I asked Montse if she would be my first interview, not only because she is my friend and my neighbor, but because I admire her. I am impressed by her journey to get to this point, and the amount of progress she has made in such a short amount of time. There is such beauty in watching someone getting in touch with their creative side for the first time; a side they knew existed but had yet to explore. She is full of ideas and excitement and I find it refreshing. Montse is humble, constantly reminding you “I have just started” and “my English is bad.” Her English is great and yes, she might have “just started,” but she is already creating beautiful jewelry and art. She answered the door wearing her signature bright red lipstick and a flower in hair… that she made, of course.
My name is Montse or Mono. I like to go by Mono.
Live Taos: Can you explain your work?
Mono: My work is really simple; it is about making jewelry for everybody. I love colors, fabric; I like to use simple textures and simple materials. I try to mix, for example, metals with acrylic to make jewelry. I like to do a mixture of different things, but especially jewelry.
My artwork is personal. I am just starting to explore that part of me. I really love it, but it is something new and I want to keep working on it.
LT: Where are you from?
I am from Chile, the 5th region called Valparaiso. Chile has 15 regions, similar to states. I am from the city of Concon.
LT: What brought you to Taos?
M: In 2009, I did a work and travel program. It is a program where you learn English; you are in college and they find you a job. I went to Taos Ski Valley.
LT:Did you get to pick where you could go?
M: No, it depends on your English level. I had the really basic level, I had to get a job where they match my level, so I was sent here to Taos to work Housekeeping.
Montse graduated from Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso with a masters degree in Chemical Engineering.
LT: Where do you find inspiration?
M: It depends on the day, honestly, some days I feel like to just play with fabric and some days I just want to play with paints. I like when it’s after the snow and it’s a big sunny day. I find inspiration in music and looking on the internet and looking at other artists and pictures.
LT: What is your favorite thing you have ever created?
M: It was my first one. I may call it Beginnings. It was the first time I take time to do some art, I have deep feeling to be creative and now I am here and it’s a start. It reminds me of the beginning of all of this and to keep doing artistic things.
This piece is created with acrylic and melted crayons.
LT:How do you deal with creative blocks?
M: I take my time. You are creating all the time, thinking of all things you can do and then when you feel the touch, the inspiration, you just do it. I don’t force it. I want to do a lot of things, I really enjoy, I really have fun with it!
LT: What is the best advice you were ever given?
M: Lately, a lot of people are telling me just keeping going and try to be strong, especially when you leave your home. Try to do whatever you want in life, try to be happy wherever you are. Wherever you are, you have to create your own happiness.
LT: Do you have a favorite Taos artist/musician?
M: I really like Sarah Hart — before I knew you, I liked it.
LT: Ha, Ha!
M: No laughing. You are good. You are so dumb to laugh. In the Taos galleries I see work I really like and I hope to explore that more. Oh, you can see from my house, that I like Cisco Velarde. He is really good.
Her living room walls are adorned with many of Cisco’s photographs.
As far as musicians, I like Two Ton Strap and Brent Berry is fun.
LT: Do you have a favorite meal in Taos?
M: I love enchiladas. My favorite meal is Beef Enchiladas Christmas from Orlando’s. I really love it.
LT: Where can we find your work?
M: At the La Bodega Fresca and www.facebook.com/ChaChaHandmade
LT: Finish this sentence: I Love Taos because….