San Antonio and Daily Digital Image from San Antonio, TX
Bexar County Line dot com is a photo-weblog. It’s part of a series of websites that aim to show a slice of life in individual locations. What the images are, digital prints of San Antonio icons, San Antonio every day life, and points, images, of interest.
It’s like, there’s a huge clash of culture, Mexican, Hispanic, Latino, Anglo, Germanic, the elements fragment and coalesce in new forms. The traditional is realigned with non-traditional.
Melting pot of the Americas? It’s no coincidence that a major landmark is called, “The Tower of the Americas.”
While, as the artist, I am native Texan, I’m not from this region of Texas. The original appeal, like anyone not from here, was the tourist factor. But scrape away at the facade of the tourist layer, there’s a beautiful, colorful world that lies beneath the surface. Part of the goal is to scrape away at that thin patina of tourist glitz and find what’s hidden underneath.
It’s breakfast tacos, it’s food with it concomitant sights, sounds and smells, the collective miasma that makes San Antonio so colorful and rich.
Bexar County Line dot com, it’s not like a traditional medium. It’s a digital version, only. It’s not a coffee table book, not that some of the images wouldn’t be good like that, it’s just that the limits — and inspiration — can be, for example, a cell phone camera. While that’s more than adequate for a website, it doesn’t always lend itself to commercial exploitation. It does, however lend itself readily to the digital medium.
Bexar County Line (dot com) started, as much as anything, as a joke. Tired of the Austin City Limits, I’ve found that Bexar County offers a much more diverse cultural milieu. Not all arts are supported but there is an appreciation of the arts. While deep in the south side on another culinary adventure, I was having lunch with office friends, I looked up and pointed out that the sign for a tacqueria, the apostrophe at the end of the name? It was painted as a tiny jalepeño pepper.
My friend, an obvious Latina, “I never saw that.”
Which illustrates the perspective I bring to the work. I’m not a photographer. No formal training, no informal training, and that’s not the point. It’s point and click, see what I saw. Raw images, and thinking that every posting, every day, is going to be good? Very unlikely. However, in a given week, maybe in the span of five days or less, there will be images, some culled from years ago, and some as recent as the day before, and out of that batch, one or more will speak to certain elements.
There is a reverence, joy and glee that I bring to this task. I’ve lived both in Texas, other Southwestern states, and overseas. No where have I ever found a place that inspires awe, wonder, and excitement, every day.
Clearly, part of that is my outsider heritage. Part is artistic sentiment. Part, though, is a sense and wonder and awe that San Antonio — and its environment — inspires.
It’s a coastal town with no ocean. It’s a border town with no border. It is a college town, and yet, despite all the academic schools? Doesn’t feel like a college town. The military is a constant presence, as well.
There’s an abandoned Humble Oils “gas station,” around the corner from my post office. It’s captured, not only my imagination, but numerous other artists. Mostly photographers, and I’ve encountered a half dozen or more, trying to capture the essence of the place, its emblematic sign, mostly intact.
There’s a mosaic, under a bridge, along the Riverwalk, just a block or two north of Houston Street. In the middle of one mosaic, there’s a drain-pipe cover, incorporated into the design. An artistic feature, in plain sight, and yet missed by many.
San Antonio is Big Red and Barbacoa — every day. It’s tacos and colorful murals. It’s religious icons, especially The Virgin of Guadalupe. Depends which way the wind blows, but it can be the smell of German baking, BBQ, or a tortilla factory. Or the tacqueria down the street with grease and grilled meat, flour tortillas hot off the comal.
Flanking the downtown UTSA campus, there are two abandoned grain silos. Some “urban art” has found its way into the building, but by and large, they are merely intact relics.
All of this marks and makes San Antonio what it is, a gateway to South Texas, a world-class city with a small-town feel. A hometown that welcomes outsiders.
San Antonio never ceases to inspire.