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Daniel Barela
North Central

I am Daniel Barela, a third generation Spanish Colonial woodcarver and owner of Barela’s Traditional Fine Art located in the Taos Plaza. My Family has a beautiful story that plays an important role in Taos and New Mexico’s history. Our story began when my great-grandfather Patrocino Barela became the first Mexican-American to gain national recognition as a break-through woodcarver. In 1936 Patrocino and three hundred, of the best WPA artists were selected for an art show in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He received the most recognition for the eight spiritual juniper woodcarvings because of their unique modern style. The museum praised him as “the most dramatic discovery”, he was named “discovery of the year” by Time Magazine and was called “Picasso of the west” by easterners. The national recognition he gained in New York had galleries and art collectors across the country seeking his work exposing them to Taos, New Mexico. This exposure jump started New Mexico’s tourism by sparking interests to find new discoveries. Patrocino’s impact on our state and the art world is still felt today, tourists, galleries and private collectors still travel to our state and our local community. He also inspired thousands of artists, mostly Hispanics to continue the tradition of making Spanish Colonial art. New Mexico is the leading influence in Spanish colonial art in the world.