The road to Todos Santos

By anne
February 15, 2007 - 21:28.

If you are interested in art, and if you should find yourself in Cabo San Lucas, you will want to visit Todos Santos, about an hour to the north along the only available highway, Interstate 1. Everyone will tell you to drive that road only in daylight. Heed their warnings!

The road to Todos Santos is fraught with danger, from perilous curves to lumbering semis and various ruminants grazing on the shoulders. If there is rain, the arroyos (dry river beds) become rivers washing over the asphalt. If an animal is hit, or something falls from a truck bed, the heavy traffic can be stopped in both directions for miles.

So I came and went during daylight, and was able to enjoy a sunlit five hours in the town of artists, writers, real estate developers and serious surfers. My host was Howard Ekman, formerly of Minneapolis, but a resident of Todos Santos since 1993. He operates the photo gallery on•cé, featuring his work and a partner’s, and he publishes El Calendario, the magazine that lets you know what’s going on in town.

Yesterday I got to visit a few galleries in San José del Cabo, and wouldn’t you know, my favorite piece wasn’t Mexican at all. It was a painting of a hummingbird and lotus flower by Karen Benson of L.A., at Pez Gordo gallery.

So today I was determined to seek out some Mexican contemporary artists—and thanks to a tip from Erik (a yummy Mexican version of Donny Osmond, and recently married) at the Galería de Todos Santos, I found them at La Polilla. The gallery shows the work of three artists: Rafael Sáenz Felix, who is known for his paintings of gallo de pelea, or fighting roosters; and two brothers, José Luis Malo, whose paintings and sculptures capture the energy of everyday objects and circumstances, and Javier Malo, whose work is infused with images of land and legend.

I fell in love with a piece by José Luis Malo called Moving Chair. (And yes, I am taking it home.) It’s about our relationship with the chairs that we sit in…how we usually choose the same chair every time…and how the activities we do there—eating, conversing, doing homework—infuse the chair with energy. As a writer and a business person who spends considerable time in chairs, I can identify with that! Besides which, I like the picture. Someday perhaps I will have one of his bronze sculptures, too.

Yes, the visuals were wonderful all around in Todos Santos. To my delight, I kept running into Juan, an English-speaking hardbody who used to own Los Adobes restaurant and now works in real estate development (check out Alta Vista). Then brown-eyed surfer boy (and, with all due respect, surfing instructor) Aaron showed up at Howard’s gallery. So naturally, I broke out a cooler of beer, salsa and chips that I had brought in the trunk of my car, in case a party opportunity presented itself. Between that and a conversation with Antonio (Tony) at the Hotel California tequila bar over a Don Julio Reposado, it was a fun-filled final day of vacation.


To see all of the pictures from my trip, click here!

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