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Casimiro "Casey" Marquez, Casa de Colores

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About the Artist/Site

The home of Casimiro “Casey” Marquez is a shocking burst of color at the end of a run-down cul-de-sac, a composition of old toys and spray paint determined to transcend its surroundings. A recovered alcoholic with a sly sense of humor and an “achey-breaky heart,” Marquez worked on his Casa de Colores from 1985 until his death in 2010.

A striped tin roof is all that is visible over a brightly-painted outer fence adorned with plastic rocking horses. Passing through the front gate, visitors enter a dirt courtyard crisscrossed by laundry lines strung with weathered stuffed animals. At the far end of the property is a three-room home built of adobe, plaster, and plywood, with a sign announcing appropriately “mi casa no essu casa.” Marquez, a former auto body painter, has covered every available surface with spots and abstract designs, predominately in blue and red spray paint. Images of alien faces, a cartoon frog, and a radiant Virgin Mary were added more recently with the help of local street artist Michael Baca at Marquez’s request; Baca’s wife, Yvonne Espinoza, was Marquez’s caretaker until he died.

The embellishment continues inside, where rooms are covered floor-to-ceiling in spray-painted polka dots and geometric patterns. Art prints (“big eye” paintings in the style of Walter and Margaret Keene, landscapes, Catholic imagery) are hung throughout the house, with frames painted directly on the wall. Furnishings are simple and functional, with heat provided by a wood stove.

Casey Ramirez passed away on December 17, 2010, at age 82, and the future of the fragile environment is uncertain.

~Brett Hanover



Map and site information

Pedro Romero Lane
Las Vegas, New Mexico, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 35.527746 / -104.668175

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