"...everyone called him Tommy..."
Tommy (everyone called him Tommy and nobody would dare refer to him as Mr. Macaione) painted on the streets of Santa Fe for over 50 years and, in tribute to the many years he spent around town doing his paintings of the lush flowering of our high desert town, a bronze statue of this diminutive character was placed in an equally little park named after him at Marcy Street and the Paseo. The piece had him holding a brush while working, as he always did, en plein air. There have been many replacements for that brush over the years. Some think that vandals have been the guilty parties for removing, one after another, the bronze brushes he held in his hand. I rather prefer the idea that some of the people who were bested by Tommy in their encounters with him, got back by taking his brush away. You see, if you ever got in Tommy’s way by lingering too long in one of his scenes or, sometimes, even attempting to talk to him when he was concentrating, the erasable side of this gentle man might come out.
Tomaso Silvestri Macaione was born in New London, Connecticut in 1907 and found his way to Santa Fe in 1951. He studied painting with Alfred Morang and learned from him that Santa Fe was known as the “City Different” and, at one point, Tommy changed his name to Eldiferente!!, celebrating and promoting the idea that being different was patriotic. He encouraged people to bask in their differences and his message of rejoicing in our differences to build a stronger community is as relevant now as it was during his lifetime
Tommy was a political activist as well as a painter and philosopher who believed the world would be a better place if we only embrace the difference around us, rejoicing in our differences to build a stronger community, an idea as relevant now as it was during his lifetime. He recognized that diversity was essential to our happiness and democratic well being. Often, Tommy would run for president, mayor or whatever office rattled him – he was from the happiness platform.
You can see some of Tommy’s work at www.mattkuhncollection.com and there are also a few wonderful paintings on the ground floor of City Hall, near the mayor’s office (Tommy never did get elected).
The proclamation reads as follows:
Whereas Tommy Macaione was born in 1907 and found his way to Sant Fe in 1951 and
Whereas He Studied painting with Alfred Morang and learned from him that Santa Fe was known as the City Different and
Whereas he came to embrace the City Different, Adopting the name "El Diferente" encouraging people to bask in their differences; and
Whereas Macaione was a political activist as well as a painter and philosopher who believed the world should embrace the difference around us; And
Whereas his message of rejoicing in our differences to build a stronger community is as relevant now as it was during his lifetime;
Whereas he recognized diversity was essential to our happiness and democratic well being.
NOW THEREFORE I, DAVID COSS Mayor of the city of Santa Fe, do hereby proclaim this Sunday November 13th 2011
TOMMY MACAIONE DAY !!!!!!
Photo of Macaione by Judy Naumburg