The Vida Loca Gallery is the brainstorm of long-time photography dealer Andrew Smith and his daughter Holly Smith. Both were raised in Santa Fe, attended its public schools and grew up embracing the notion that New Mexico’s homegrown arts merit regional, national and international attention.
Vida Loca Gallery welcomes a younger generation of emerging local artists into the mix with an older generation of renowned artists who have achieved distinction for their folk art, photography, car culture art, airbrush painting, and other forms of expression.
A main gallery emphasis is on Low Rider and Car Culture art, a 75 year old tradition in our region. Car clubs in New Mexico, like the artist societies in Taos and Santa Fe of the 20th century, have long nurtured the creation and exhibition of spectacularly decked out or restored automobiles. It’s a tradition that has been passed down between family members and friends since World War II. Part of the fun includes taking to the streets on Friday and Saturday night in “Night Cruise Lines” intended to show off new, modified and traditional car creations to fans and the public: a sort of grass roots parallel to Friday and Saturday night gallery and museum openings.
As leaders and innovators of Car Culture art, New Mexico’s artists from Espanola, Chimayo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Farmington, Las Cruces and beyond, have come up with original embellishment styles such as flecking, striping, and mural painting. The gallery offers a vibrant sampling of automobile mural painting, long an integral part of Northern New Mexico’s vernacular and folk art traditions.