The best of Santa Fe 2021 |

The shortlist for this year’s Best of Santa Fe cover artist was pretty much a name: -Brandon Maldonado. From there, bringing in the Albuquerque-based painter was a snap – he already had exactly what we needed.

“It goes with that raw New Mexico thing where there’s usually just a figure and a few curtains,” Maldonado says of the figure he has come to call the Cake Lady. “But it’s getting a little old for me, so how can I reinvent it?” It would be very easy and logical if she was holding a normal bouquet, but when you start to think about the earth, what if she was holding a cactus?

Maldonado says he stuck with a traditional three-color palette for the room (dirty red, black, and white), though his use of markers and calligraphy pens eschew the tradition for a more modern feel.

How tradition and modernity should intersect seems to be a theme in Santa Fe over the past year or so. Those who voted in the Best of Santa Fe readers’ poll for 2021 reflected the notion with steadfast winners who have held their titles for a decade or more as well as newcomers and underdogs who have also reinvented themselves to gain their support. during the long, cold and lonely pandemic. Cakes are for celebrating. Cut yourself a big slice!

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