San Antonio photographer Anthony Garcia holding First Friday show of rock 'n' roll-inspired portraits

Garcia shot 100 black-and-white portraits of musicians, visual artists and other creatives during socially distanced sessions in the middle of the pandemic.

click to enlarge Anthony Garcia shows off his portrait work. - Facebook / Jojodancerphotography
Facebook / Jojodancerphotography
Anthony Garcia shows off his portrait work.
San Antonio rock-scene veteran Anthony Garcia will show his black-and-white portrait photography in a First Friday exhibition centered around visual art from local musicians.

Garcia's contributions include some of the 100 black-and-white portraits he shot of local musicians, visual artists and other creatives during socially distanced sessions in the middle of the pandemic. He snapped the photos in his Jojodancerphotography Studio upstairs at Blue Star Art Complex, which is also hosting the exhibition.

"Basically, I had the keys to the place, and all of my artist friends weren't working, so it seemed like a way to stay creative," said Garcia, 52. "The whole vibe at the time was weird."

Garcia's pandemic portraits are moody, dramatic and exude the energy of rock band promo photos, something accentuated by Garcia urging his subjects to don denim and leather. They're also square like album covers, further driving home the musical connection.

"The whole black-and-white situation puts me in a rock 'n' roll mindset," Garcia said.

click to enlarge This photo of fellow First Friday exhibitor Fred Himes is among Garcia's pandemic portraits. - Anthony Garcia
Anthony Garcia
This photo of fellow First Friday exhibitor Fred Himes is among Garcia's pandemic portraits.
The show is Garcia's first formal exhibition as a photographer, a pursuit he's doubled down on since retiring earlier this summer from a 33-year career at UPS. Also included in the show are works by San Antonio musicians and visual artists Karl James Lubbering and Fred Himes; New York-based artist, illustrator and painter Michael Wally Olivarri; and Alamo City painter Eric J. Lozano.

A reception scheduled for Friday also includes musical performances from some of the participants.

The rock 'n' roll vibe of the show and the portraits stem from Garcia's participation in the city's live music scene. He played with the band Moorish Idol in '90s and more recently in La Chichada.

Indeed, Garcia's rep as a rocker predates his serious pursuit of photography. He began snapping photos at shows and doing band portraits about seven years ago in an effort to capture the visual energy of the local music scene.

"I would go see Sons of Hercules and nobody would be photographing them," he said. "I just thought, 'This is San Antonio at its finest and no one is documenting it!'"

Free, 5-10 p.m., Friday, July 1, artist reception 4-8 p.m. Saturday, July 2, Jojodancerphotography Studio, 1414 S. Alamo St., facebook.com/jojodancerphotos-116619393068018.

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