Best Of 2015

Sam Lerma

Self-taught filmmaker and educator Sam Lerma has proven himself a capable director and screenwriter over the past six years, but it's his most recent short film, Squeezebox, that debuted at the 37th Annual CineFestival in February, which confirms his originality, imagination and artistic sensibility. "I believe a good storyteller can entertain their audience while still remaining true to the art of cinema," Lerma told the San Antonio Current. A film production teacher at the Film School of San Antonio at Harlandale High School for five years, Lerma, who is originally from Harlingen, made his first official short film in 2009. Titled Trash Day, the 3.5-minute dark comedy was accepted into the South by Southwest Film Festival. He followed the film with two short family dramas, Lilia in 2011 and Flutter the following year. While Lerma enjoys making short projects, there could be a full-length film in the near future for him. "I have been using the short film format to sharpen my skills ... but it isn't where I want to stay. Shooting Squeezebox has pushed me to that next level." Lerma said he has started outlining concepts for a feature and hopes to "flex [his] filmmaking muscles" and use this summer to write. "I'm excited about exploring the ideas I have and am ready to tackle the next big challenge."


Pablo Veliz

Scott Martin

Developing a recognizable aesthetic can be one of the biggest challenges for an artist, but celebrated local photographer Scott Martin has done so with flying colors. Although he also shoots people, interiors and abandoned buildings, Martin is arguably best known for his distinctive night photography. Created via high-resolution digital equipment, light painting techniques and hours-long exposures, these images turn already dramatic landscapes into something verging on the otherworldly. From stars visibly moving though the sky to perplexing shadows, nighttime through Martin's lens maintains a cinematic, supernatural quality. A 2013 recipient of the Artist Foundation of San Antonio's Department of Culture and Creative Development Award for Media Arts, Martin stood out among the highlights of last year's Fotoseptiembre favorite "Altering Space." Beyond the gallery walls, readers may have seen Martin's project Day & Night — a time-lapse video shot in the high desert — on display at Tacos and Tequila. In addition to personal endeavors, Martin has been teaching photography workshops for two decades. Covering everything from full moon night photography to working with Adobe Lightroom, these creative sessions take shape throughout Texas as well as iconic landscape destinations such as Moab, Utah and Death Valley, California.


Mark Menjivar

Sarah Brooke Lyons

Daniela Riojas

Lorena Angulo

If you're plugged into the local art scene or pay close attention to the San Antonio Current, the name Lorena Angulo won't be unfamiliar. Born in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico and based in San Antonio since 2003, Angulo nods to Mexican culture and folk art via wearable works she crafts from sterling silver, mixed media and metal clay (a moldable medium containing particles of precious metals). Often and aptly described as "soulful," her pieces demonstrate both a reverence for tradition and an innovative approach to design. Flaming hearts, trees of life, milagros, birds, butterflies and skulls all stand out as hallmarks of Angulo's eclectic aesthetic. In 2014, she published Behind the Brooch — a book celebrating the curious intricacies found on the backsides of brooches. Also the subject of an exhibition, the book spotlights 128 artists while exploring jewelry from an unusual perspective. An adjunct faculty member at the Southwest School of Art, Angulo is a regular presence at Fiesta Arts Fair and sells her work locally at Kathleen Sommers and the gift shop at the San Antonio Museum of Art.


Alejandro Sifuentes

Laura Quiñones

Pieter Sypesteyn
The Cookhouse
720 E. Mistletoe Ave.
(210) 320-8211

Though it may seem logical for Best Chef to mirror the Best New Restaurant category, San Anto's culinary boom makes it hard to choose just one best of anything. Yet, the case for Sypesteyn is simple. He and partner-in-crime Susan Sypesteyn are restaurant owners beloved by eaters and service industry members; he plays well with others (as an active member of the Alamo City Provisions roving dinner series with buddy chefs John Russ of Lüke, Elise Broz of Houston Street Charities, Diego Galicia, Rico Torres and Jesse Torres of Mixtli, and Luis Morales of Humble House Foods); and most importantly of all, the guy can cook. He shows versatility by serving up both classic N'awlins favorites and modern takes on the Crescent City's fare, and his sauce skillz (yes, they're THAT good) often go unmatched. If the guy's got an ego, we've yet to see it ... or maybe we're too busy stuffing ourselves with crispy duck, gumbo and charbroiled oysters? Folc fans can attest to chef Luis Colon's exuberant take on modern American from his roasted chicken with zesty chimichurri, to his badass brunch. They help tide us over while we wait for his next concept, Alumina.


Luis Colon
226 E. Olmos Dr.
(210) 822-0100