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Valles Caldera

Dia De Los Muertos Cover

Legends of the Southwest

Billy the Kid (aka William H. Bonney)
1859 –1881

Billy the Kid fought in New Mexico’s Lincoln County War and was known to have killed eight men.

After killing several men, including a Sheriff and two deputies, Bonney was captured by Sheriff Pat Garrett and was sentenced to hang. Bonney escaped and evaded capture for more than two months. His escapades were featured in popular newspapers, extending his notoriety. Bonney was ultimately shot and killed by Garrett in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881. However, legends grew that Bonney escaped that night, and a number of men claimed to be him.
The image in the painting is inspired by the most famous photo of Bonney and is the image that was used on his “wanted” posters. Until recently when experts deciphered the original plate had been printed backwards, Bonney was thought to be left handed. Last year, a rare photo of Bonney playing croquet was discovered, authenticated and valued at $5 million dollars.

The Roswell Aliens

Roswell, NM Famous Suspected Crash Site

In mid 1947, a United States Air Force surveillance balloon crashed at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, prompting claims alleging the crash was of an extraterrestrial spaceship. The rumors have made Roswell a mecca for UFO-ologists and has inspired countless documentaries, movies and shows, including the popular TV show, “Roswell.” In the 1990's, the U.S. military published reports disclosing the true nature of the crashed Project Mogul balloon. Nevertheless, the Roswell incident continues to be of interest in popular media, and conspiracy theories surrounding the event persist. Roswell has been called “the world’s most famous, most exhaustively investigated, and most thoroughly debunked UFO claim.”

La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)

Ghost Haunts the Waterways and Arroyos for Children

A legendary ghost prominent in the folklore of the Southwest, La Llorona is the ghost of a woman who lost her children and cries while looking for them by the river, often causing misfortune to those who hear her. Parents often use this story to prevent their children from wandering out at night. In some versions of this tale and legend, La Llorona will kidnap wandering children who resemble her missing children, asking her children for forgiveness and drowning these other children to take their place. But they never forgive her and she keeps trying. People who claim to have seen her say she appears at night or in the late evenings from rivers or lakes in Mexico. Some believe that those who hear the wails of La Llorona are marked for death but if you were to get out in time you will not be marked for death, similar to the Gaelic banshee legend. She is said to cry, ¡Ay, mis hijos! (“Oh, my children!”)

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera
1900’s - 1950’s

Iconic Mexican Artists Known for their Individual ArtisticTalent, as Much as their Tumultuous Love Affair

Kahlo’s life began and ended in Mexico City in her home, known as “La Casa Azul,” the Blue House. Kahlo had a volatile marriage with the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera. Both have been celebrated internationally as emblematic of Mexican national and indigenous traditions.  Frida suffered lifelong health problems, many of which were caused by a traffic accident she survived as a teenager. Recovering from her injuries isolated her from other people and this isolation influenced her works, many of which are self portraits. Kahlo commented, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”

Francisco “Pancho” Villa

A Mexican Revolutionary General and Prominent Figure of the Mexican Revolution.

As commander in charge of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, Villa can be credited with decisive military victories leading to the ousting of the Mexican president. Villa led a raid against the U.S.- Mexican border town of Columbus, New Mexico in 1916, killing Americans. U.S. Army General John J. Pershing was tasked to capture Villa in an unsuccessful nine-month incursion into Mexican sovereign territory that ended when the United States entered World War I. In 1920, Villa made an agreement with the Mexican government to retire from hostilities and was given a hacienda near Chihuahua, which he turned into a “military colony” for his former soldiers. In 1923, as presidential elections approached, he re-involved himself in Mexican politics. Shortly thereafter he was assassinated. In life, Villa helped fashion his own image as an internationally known revolutionary hero, starring as himself in Hollywood films and giving interviews to foreign journalists.

Mary Jane “Mae” West

Performer & Writer with Roots in Vaudeville

Always portrayed as a headstrong and sassy woman, West is immortalized in the western comedy, “My Little Chickadee.” Her costumes, posture and confidence became the formula for the stereotypical western Saloon Madam. Her famous line, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime,” from the film ‘She Done Him Wrong,’ was actually a misquote. The actual movie line reads, “Why don’t you come up some time and see me?” West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood. As a writer, she ran into ongoing censorship problems. She even served jail time for moral dereliction for writing and starring in a her play titled, “Sex.” For her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named West 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema.




To help her mother pay bills, a young Sean Wells tried to sell her drawings on the streets of Santa Fe for 25 cents. Today, Wells is a renowned 5th Generation Spanish colonial artisan with expertise in the genre of Retablo paintings, architecture and design. Despite humble beginnings, Wells has become a public figure in New Mexico, recognized for her vibrant and fun “Dia de Los Muertos” paintings. Every year, Wells showcases her traditional retablo paintings at the annual Traditional Spanish Market of Santa Fe. On the weekends, she can be found at the historic Rail Yards Market in downtown Albuquerque with her culturally festive Day of the Dead paintings. With a wide range of talent, Wells has attracted a unique series of projects, including beer and wine bottle labels, and now her award-winning “Dia de Los Muertos” Scratchers for the New Mexico Lottery.