What does a life-size T-Rex Dinosaur have to do with it? Read about this intriguing sculptor to find out!

Lynn Trombetta: Chris, the simple story of your Call of Sedona was that you saw the opportunity to open a gallery here, in this beautiful place. Could you please tell us more?

Chris Navarro: I came to Sedona 14 years ago, in 2000. I came to Tlaquepaque because a director of my gallery in Taos at that time who used to also work at Tlaquepaque told me there was a spot opening up: “It looks good; it’s a beautiful place.” They had just poured the slab—there wasn’t anything there, so we were the first gallery in that spot, in that new auxiliary building, right below the brewery.

I owned a gallery in Taos, I was living in Wyoming . . . I still live in Wyoming part time. I just went and looked at that spot, and I thought, ‘man this is beautiful!’ You know, I do a lot of big, outdoor sculptures, and kind of specialize in large monuments, and Wendy at Tlaquepaque said I could put them out front there and have a sculpture garden. How many galleries get to have a sculpture garden? That’s what cinched it for me; getting the sculpture garden.

Chris Navarro with Moose sculture

LT: Was that your first time to see Sedona?

CN: I’d been to Sedona several years before—I used to show in a gallery there for a while. I’d drop work off and I’d think, ‘Man, this is a pretty place. And the Wyoming winters are pretty rough: man if I could live in Arizona, I’d really like to live in Sedona!’

So I kept that in the back of my mind and then the new spot opened up. There was really nothing to see at the time [at the site], but I just kind of visualized how it would be, and I thought ‘What a pretty place to live and I’d like to open a gallery there.’ I just had kind of visualized it. As an artist you visualize a lot of things, so I was able to visualize that being there. That’s when I decided to go. We’ve been there for fourteen years now! It’s a great spot, and Sedona is so special!

LT: You’ve given us a fun image of one of your recent bronze works that is now on display at the Tate Museum Casper Wyoming!

CN: Yes, It’s called “The Essence of Rex.” The life size T-Rex is half skeletal on one side, and fleshed out on the other. And then I put a led lighting system on the inside so it lights up at night. It’s so unique, I’ve never seen another sculpture like it, where you see the anatomical, skeletal side on one side and completely flesh on the other. (NOTE: The 3-ft. maquette version is on display at the Navarro Gallery Sedona.)

Ilchi-Lee_The-Call-of-Sedona_Navarro-pulling_t-rex

Ilchi-Lee_The-Call-of-Sedona_Navarro-riding_t-rex

LT: How has being in Sedona influenced you as an artist?

CN: I just love the landscape around here. I just feel more energized when I’m in Sedona. Don’t you? It’s such a pretty place to live. You run into a lot of artists that live in Sedona. Part of it is just because of the natural beauty.

I live in a beautiful spot! The road dead ends into my house and there’s US Forest Service all around. I love it! I have horses, so I always keep my horses out there at our property. I get to ride my horses around Courthouse and Lee Mountain. There are beautiful horse trails all around there.

Chris Navarro with bucking horse sculptureSedona just has a kind of a quality to it that I’ve never found any other place I’ve lived. I just feel good when I’m in Sedona. I try not to over think things too much. I don’t try to over analyze why this or that, you know. This feels good, it is good. Same thing about my artwork, I just sort of let it flow.

LT: The horsemanship is definitely reflected in your work.

CN: Yes, horses have been a big part of my life. Plus, you know, I take my horses back and forth. I rope a lot and there’s a big roping culture in the wintertime, so I do a lot of competing in roping. I go down to Litchfield Park and rope around Phoenix, and Wickenburg, Arizona is probably the roping capital of the United States right now!

There are a lot of people who ride horses in Sedona, on those trails. I always run into them. Being horseback in Sedona is a pretty cool way to experience it!

LT: Thanks, Chris!

By Lynn A. Trombetta