Artists’ Studio | Ed Sandoval and Ann Huston

By Wolf Schneider

You’re married, you’re both painters, and you’re Taos’ most recognizable dark-haired art couple, aren’t you? Ed: That’s right!

Ann, you’re not of the Huston acting dynasty, are you? Ann: No, but all my life people have asked. I was raised in Vermont.

Ed, you were born in Nambe, NM? Ed: Yes. Then we moved to Los Alamos when my dad worked on the Manhattan Project. I lived in Tesuque, Truchas, then Taos.

How did you meet—and who pursued whom? Ann: Actually, it was at a nightclub. My story was that I never went out because I had a baby at home. One of my girlfriends said, “C’mon, let’s go.”Ed: I was at the bar minding my own business and Ann approached me. [Laughs] Ann: [Laughs] I went up to get a drink from the bar, and Ed said, “Don’t I know you?” and I believed him! We dated for three years. We’ve been married nine years now.

Ed, you’re known for your brightly hued northern New Mexico village scenes, usually undercoated in red. Ann, you do serene pastels on sandpaper. How about your styles?
Ann: I would say we’re expressionists. Ed: I’m a romantic expressionist.

You live in a home you designed and built that has adobe walls 26 inches thick and wooden floors over concrete? Ed: Double adobe walls. We’re exactly 11 miles from the Plaza, in Valdez.
Ann, you paint at home? Ann: Yes. In the beginning Ed and I worked there together, but now he works in town at the gallery. Ed: I can’t work with another artist. The creative energy gets a little confusing.

So Ed, you paint at Studio de Colores Gallery in town on Quesnal Street. Do you still have your turquoise 1951 Chevy pickup? Ed: Uh-huh. This guy from Texas said, “I want to buy your truck,” and I said, “It’s not for sale,” and he got mad and stormed out of the gallery.

Money can’t buy everything. So who paints faster, and who takes the slow and steady route? Ann: Ed has a lot of movement and rhythm. Ed can really load on the paint and go fast. Less is more in mine—I don’t have all that movement.

Who’s the neatnik and who’s the messy one? Ed: We’re both messy. [Laughs]

Who handles the bill-paying, and who likes to be sheltered from business matters? Ed: I like to be sheltered. [Laughs] Ann: I do the paperwork because it’s got to get done.

With more artists per capita in Taos than in Paris, how does an artist sustain a career? Ed: You gotta have a lotta giclées, I think. [Laughs]

Seriously, Taos has about 80 galleries —what differentiates yours?
Ed: We’re off the beaten track. We’ve got our horses in the field right across the street from the gallery. Gorgeous Arabian horses.
Ed, since you have a master’s in psychology: What makes you each happy, and what brings you down? Ed: A good bottle of wine brings me up. Staring at our bills brings me down.

Which is why you need to be sheltered from them! And Ann? Ann: I love finishing something. What brings me down is not having enough time.

On what occasion do you each fudge the truth? Ann: I don’t always say the price I paid for something. Ed: Oh, sometimes I’ll go brush the horses when I should be working.

Which artist, living or dead, would you most like to trade a piece of art with?
Ed: El Greco. Ann: Victor Higgins.

Which artist would you most like an hour of advice from? Ed: Van Gogh. Ann: Wolf Kahn.

What’s the range that your work sells for? Ann: $950 to $5,000.
Ed: $1,200 to $26,000.

When your time comes to kick the bucket, what’ll sum it up for your life?
Ed: Hmmm. He painted from his heart and when he died the angels sang the song “De Colores.” Ann: She appreciated beauty.

Huston is represented by Studio de Colores Gallery, Taos, NM, and Gabriel’s Gallery, Pojoaque, NM. Sandoval is represented by Saks Gallery, Denver, CO; Blue Coyote Gallery, Cave Creek, AZ; Gabriel’s Gallery, Pojoaque, NM; and Studio de Colores Gallery, Taos, NM.

Featured in “My World” March 2005