Santa Fe The City Different’s Most Colorful Artists, “El Diferente”

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The abundance and diverse scope of visual arts is one of most compelling reasons to visit Santa Fe. Did you know Santa Fe was ranked the #2 City in the U.S. for Art Vibrancy? For decades, the city’s land, history, and architecture have inspired artists from around the world. Santa Fe has been home to many well-known artists. In the Threads of Santa Fe video below, City of Santa Fe Historian, Ana Pacheco, tells the story of one of Santa Fe’s beloved and colorful artists, Thomas “Tommy” Macaione.

Tommy Macaione and one of his paintings. (Photo courtesy of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives Negative HP.2014.14.879)
Tommy Macaione and one of his paintings. (Photo courtesy of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives Negative HP.2014.14.879)

Thomas Silvestri Macaione was born in New London, Connecticut on November 13, 1907 to Italian immigrant parents. When Macaione was seven years old his parents separated and he moved to Sicily with his mother. In Italy his interest and passion for art blossomed.

In 1922 he returned to New London and over the next twenty years his art education began with art instruction from a Yale graduate named Frank Zozzora. He then studied at the Rhode Island School of Design before going to the Art Student’s League in New York. Macaione moved to Santa Fe in 1952 becoming an integral part of the art community and known for his eccentric personality and love of painting and sketching outdoors. His art and easels became regular fixtures around Santa Fe. Locals affectionately called him “El Diferente” and he was dubbed the “patron saint of the arts” in Santa Fe.

 

Macaione died in 1992, but his work can be found in public and private collections across town, including City Hall, The Shed Restaurant, and the offices of The Santa Fe New Mexican. Most recently, the City of Santa Fe obtained one of Macaione’s largest works to display in their new offices in the Santa Fe Railyard.

Tommy Macaione painting on a bridge over the Santa Fe River. (Photo courtesy of The Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, Negative HP.2014.14.1739)
Tommy Macaione painting on a bridge over the Santa Fe River. (Photo courtesy of The Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, Negative HP.2014.14.1739)

To round out your Santa Fe art adventure, take one or all of our “Top Three Santa Fe Art Walks” and learn more about the art scene in Santa Fe. In addition to admiring art, check out the many art workshops that will allow your inner artist to flourish.

The 2016 Santa Fe Guide is now available and can help you plan your Santa Fe art adventure.

 

 

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