Painter Eddie Macias’ newest artwork made to attract tourists and locals
By Christina Stock
One of the biggest challenges that a painter may face during his or her career is to go from small scale — where most artists start — to large scale works. This may be because of the difficulty to get proportions right, or perspective accurately transposed on a larger surface than a canvas. This, however, is not the case for artist Eddie Macias.
Locally known for his comics in the Roswell Daily Record, Macias ventured in 2017 into the world of murals. His biggest accomplishment yet graces the backside of the building of Imagine That Scrapbooks & Gifts, 317 N. Main St. The mural is a little over 20 feet tall and 100 feet wide, he said.
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The mural came to be after owner Dene Van Winkle saw that there was some damage in the paint toward the roof of the building. Instead of painting it the same color, she decided to find an artist to paint a colorful mural. She had already painted the parking bumpers and lines in cheerful bright colors.
“I actually contacted a couple of people, but I wanted somebody who was licensed and bonded,” Van Winkle said.
Asked how she chose Macias for the job, Van Winkle said, “I have seen his work around town, and I’ve had a lot of people tell me that he’s really the best. I didn’t want anything that was scary, anything that was the true “alien” — I wanted it more cartoon-like.”
To the surprise of Macias, Van Winkle gave him full creative license. She had only a few requests. “I want something extremely bright. When you think it’s too bright, it’s not bright enough. I said, just have at it. The only thing that I would like is, I don’t want it related to my store per se, I want it more related to travel, Roswell, so it can be a photo op. He said, ‘I can draw you out a sketch and you can proof it.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to proof it. I don’t want to see it, I trust you. What’s the worse that could happen? We have to repaint?’” Van Winkle said and laughed.
“I originally thought just to have a little piece (where there was damage),” Van Winkle said. “Then, let’s do the whole thing. So he did.”
Her business is one of the biggest ones in the country that is independently owned, Van Winkle said. Now it has one of the largest murals decorating it. “I can’t tell you how happy I am with it,” she said. “There was not one time we changed anything. The only thing I added later was, I said I have a little bulldog, I want an alien dog. So we put in a little alien dog out there, but other than that, we didn’t change anything. He just went for it. And he was real cute about it. He said, ‘Dene, do I need to change anything or hit columns.’ I said, ‘Eddie, if I need to tell you how to do your job, I might as well do it myself and I can’t draw a stick figure.’
Asked how long it took to finish the mural, Macias said, “Start to finish, maybe two weeks altogether. But it was not every day. In total about 20 to 25 hours.”
Macias was thoughtful about choosing the different characters, he said he always integrates the Zia symbol into his work somewhere. He also picked up on one of Van Winkle’s T-shirt designs, which shows an alien and nearby towns, to make it attractive as a photo opportunity for tourists. “A lot of people travel from all over the U.S. and the world and ask different questions, so that is our responsibility here being from Roswell, saying, ‘Hey, this place is this far from us, thanks for stopping by, but let me tell you about different places you can visit also,” Macias said.
“I’ve done murals throughout Roswell; I’ve done different cities; a couple of people’s homes. I’ve done some in schools also and painted at Goddard High School, and I’ve painted the band trailer at Roswell High and a couple of buses for different churches but this is the biggest and longest,” Macias said and chuckled.
Asked why he switched from canvas to murals, Macias said, “I am always looking for a challenge. As an artist, you can’t close yourself up into a box. And when people give you the opportunity and say, ‘Hey I have seen your work, let’s get after it. I said ‘OK, let’s do it.’”
Macias said that he had to pace himself due to the rising temperatures. “I have to take care of my health because I want to be here for my wife, my children, I want to be here for a long time. The biggest obstacle is working in small pieces, a little at a time.
“When I get — and I don’t call them customers, I call them collectors — people that bless me and give me the opportunity to paint. I can’t say enough, I’m humbled, I am at a loss for words. That’s awesome, when there is that (artistic) freedom and that friendship between the collector and myself. That’s what makes it all the better,” Macias said.
“He just took it to a whole other level. The detail, the shadowing, the shading, putting little flowers on the cactus. I never dreamt that; in my wildest dream I didn’t think that it would go that far out, but he did. I absolutely love every bit about it. Now I am excited, I want to do more work for me, but I am on a waiting list now because the mural has gotten so much excitement, he has a lot more going on. I guess now I have to be going back on the waiting list, but that’s OK,” Van Winkle said.
Some of the details of the mural can only be seen close up. Macias said these details are due to his wife, Tarra Macias. She would help him after her work was done. She works at Olympian Academy of Cosmetology and is known as a makeup artist for Way Way Off-Broadway Theatre Company.
“She gives me a whole different perspective,” Eddie Macias said. “She is an artist herself. We’ve done a lot work together. I feel so bad because she’s working; she has to take care of the school, with COVID-19, she has to redo everything, the whole policy; procedures they have to go through. She takes care of it and she still comes out to help me.”
Macias said that one of his biggest rewards for him painting is to put a smile on somebody’s face seeing his mural. “You don’t know what day they may have,” he said.
Van Winkle said that even during the pandemic, her business was doing well thanks to curbside service and having a large selection of paints and art supplies available.
“I am going to be 16 years at this location,” Van Winkle said. “It (the mural) actually has increased my business. It’s amazing how much it’s increased it.”
Macias said that his murals are a form of a legacy and that his children are proud showing them to their friends. He said that there are — now not so secret — initials of his kids hidden in his murals and often a cupcake because his wife loves cupcakes.
“My oldest son is fixing to go off to the Army, to basic training. He is my hero. My oldest daughter, she’s everything of me in attitude, but my goodness, she is quick and awesome. Then I have another little girl with special needs and this girl fights for her life every day. You give her some chocolate milk, and she’s the happiest kid. So I don’t have a right to be upset or complain about anything. My youngest one, he is a typical teenage boy. He just had his birthday, he is 14 years old. He is such an athlete and it’s killing him with this COVID-19 because he wants to travel with football and plays (other) sports. But he stays positive,” Macias said.
Macias’ work ethic as an artist and character is something that Van Winkle appreciates. “When he talks about anything he does, it’s with a smile,” she said. “That passion is there, it’s not fake. That’s what I love and admire about him. I have never seen him upset, even when it was 115º out there. And he is just smiling.”
Macias said that he had finished the mural about two weeks ago and since then, his appointment calendar has been filled well into August. His murals are made to last with highest quality paint and exterior gloss paint, Macias said. His next work will take him out of town, to Dexter, Artesia and Ruidoso. “There are talks to go to Las Cruces and doing one,” Macias said. “I’ve been invited to Albuquerque because they are going to do a beautifying of downtown, Old Town, so they are calling on artists for murals to do. But I am also working on a children’s book. I try not to stretch myself too thin. I am blessed.”
“I feel blessed and honored that he chose my building to paint because he could have always said no. We’ve had a good time. I think I am going to be on a waiting list for a while,” Van Winkle said and laughed.
For more information, email Macias at email@example.com.