Art is (Not) Dead: How to not starve as a San Antonio artist

7. Network hard but don’t be afraid to share the spotlight.

Alejandro Padilla, impresario of Studio Fantomas, is a canny assessor of social possibilities and isn’t afraid to negotiate. “I managed to get four artist studio spaces inside the Michigan Building,” he noted, securing studio space for artists Mari Hernandez, Audrya Flores and the aforementioned Louie Chavez and James Medrano, who “started right out of the gate as Plazmo Contemporary. Once they started having openings, I realized the opportunity to support them and show my work. At the same time, we have a large number of friends and patrons in common, so it seemed natural.”

In finding opportunities for other artists, he opens doors for himself. Also impressive to me: When I issued a call for gallery information on social media, Padilla responded immediately, identifying not only his own gallery, but providing links to nine others. In doing so, he got this writer’s attention, placed himself in a context of valid up-and-comers and raised awareness around a slew of spaces operating beyond his immediate circle. Aspiring gallerists, take note. -Sarah Fisch


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