Creativity, Color and Fun
By Sandra Ríos
Anado McLauchlin, at 67, is one of the most creative and original artists in San Miguel de Allende. He incorporates installations and assemblages, beautiful mosaics, and objects in his artistic work, creating an eclectic and amusing blend. Currently, together with his husband, Richard Schultz, he has his home and his gallery in La Casa de las Ranas in La Cieneguita. The Chapel of Jimmy Ray, the gallery where he exhibits his work and that of guest artists, is frequented by many tourists and locals by appointment.
Sandra Ríos: Where were you born and where did you study?
Anado McLauchlin: I was born in Oklahoma, and I studied for a year toward an arts degree at the University of Oklahoma, where my teachers told me I was too decorative, and well, that was what I enjoyed and that was my experience. So I went to New York in 1971 to train as an artist. At that time, I also worked as a taxi driver and a waiter and did many kinds of jobs at the same time that I was making my art, which then was more like spoken performance. In 1978, I went to India to the Osho Ashram, and my whole life changed. I returned in 1985 to the “real world,” and I settled in California, where I earned my living as a gardener while I was also doing my art. One time I was in trouble because I thought, “You’re an artist or gardener.” But a friend told me, “I think you should continue as a gardener. Be close to the ground and listen to it because you can learn from the earth and enrich your art.” So I did, and 10 years after making art and gardening to live, I decided to do only my art. I had my studio in Sausalito, California, and worked there until I came to Mexico.
SR: How did you decide to live in Mexico?
AM: We spent much time in Asia. We hadn’t been to Mexico for a while and decided to return at Easter and spend time here. We found a place to share with a friend for a year and returned. After looking in Atención for a place to buy here in San Miguel, we saw this place in La Cieneguita, we bought it, and we have lived here since 2001.
SR: What is it like for you to live in San Miguel de Allende?
AM: It’s a great place and I have Mexican friends, but I feel that there are more Americans in my life.
SR: But a lot of Mexicans work with you.
AM: Yes, they have been family for 14 years. I speak “ranch-Spanish” more than speaking English. We speak a combination of Spanish and English together, and I know it’s not good because they do not learn English properly, and I do not learn Spanish properly. But in June when I return from the United States, I promise myself that I will learn Spanish.
SR: How do you see the art scene in San Miguel?
AM: I am very enthusiastic about art here in San Miguel. There is very good art, especially from young people, like the photographer Daniela Edburg. She is a very good artist and also she grew up here. At the same time, there is also a more commercial market, which fulfills its mission. Then there are the artists of my age. Some of my friends are doing what I call “edgy art.” I think that the really good art happens when the artists take risks and are confronted by a sense of danger, not necessarily physical or violent, but they have taken a step beyond their borders and really take chances.
SR: How can you describe your art?
AM: My art is about just having fun. I’m a visual person. I always made art for myself for my home. I have lived like this all my life. My parents encouraged me. My room was “cool.” It’s exciting, it’s challenging, and it’s just what I do.
SR: What is your creative process?
AM: The process is like an evolution. I describe it as a dance of improvisation. I can get an idea as a starting point and while I’m building—I don’t want to sound pretentious but I call it “secret placement.” For me it’s about expanding beauty and using different techniques to create something in ensemble.
SR: I see that your art is very eclectic, that it combines different cultures.
AM: I like to combine cultures. We are in Mexico and there are many Mexican things in my work and also things from time I spent in India, Asia, and South America. I think you can combine cultures, religions, icons, or geometry. What I on to a poetic or metaphorical level is try to combine all belief systems, all paths, and show that there is really only one path.
SR: You have a gallery. How can people visit your gallery?
AM: It’s called The Chapel of Jimmy Ray, and it opened in 2012. You can contact me through www.madebyanado.com or at 155 8044. I open the gallery only by appointment.
SR: What do you have on display now in your gallery?
AM: It is my art in combination with a young Mexican artist, Agustín Santoyo, who is from Mexico City and is 29 years old. The exhibition is called Conversations and Visions.
It is a conversation between two artists from two different generations, and discussion is not necessarily verbal. It is more a conversation between patterns, color, and myths. His art is on one side of the gallery, and my art is on the other side, so a conversation is created.
SR: What else do you want to add?
AM: To encourage people to be more playful, to look into themselves, and to see what’s there inside and express it. And for the tourist, welcome to San Miguel!