The Artist and the Man
It is difficult to separate the artist from his or her life. It is no different for Paul Tenoso. To truly learn about the artist, you need to know about the whole man. The one that has given talks for the Old Church Historical Society, Coronado State Park, and the Bernalillo Historical Society, who will hosting him again this November 4. The man, along with his partner, Cathy Veblen, are regulars on the river between Bernalillo and the Alameda bridge, and who every year grow both summer and winter vegetables in their garden. The man who also volunteers his time to teach another artist's young out-of-state grandchildren about the wonders of making fire with found objects and learning about the earth and the land around you. The man who, again with his partner, volunteers each year to work with local 4th and 5th grade students to understand the importance of totems and helps the children build personal kites for showing at CSA's annual arts and studio tour (CAST) and then flying the kites with their fellow students. The man with a heart that is as large as the state he now calls home.
Growing up in South Dakota, Tenoso, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux, was a moccasin maker since his early teens. He moved to New Mexico in 1978 to continue his post high school education and upon completion decided to stay because "there are no blizzards."
Tenoso caught "rock fever" while walking in the mountains near Pecos, New Mexico. "A light rain had just ended and as I resumed walking there was a flash of light off a south facing cut bank. I had been bushwhacking all morning through the forest navigating by map and compass and the first thought was a hunter must have dropped something so I went to have a look. To my surprise I picked up a perfect six-inch long obsidian spearpoint."
Obsidian is volcanic glass that is naturally shiny, with a brilliant shine when it is wet. The spearpoint Tenoso found was from a hunter from the stone age. "As I picked the point up, I felt energy moving through me from head to toe as I realized that this would be my new artform, flintknapping. I was in my 30's then; and now, I'm beginning my 60s. I am self-taught but I have used archeology books to guide me. If there are nine ways to skin a cat, there are at least that many ways to make points and blades," said Tenoso.
Tenoso has shown his work for 10 years consecutively in the highly competitive Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum, and various Native American shows and Old Town Albuquerque venues. His work has been featured nationally in Native People's Magazine, Ornament Magazine (online edition) and the Corrales Comment. He has presented his "trunk show" of stone age arts and skills at historical societies, for the Park Service summer speakers series and most recently, November 4, 2017 as an annual presenter for the town of Bernalillo Library speakers series. Tenoso believes that, to know ourselves we have to look back to where we have come from and in so doing, "we'll realize that our relatedness, we'll realize, either we are all sacred or none of us are."
Tenoso is one of the participating artists in the Art|Corrales event, November 5-6, 2017, at the Casa Veija Event Center in Corrales.