HAYWARD SIMONEAUX WAS DRIVING the High Road to Taos to visit his partner’s family when he noticed a “for rent” sign posted on a building in Truchas and felt compelled to stop. “The space just kind of gnawed away at me,” says Simoneaux, who opened Eight Million Gods in October 2021.
After owning Santa Fe’s much beloved, now shuttered Todos Santos Chocolates and Confections for two decades, he is applying his eclectic curatorial eye to this new endeavor. The gallery’s name comes from the Japanese Shinto religion, which believes the gods are in everything. “Whether it’s you, me, or that tree,” he says. “If that’s the case, there must be at least eight million of them.”
Featuring international folk art with a sprinkling of locally made works, Eight Million Gods presents a smorgasbord of handmade items: etched ceramic mugs from Mexico, beaded dog collars from Kenya, indigo tie-dye sweatshirts, embroidered stuffed animals representing signs of the zodiac, a Georgia O’Keeffe paper doll, and candles that look like mini cakes and breads.
“I am definitely drawn to unique things, things that I haven’t seen before,” Simoneaux says. “You can see the maker’s hand in everything in the shop.”
He travels to trade shows in Paris and New York to collect treasures for Eight Million Gods, which has become a destination shop. “We’re in the middle of nowhere, but it’s working,” he says. “I have people pop in and say they follow the shop on Instagram, and they are visiting from Berlin or Poland. It’s just fascinating—the reach is wonderful.”