The Stories Behind the Art – Part Two

Explore. Discover. Connect.

Part Two in our series continues to explore, discover and connect you to …

The Stories Behind the Art

— Red Buffalo Mask —

ROBERT RIVERA shares the story behind Red Buffalo Mask …

“This piece has various elements, all from nature. The mask itself is a gourd that I sandblasted to reveal the patterns under the outer layer. The horns are real buffalo horns, which I believe honors the spirit of these powerful animals. The pendant celebrates the Anasazi method of using pitch to add elements, giving it an older handcrafted look. The thunderbird itself has turquoise, mother of pearl, abalone, and coral. 

I don’t name my pieces, often the title is a simple description. My preference is for people to use their imagination and create their own connection with a piece, giving it a name if they wish, or not.”

Robert’s designs transform the humble gourd into an object of beauty, power, and symbolism. Read how Robert started using gourds as his medium. Enjoy more of his work at or visit us in either Durango or Santa Fe.

— Critical Angle —

BRYCE PETTIT shares the story behind Critical Angle …  

“In this piece, I wanted the eagle to feel dynamic, full of action. The title, Critical Angle, refers to the challenges in creating this piece. After trying out various ideas, I included the salmon. It balances the eagle visually and technically. Finding that perfect angle, the lateral and vertical motion that is happening at that moment, balanced with the salmon, at the same time showing the powerful stroke of his wings … hopefully it gives people a sense of the excitement that is experienced when we get to see a bald eagle in nature.” 

Paring each piece down to the minimum necessary to tell the story, Bryce creates an intensity of movement, heightening the impact of the form. Enjoy more of his work at or visit us in Durango.

— Trail to Maroon Bells —

ROBERTO UGALDE shares the story behind Trail to Maroon Bells …

“Early this past October, I arrived in Taos, New Mexico, after driving all day from Texas. That evening, I noticed some snow on the mountains. A friend told me it was snowing in Aspen, Colorado and that there were still leaves on the trees. So I got up very early the next day and drove to Aspen, hoping to find some amazing views. The following morning I was up early again, and as the sun was coming out, I was crazy, going from one place to another, trying my best to find the best spot to take pictures. While hiking on the side of the mountains, looking through the aspens, I could see the Maroon Bells. It was awesome and I took a few pictures from that amazing view. I hope this piece captures what I saw that day.”  

Aspen trees and the many ways light plays through their leaves and bodies are Roberto’s main subject. Enjoy more of his work at or visit us in either Durango or Santa Fe.