We had the good fortune of connecting with Jose Antonio Santana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jose Antonio, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I never wanted to start a business. What I did want to do: Was create. So… I used empathy and my ability to connect with others easily, and started applying towards creative services that I knew would allow me those opportunities. My intent when I started my “business” was based on the sole experience of connection. Whether that be the viewer of my artwork, the client who received the service, or my own fulfilment. Call it cliché, I know I do! But it’s what works for me. So I’ll keep doing it until the day it doesn’t – then I’ll find something else to drive me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There has always been, and always will be a lot of work to get done. In the beginning, it was learning the process and acquiring the skills. Then it was seeing all the different things that I can do with those skills and what that meant for me and my creative services. Somewhere along the way, a rhythm was built. Nowadays I find myself back at the beginning: Learning the process and acquiring the skills. If there’s anything i’ve learned it’s that there will always be exterior challenges that you will have to deal with – those unfortunately are out of your control. The only thing you can control is how you treat and speak to yourself. Help yourself, by learning how to nurture yourself. If you’re someone like me – who feels the need to nurture everyone else before themselves – this was one of my biggest challenges. I guess what I’m trying to say is that – there has been no linear growth – and the growth that’s truly helped me be who I am has been within. Yes, there’s the exterior growth that is presented through my work, skills, and knowledge – but the true growth that happened was within. It took years of self-care, love, acceptance, trust and patience with myself to not only create a set of services that resonates with others – but to continue doing so.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
YES! Okay, first off – immediately looking up room rates on HotelTonight – they’ve got a tiered system that offers you discount rates based on how often you’ve booked with them. (HotelTonight please sponsor me!) DAY ONE Book a room at The Hoxton, DTLA. On the way from the airport to the hotel, we pick up some to go cocktails and tacos from Geurilla Tacos. Immediately drop off our bags in the rooms after check-in, and head to the rooftop pool to try and snag a day bed. Drinks at the pool until sunset. A quick trip back to the room to shower, change, and head back up to the rooftop to eat at Pilot. Back to the room for in-room cocktails and sleepover activities (it is a pandemic after all) Order late night delivery from Sonoratown on 8th. DAY TWO THE LOS ANGELES FLOWER DISTRICT! (because we’re basic) After a few hours of plant shopping, it’s time for some food at The Grand Central Market. Pack up our hotel room belongings and head to the next stay at The Hollywood Roosevelt – because why not? Another afternoon poolside followed by an evening in The Spare Room, located in an old spare room. Pass out early after one too many gin martinis. Fin. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I definitely wouldn’t be anywhere without the community of supporters, peers, mentors, and loved ones that have continuously pushed me to be who I am today. Every step of the way I have been so grateful to have made a connection with someone that has expanded who I am. I thank my mentors through the years; Jared, Eliott, Kelly, and Alesha – who have seen me grow as an artist (basically) step by step. I thank Peter, Stephanie, and Julia – who pushed my communication skills and taught me how to lead with empathy. I thank my partner, Zack, who let me quit my job without a plan and supported my decision to find fulfillment through creative work. I thank my mom who has always been the support system I’ve needed.
Images Courtesy of Eliott Montero of side-work.co and Maxwell Xavier Hernandez of instagram.com/mxhphoto