Hello! Welcome to my studio in the land of enchantment. My name is Geninne and I live at 7,000 feet above sea level in the high desert of New Mexico near the beautiful city of Santa Fe.
I was born in New York to a Chilean mom and an Argentinian dad. I spent most of my childhood in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and, my teenage years, in Chile. My mom owned an art gallery/antiques shop in the coastal town of Viña del Mar in Chile for many years and I was exposed to a lot of local artists during that time. I went to college to study architecture for a couple of years and then ended up moving back to Mexico where I graduated as a graphic designer.
Both of my highly creative parents always encouraged and nurtured my love of all arts and crafts. I knew early on that this was what I would do in life. Art and crafts were always my favorite subjects in school. I cannot think back to a time when I wasn’t drawing, or absolutely enthralled with art materials. My mom says little 2-year-old me could be entertained for hours with a coloring book and a big box of crayons, spending a lot of time studying all the different names of the colors.
As I got older, my interest in doing anything creative with my hands grew. When I was around 10, it really dawned on me that I was good at drawing, based on the reactions my family and friends had when I showed them something I’d made. It was such a sense of relief and accomplishment to know that I had talent at something I loved doing. I knew then I was going to be making art forever.
My inspiration mainly comes from nature. That’s what inspires me the most: being in nature and being able to closely observe all the life forms, especially plants and birds. I focus a lot on birds because they represent a lot of things I love — like freedom, flying, happiness, etc. … Butterflies and moths look like flying flowers to me, and I really enjoy incorporating them into my work. I guess I have a thing for winged creatures and the concept of flying. There are so many different kinds of birds, so many different colors, the variety is immense and so are the possibilities to represent them in my work. My environment is definitely a big influence on my work.
We moved from Mexico to Santa Fe at the end of 2014. Our current home was designed and built by my very talented husband, Manolo. He actually built it from scratch with the help of our son Daniel. They used adobe bricks and their own hands. It took them two years from the foundations to us moving in February of 2022.
Manolo designed and built houses for clients in Mexico for many years up until we decided to move to the U.S. This is our seventh home built from the ground up, but the first one he’s built with his hands. In every one of our previous homes, he designed an attached studio for me to make art. This current one is my very favorite, although all of them have been wonderful and special for different reasons.
My spacious studio has amazing natural light and panoramic views from all the windows. The biggest windowsill in the studio holds my growing collection of cactuses and succulents. One of the walls has floor-to-ceiling shelves where I keep all my art and design books, little curiosities that I love to collect on my walks with Zorro, and a variety of products that I’ve done in collaboration with companies through licensing my art.
Zorro is my beloved studio assistant. He’s my shadow, so he has a comfy indigo-colored bed right next to my desk so he can chill and take naps while I work. I found him one day at the local shelter right after my dog Turbo passed away. I’d go to the shelter to pet dogs because I missed Turbo so much, and there was Zorrito waiting for me to help me through the loss. We’ve been together for eight years and have formed a formidable bond! I love going on morning hikes with him and Manolo every day at a nearby nature preserve and sharing my studio with him.
I am a very passionate and curious artist, and love learning new things and techniques and view every medium as a way to create a new canvas to make an impression. Apart from drawing and illustration, I do silversmithing, where I draw and etch on sterling silver, combined with turquoise — which is so abundant here in the Southwest. I love designing jewelry and dreaming up ways for my birdies to be worn and enjoyed by people.
I’m also very into making ceramics. I had the opportunity to go to a wonderful Japanese school of ceramics for a couple of years in Mexico before moving to New Mexico. My wonderful teacher Akira taught me all about decorating on clay and I learned how to throw on the potter’s wheel to make utilitarian vessels that I could paint on. Manolo, Daniel and I also work with leather to produce different types of bags and journals that are hand-drawn with a wood burner or stamped with my art.
My studio is spacious, and it has enough space to do all things. I have it organized in sections, with a big wood worktable in the middle that is multi-use. I have a jeweler’s bench in one corner, where I work with silver and turquoise. That’s where I do all the sawing, stamping and setting. I have another station by one of the windows that opens that I use for soldering because it’s very important to have ventilation.
Another corner of the studio is dedicated to ceramics. I have a big blue slab roller and my potter’s wheel there. I keep all of my glazes and underglazes on a shelf Manolo made. I move my potter’s wheel outside to our lovely porch during the fall. I love to be able to make a mess outside while listening to the birds and enjoying the sunshine and crisp weather.
When Manolo designed and built houses in Mexico, he would also design all the wood for the house, windows, doors, cabinets, etc. When we moved from Mexico, we brought all of our furniture that was designed by him. I have two beautiful file cabinets in my studio that he designed that keep so much of my studio materials organized. The big file cabinet is his, but I have it in my studio for the time being. He made it to keep all of his architectural plans, which are now relegated to only one of the drawers because I filled up the rest very quickly!
The big worktable in the center of my studio is actually two workbenches Manolo made on wheels that can be moved if needed. He made a big shelf at the bottom so I can store more studio stuff there. A few months ago, I decided to make fabric skirts to go all around my worktable and I’m so happy to be able to hide all the things I keep there! I made each side skirt of a different fabric but kept them all in the same shade of indigo that I love.
Apart from not liking to look at messes or stored supplies in my studio, I don’t like to look at electronics, so I use indigo-dyed fabrics (scarves and hankies) to cover my printers, scanner and anything that’s black/grey and made of plastic.
My main desk is a dining room table we bought at IKEA a couple of decades ago! I loved that it had a long drawer on each side to keep the placemats in. It has a glass top that I love and use as a palette when working with my watercolors and acrylic inks. I mix colors directly on the glass and scrape it off when it dries. I also love that I don’t have to worry about ruining the surface when I’m using glue to make collages. I have my iMac desktop there, where I do all of the scanning, Photoshop editing and my online business.
I have a cabinet behind me with drawers full of paper and art supplies. On the top, I keep lots of cups and mugs I use to wrangle all my drawing tools and brushes. I love having those out in the open with easy access. I collect ceramic tumblers from potter friends and ones I find at thrift shops. I recently found a mug with a coyote on it that looks just like my Zorrito.