50 Days of Artpace: We All Begin Somewhere (Week 1)

Thursday, June 9th

Same morning routine as always. Woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast,  and watched Cereal Time. Got my stuff packed and I was out the door. Mom drove me to the bus stop and I waited on the bus.

I was feeling pretty good today on the way out the door so I took a picture of myself. After all, the sun was shining and I looked a little better than usual so, a picture was in order.

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Hey! I’m wearing white today!

Waiting at the bus stop, today it was quiet. Nothing really special happened. I mean, I tried to make conversation with one of the people sitting on the bench next to me. Although, it didn’t go very far. You know how hard it can be to talk to complete strangers.

Well, the bus came and I got on. I swiped my card, sat down and just enjoyed the ride on the way over to downtown. Once I got off the bus, I headed for Artpace.

On the way there, I spotted another interesting sight so I took a picture.

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A set of doors. Why is this interesting? I don’t know.

Then, I got to Artpace. I couldn’t help but actually notice the building itself today so I took a picture. Honestly, from far away (and close-up) it’s pretty awesome! Almost looks like a warehouse in some fashion really. A colorful warehouse.

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Artpace. How lovely you are…

Then I got to the front entrance and I took another picture.

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I find myself waiting outside these doors more often than I’d like.

I find myself patiently (actually not really) waiting outside of its doors every weekday at 8:40 AM. However, I thankfully wasn’t waiting for very long. Ray came by to let me in.

Now, I just gotta tell you something quick about Ray. Ray is awesome! He may be the technician in the building (a.k.a. janitor) but he’s always got my back! I mean, there were days when I was outside waiting as early as 8:25 AM but Ray is always around to let me in. He even unlocked my office for me today so I could get in before 9 AM! How nice!

Once I got inside, I set my stuff down. As with yesterday, I picked back up doing the cataloguing that Scott needed me to do. I found the time to really notice the Legos that are in the bucket on my desk. They came complimentary with the office!

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As long as they’ve been in my office, I’ve never touched them.

Before I knew it, it was 10:30 AM. I wasn’t working on the catalog for very long because I had to attend the V.I.P. “Window Works” premiere for the new Window Works artist: Ramin Samandari.

Now Ramin is an interesting guy. Like me, he is a photographer. He’s based in San Antonio but he actually immigrated from the Middle East. From what I could get from his work at first glance, he’s interested in the human condition, and expressions. Whatever mental capacities that could be shown, he is drawn to.

Although, the most unexpected thing happened! I ran into Tommy! You know, Tommy from my days at Say Si! I hadn’t seen him in over 9 years since I was in middle school! How crazy is that?

I wanted to catch up with him but, the session for Ramin was starting so we couldn’t really catch up. But what I did manage to get out was that I was sorry that he had to deal with 11-year-old me. Honestly, I was a stuck-up kid. He happily laughed it off though and he told me he’s no longer with Say Si.

But then the session began. The V.I.P. session started inside but quickly moved outside where his work was supposed to be viewed from. (That’s why it’s called “Window Works.”) Taylor started the session by giving an introduction but then Ramin quickly took over.

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That’s Taylor on the left and Ramin on the right. His work is behind them.

He started discussing his work (much like an artist’s talk.)

Sidenote: An artist’s talk is basically a seminar where the public comes to gather before an artist so that the artist can discuss their work and answer any questions the public may have about their life, the ideas, etc.

I remember his saying that he wanted to create an archive of artists in the San Antonio area along with examining the expressions which emerge from letting your guard down. Then the conversation switched to questions and answers.

I didn’t have anything to really say. I just sat there and listened to the interesting conversation. It was also kinda hard to hear the conversation because we were out on the street in downtown San Antonio. Horns, sirens and swaying trees are everywhere!

Eventually, we did move inside to get a closer look at the work itself. Now, in my head, I was geek-ing out. I was looking at the quality of his photographs. I couldn’t help it.

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A close up of Ramin’s work from the inside.

Now, I have to give Ramin props for having great work. The portraits were wonderful. They are crisp and sharp, the print quality is high-resolution, and even better, Ramin prints the photographs himself! Much respect to you sir!

Eventually, after looking at the work really closely, I found myself with a question that I did want to ask. So I went up to Ramin and I essentially asked him this: “Is your work about the psychological or about the archival?”

What he told me, from what I remember, was that it was both. While he is archiving the artists in the San Antonio area, he is also examining the psychology of expression among different people. He told me that what I was seeing at Artpace is only a fraction of the total number of images for his collection.

See, there’s about 50 images in the Window Works space, but the projects spans 200+ images! His work is going to be exhibited publicly in the downtown San Antonio area, where total strangers can interact with it at will. It’s going to be outside so it will be much like a public artwork.

After that lovely interaction, I stepped away and spoke with Hyland. We were discussing the artwork and we found great pleasure in it. It was honestly pretty fun! We also touched on how we both knew Tommy. Seems that Hyland too, was also a Say Si “graduate.” Man, how small the world is.

Then, I had to get back to work. I went back to my office. Chris (the one who would be leaving tomorrow), Hyland and Zaneta all came into my office shortly after. Apparently, Hyland was going to be taking over Chris’s desk tomorrow and we were all just kinda slacking off. Granted, it was a sad thing that we were talking about so I can kinda understand why it was being addressed.

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Well, that’s Chris (the one who works in my office.) Aww… He’ll be gone tomorrow.

The conversation didn’t last long though. I got back to cataloguing the Fall 1999 binder for Scott after they left. It actually wasn’t too long before I finished. I managed to get through the rest of it before lunch!

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I laid out my clothes for the week. I don’t want to think more than I have to.
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My dear Excel file. How I don’t miss you that much.

As soon as I informed Scott that I had finished, he looked over my work just to make sure I was doing things right. He was actually a little surprised I managed to finish cataloguing the binder so quickly. But, to his surprise and pride, I had turned in pretty much flawless work. (Gold star for me!)

Then, he handed me the next binder, Winter of 1999. Well, I got right to work on that one too. Of course, I couldn’t help but be amazed by all of the information contained inside of its being! I tell you, cataloguing can have its perks sometimes!

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Hello… Um, have we met Winter of 1999? I don’t think so.

Before I knew it, 4:30 PM had arrived. Time just flies so fast when you’ve got so much to be doing. In the middle of working, I heard over the intercom (I didn’t even know Artpace had an intercom) for all employees to report to the conference room for Scott’s birthday.

Oh snap! I didn’t know it was Scott’s birthday today! Well, I got out of my seat and I trotted to the conference room. Now when I got there, everyone else was already there. Scott was standing over his birthday cake with a little “Happy Birthday” hat on.

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Aww… Scott looks so bashful don’t he?

Honestly, he looked adorable, even though he hated having that hat on! (I was laughing inside though.) We sang him Happy Birthday, as is custom, and then dove into his cake. Man, that cake was so bomb! I mean, I’m not a huge chocolate cake fan but this chocolate cake took the, well, cake!

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Man that cake was MOIST! I’m not even a fan of chocolate like that but it was good!

Sitting around and eating the cake with everyone gave me a chance to really look at everyone too. Of course, I took some pictures on the sly because it would help me remember them better. Honestly, I was struggling to remember everyone’s name and not get confused!

I started with Anthony Rundblade. He’s a Studio Technician. He helps put together the spaces for artists’ work to go in.

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The first time I met Anthony was on my first day actually. He was hanging up Ramin’s work in the Window Works space. So I wanted to be nice so I said hello but he was a bit busy so all I really got out of him was a “hi.” Then again, if I was on a ladder hanging up one-of-a-kind photographic prints, I would be focused on the job too!

Then there’s Chris Castillo. He’s the Administrative Assistant (a.k.a. the one who runs the front desk, opens the front door, and redirects all of the calls Artpace receives.)

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The first time I met Chris was on my first day. He was at the front desk as he always is. I made small talk by saying hello and things of that nature. We didn’t really talk because Chris is on the reserved side but he’s definitely a good person.

Then there’s Amy Austin. She’s the manager of the Director’s office & Residency program. She works closely with Veronique.

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I met Amy on the first day when we conducted the orientation tour of the building. Amy seemed really sweet but also very serious. I mean, there’s a sternness about her that I just can’t seem to get over. It’s strange. But still, she’s so sweet and nice.

Then there’s Veronique Le Melle. She’s the Executive Director (a.k.a. Head Honcho) and she don’t play around! (most of the time anyway…)

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Veronique, I have an interesting relationship with. The thing is, I’ve been avoiding her since meeting her on the first day and that’s because I could not remember her name! I just couldn’t remember it and I didn’t want to screw it up or ask her for it either. But honestly, although she can seem intimidating, she’s very funny, loose, and she get’s things done!

Interesting thing about her is that she’s from New Orleans. I’ve never been to New Orleans but she definitely speaks highly of it. Perhaps that’s why her nature is a little intimidating. She’s got the mouth of a sailor I tell ya! Of course, she’s completely proper when the situation calls for.

Next is Natalia Rodriguez. She’s the Grants Manager for Artpace.

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Natalia is the one right next to me. Hyland is beside her.

Natalia, funny enough, I also couldn’t get her name right for a while! But then she told me a little something that made me remember her name. She told me that she likes Nutella. I immediately though “Natalia likes Nutella” to help me remember and it’s worked ever since.

She’s so sweet I tell ya. She’s upstairs and away from the public most of the time but she’s awesome. I met her on my second day at Artpace and well, we all know how that day went.

Next I laid eyes on Taylor Bates. She’s the Director of Programs & Exhibitions. Honestly, I can’t tell you exactly what she does but I know she does her job well!

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I met Taylor weeks in advance before getting the job. She’s the one who interviewed me for the position actually. When I met her then, I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about her because she was sweet but also was judging my worth to get the position.

Well, now that I have the position and we are colleagues, she’s even sweeter! Yes, she’s awesome! I don’t get to really see her because I’m working with Scott and Zaneta all the time but she’s totally worth getting to know.

Lastly, there’s Scott Williams, my direct supervisor and Director of Archives & Communications. He does all the archiving and works with Artpace’s public “face” to make it inviting.

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Don’t he look like a chubby dad? Like, he just looks like a dad don’t he?

Scott, well, I met on the first day of the job. We went to lunch together but I didn’t know at the time I would be working with him. (I thought I’d be working with Taylor.) But I’ve worked with him over the past few days and he’s OK. Honestly, I’m a bit hesitant around him because he’s super relaxed but then switches to this really serious mode in like two seconds if need be. I’m careful  around him. Hopefully, I’ll ease up around him. I just don’t wanna disappoint him really.

Then, just like that, 5 PM was here. We all left the conference room, went to our offices and locked up for the day. I put the Winter of 1999 binder in my cabinet and locked it away so I didn’t have to go get it from archives. I locked up my office and I was out the door.

I strolled to the bus stop and waited on the bus. I took some time to jot down some thoughts in my journal but other than that, I waited patiently. I really was craving to take my camera down here with me so I could snap away to my heart’s desire.

The bus showed up at about 5:15 PM as it’s supposed to. I got on and for some reason, I felt like taking a picture so I did. You know the bus can be so interesting if you let your mind wander. Or maybe that’s just me. I dunno.

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Random bus shot.

Funny thing though, I noticed the same lady from yesterday on the bus sitting across from me! Not all that important but it was kinda cool to see her again.

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Hey! I saw you yesterday! And now you’re back again!

But like the days before, I ended up back at my morning bus stop and day 4 of being an intern was done with.

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