This article explores the status of Willard "Spud" Johnson within the modernist arts community of Taos, New Mexico, in the 1930s. By highlighting Johnson's entertaining and self-reflective journal, the article addresses how Johnson's homosexuality contributed to his position as a middling member of the Taos arts community, a position poised between white members of the colony, especially women, and the non-white local New Mexicans whom members of the colony patronized. By examining the internal hierarchy of the Taos arts community, I shed light on how creative production works. Although popular audiences tend to credit individual genius, the beauty of the landscape, or the appeal of local traditions for creative production, Johnson's experience suggests that internal social relationships, even inequitable ones, shape the creative dynamics of arts colonies.

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