Tavlos paints in the present tense. The past and the future are intensely present in each electrifying image. His work always has mirrored each decade in which he has been present and painting. Consider the 1970's. Santa Fe was a quaint, sleepy village known chiefly for Indian goods, so Tavlos lined up some pueblo pottery and gave it a sharp focus to match the deep silence and crystalline air of northern New Mexico. The 1980's heated up a bit. Tavlos and his work caught on. Others caught up.
Tavlos moved on.
He bonded with the howling coyote, which until then had existed only as a folk artform and not as a symbol of the southwest. He gave the coyote a simple silhouette and a complex presence. He made it an icon. Yikes! Suddenly it was everywhere, as ubiquitous as a smiley face. It was copied in every conceivable medium from Arizona to Texas.
He went to dog shows. He went to the rodeo. He went to Italy and brought back a taste for opera and a flock of cherubini. His sweet, impudent little putti didn't start the angel fad of the early 1990s, though. That was just a coincidence...probably. As the twentieth century drew to a close he looked at the big world from the wild west of his own neighborhood to the glitzy blitzy media culture that was overtaking us all.
As the third millenium rolled in, he rolled with it. His combinations of line and color continued their subtle raids on our retinas. How does he do that? How does he make the images rattle around in the mind like a runaway grand piano, decked out in sleigh bells, chasing a New Orleans jazz band? We don't know. He doesn't worry about it. He simply continued creating ever brighter, clearer images in honor of the future that was ever arriving.
Then September 11, 2001 arrived. The world would be changed forever. People were afraid to travel, tourism in Santa Fe and all over the world suffered. With the exception of three large murals completed in private homes in Santa Fe, Tavlos saw most of his paintings and prints ship to clients outside of Santa Fe. He needed something to tweak the locals with. So by the end of 2001 he introduced a totally new line of work. A line of screen doors. The result was clearly Tavlos' but the painting was totally new. He calls it Tavlos in Distress. He uses the same vivid colors, distresses them and then antiques them. After painting twenty-five doors, Tav started painting what he refers to as his Screen Door Art.