Gregg grew up in Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico and began carving dolls 25 years ago. Instead of using the traditional Cottonwood tree’s root, Gregg carves with the end of the tree’s branches. The results are sculptural dolls that have a uniquely different texture and look.
Gregg’s a soft spoken and calm individual. A construction worker for most of his life, he speaks and moves in a paced, thoughtful manner; no words or actions seem rushed. This way of being also occurs when he carves, as his works have a grace, an elegance, even a delicate quality that’s not typically associated with this art form.
Gregg's sculptures strike the balance between having the necessary amount of detail while also respecting the wood of the piece and incorporating its beauty as part of the overall design. The long bodies of his dolls are usually unadorned, and this creates the stately quality for which his pieces are known.
Gregg’s use of paint also strikes the final, exact balance between properly accentuating yet not overwhelming the doll. 'Zuni Blue' is his trademark and distinctive color. This vibrant indigo-cobalt color was recorded and later exploited by Spanish invaders, who noted it on Zuni alters. Perhaps this pigment was traded through the Mayan culture, but rare clays such as attapulgite, which is a base for beautiful blue pigments, exist in rare and protected areas.
Our gallery’s involvement with Gregg is a bit more unusual than it is for most artists with whom we work. When we first decided to start a gallery, 18 months before it actually opened, Gregg was one of the first artists we sought out after coming across his work in Santa Fe. We could not locate him, however, despite hours, days, and then weeks of sleuthing about— searches, calls, letters, and potential intermediaries. Eventually, we gave up.
Then, in February of 2017, while in Santa Fe once more, we happened to be talking to someone we’d just met and related to him our quest to find an unreachable Zuni carver. The person claimed to actually know Gregg and promised to let him know about us the he next spoke to him, “probably in a few months but within a year.” We’d heard that before!
We began walking away, and the man’s cell phone rang. It was Gregg calling. We meet up with him the next day and by the end of that visit, not only did we want the three works he had on hand, we wanted to be a place that offered these works because they seemed to be an accurate reflection of the man who created them. As long as there is Raven Makes Gallery, as long as Gregg Lasiloo carves dolls, his works will be in this gallery.