Art triumphs

Dolores artist bounces back from fire, plans Cortez show

Gene Lansing holds a drawing of a hummingbird. The drawing was on display at Fusion Studios, which burned down along with the Hollywood Bar and Grill two years ago. Lansing was able to salvage the drawing from the ashes. The paper is slightly yellowed and will be on display with Lansing's other work through September at the Cortez Rec Center.

It was just over two years ago when Dolores artist Gene Lansing heard of the Hollywood Bar fire.

The fire burned the historic community bar and with it, the art gallery next door, which had some of his artwork on display.

"I lost a lot of really detailed artwork," Lansing said. "It hurt really bad."

Lansing, 38, is a carpenter by trade, so when the Hollywood burned down and took Fusion studios with it, Gene asked the owners if he could help with clean up because he was so devastated by the loss.

As soon as Lansing was cleared by the Dolores Fire Department to enter, he realized the room his work hung in was the only room that didn't totally burn to the ground. The room had all four walls still intact, and the windows were not shattered.

In all, Lansing lost about 12 pieces of art to smoke and water, but was able to save four pieces, some of which will be on display through September at the Cortez Recreation Center, along with new pieces of art.

Lansing and his wife, Amber, were busy preparing for the show this week at their Dolores home.

Lansing's work is very detailed, usually pen and ink, drawings. When Lansing isn't working, he draws. A work that will be at the show titled "Grass Dancer" is so detailed it took him over 80 hours to complete. That is why the fire hurt so much, because with it, hours and hours of work went up too.

Digging through the rumble was the hardest thing he has ever had to deal with, he said. He was upset about not only his artwork but all the artwork of all the other artists lost.

Lansing was born in Shiprock, N.M., he graduated from Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek.

Lansing grew up drawing and was surrounded by art. He has family member's art on display in his house: detailed pottery by his uncles and beautiful woven rugs by his grandmother.

"I grew up surrounded by art and was always drawing," he said.

Growing up on the Navajo Reservation partially influenced Lansing's art, he said. But today, he draws inspiration for his art from the beauty of Dolores.

Lansing's biggest accomplishment is to create art that people are proud to hang in their homes, intricate and detailed art that makes someone say "wow." Lansing has also helped in illustrating a book about different Natives from different tribes.

"I draw lots of medicine men because my grandfather was a medicine man," Lansing said.

Medicine Man by Gene Lansing will be on display through September at the Cortez Recreation Center. Enlargephoto

"Medicine Man" by Gene Lansing will be on display through September at the Cortez Recreation Center.