Charles Collins is the most-awarded artist in the history of the Taos Fall Arts Festival and is the only sculptor to win the festival's "Best of Show" honor; former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson proclaimed Aug. 6 as Charles Collins Day in New Mexico ad infinitum; and Taos' Millicent Rogers Museum recognized him as a Taos Master.
One of the ongoing themes in his work is the interconnectedness among all peoples: "We all have so much in common. And the Red Willow people (of Taos Pueblo) give so much to us." Native Americans are often subjects in his work. "There's something about them and their respect for the land, and so many things that our society today doesn't even think about," he expressed. Many people come into his gallery and comment that they see "the power of love" in his pieces. Much of the inspiration for his work comes from dreams and things he reads, like ancient teachings of Christ.
Unlike a lot of artists, Collins can often be found in his gallery ready to talk about any and all of his work with everyone who enters. Is that due to choice or a deemed necessity? "It's my choice, but I think people really like to meet the artist. Some artists in New York don't even go to their openings."
The Charles Collins Gallery celebrates its 40th anniversary in Taos on Aug. 6, on Charles Collins Day. Gov. Johnson once told Collins that he sees the Taos artist as a "A bright light shining for everyone." "That just blew me away," Collins shared. "I'm still trying to do that."
If he wasn't an artist, he would be an architect, which he gladly admitted is still artistic.
Charles Collins Gallery is located in McCarthy Plaza adjacent to Taos Plaza. (575) 758-2309, charlescollinsgallery.com.