Qcc Artist Directory

About the Art

Over a millennium ago, the Mimbres Indians of Southwestern New Mexico left a legacy of pictorial pottery that were cartoon depictions of their daily lives. Artist Lou McCall combines her wit with history and casts an anthropological eye toward the future in her original “Neo Mimbreno” designs. They blend a satirical slant on traditional Mimbres Indian motifs with “artifacts” from the 20th Century. McCall has chosen to portray contemporary life in a style of 1,000 years ago.

“What will archaeologists of the future find when they excavate our culture?” she asks, “VW Bugs, ’57 Chevies, telephones, Chihuahua sweaters, these are some of the 20th century’s cultural artifacts.”

Lou is happy that many artists simply reprint ancient Mimbreno designs, helping to keep this fine work in the public eye, but she wanted to do something innovative that would represent the complexity of life today. Lou’s NeoMimbreno images have been for sale since the nineties, on cards, prints, Tee-shirts, advertising, and more.

She feels that art is a bridge between the interior and exterior worlds. Creative impulses may be triggered by outer events, especially visual stimuli, but it is the inner world that brings forth the work. With her Mimbres designs, she finds a contemporary image that corresponds in some way with an original one. Lou’s designs are first drafted in pencil and then painstakingly drawn in ink, and finally transferred to digital media for reproduction. She has been inspired by the Mimbres designs for a long time. In between other creative endeavors, she’s continuously returned to them, refreshing the series with new designs, applications, and outlets.

Lou tends to focus on just one image at a time, and produces serieses of multiple designs, including the Classic NeoMimbreno Collection, The Return of the NeoMimbrenos and the HolyDaze Collection.

It can take years sometimes for her to complete a piece. “I think of an image that I would like to do in the Mimbres style, and it can take a very long time for me to land on the right way to depict it using authentic Mimbreno iconography that resonates with contemporary subject matter. The actual drawing of the piece may take only a few hours.”

Besides continuing her work with the NeoMimbreno designs, she is continuing her personal writing projects and teaches yoga and meditation.


Lou McCall is from New Mexico and knows it well. She has lived in Albuquerque, Silver City, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Gallup, and the village of Monticello. Lou grew up, for the most part, in Farmington, NM, although while still young, her family moved to the progressive community of Columbus, Indiana. Although little Betty Lou did not know it at the time, her art teachers belonged to the infamous beat persuasion and had opened her eyes to the wonders of modern art.

In the mid-sixties, her family moved back to New Mexico. At age ten she began taking art lessons and learning to paint in oils. At 13 she sold her first work. After high school Lou moved to Albuquerque, with the intention of studying architecture. There she shared a studio with three other artists and painting soon became more important to her than attending university. It was here that she transitioned to working in watercolor, and in producing large-scale colored pencil drawings and acrylic paintings.

In 1978. Lou moved to Silver City, NM, a thriving Shambala with an art community that was a big part of its identity. She co-founded what was then known as the Silver City Arts Council. Then, at age 25 she decided to go back to school and attended a small art school in historic San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico. Delightful as she found it, after one year she returned to the states, applying to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

After a year at the Art Institute, she discovered the fine art of animation. While in Chicago she worked for several production houses specializing in commercial animation. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree and went on to enroll in the MFA program in Filmmaking. Her graduate studies were cut short when Lou returned home to care for her dying parents.

After a year in Santa Fe, she returned to Silver City to pursue her painting. She had almost forgotten film making, but while there she finished a short black and white film which showed at the 25th Chicago International Film Festival.

In the years that followed Lou focused on her work as a painter. She began a series of images based on the pottery designs of the ancient Mimbrenos, a culture that vanished about a thousand years ago, leaving behind a legacy of distinctive images depicting their daily lives.

Then suddenly, in 1999, she was back into moving pictures, when she was offered a job teaching video production to at-risk minority youth in Gallup, New Mexico. Her students produced public service announcements and news stories that were aired across the state. The students won a number of awards, including two national MTV awards and a Nambe Award in New Mexico. Among the highlights of her Gallup experience was taking her students to the Taos Film Festival and Teen Media Conference.

In 2016 she moved with her partner to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, north of Taos. Two years later, Lou co-founded Questa Del Rio News, in Questa, NM and was its first editor. She stepped down in 2023 to focus on her own creative projects.


Lou McCall
PO Box 2431,
Taos, NM 87671

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