of Questa, and to all the population of northern New Mexico. Also to myself, who would never allow so blatant an exhibition of my name and work to daily bombard the good citizens of Questa, or the inhabitants of any other village on earth.
I wish a fact checker at the Taos News had contacted me before it published the article, to see if I knew about the requested project, supported the attachment of my name to the work, or agreed with the garish MILAGRO sign underneath the mural. My answer would have been a very emphatic “NO!”
Everything connecting me or my work to that mural is an invasion of my privacy and my work, and also an attack on the privacy of Questa citizens whose community, beauty, and rich history deserve to be represented a lot more widely than by the story of a single novel written by John Nichols.
If that MILAGRO sign goes up I will seek legally to remove it. Otherwise, my hope would be that the people of Questa, and their visitors, will simply allow that lovely mural, by itself, to speak on behalf of their wonderful town and its enduring legacy.
Kudos to the graphic designer on your local paper. She/he is doing classic and readable layout design. A delight. In terms of graphic design, your designer is doing a much better job than the Sunday NYT magazine, which appears to be the output of a first-year design student without any theory or education about graphic design, not to mention typography, but only in possession of a laptop. Appalling.
(retired graphic designer)
Thank you, fellow graphics person. Along with some schooling, I actually grew up sleeping on the floor of the newsrooms, helping my parents get their small town newspaper published every week back in the day of darkrooms and paste-up, so I appreciate that! Now, this paper is as much of a labor of love to say the least. By the way, poorly executed graphics just hurts my soul too, I hear you. 🙂 Thanks again and best wishes!
Questa Del Rio News
I have been in Questa for six years now and have never seen any ballot proposals for low-income housing or proposals for a regular community center that is open five days a week for everyone—adults, teens, all ages etc… a skate park project is a fantasy during a national pandemic.