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Paper Trail SA, now in its fifth year, is a two-day event dedicated to showcasing contemporary works of art and design on paper while connecting artists and designers directly with the community.
Equal parts party, art show, and printed goods sale, the event begins Friday, July 12, at Brick at Blue Star Arts Complex with a night market at 7 p.m. that provides attendees a chance to see and purchase pieces early. The day market begins the following day at 11 a.m.
Featuring work from an eclectic variety of artist-vendors, Paper Trail’s offerings include hand-lettered typography, relief prints, lithographs, etchings, digital prints, stickers, zines, and screen prints. This year’s lineup of local and regional talent features more than 50 artists. You can see the full artist list and view select work samples via papertrailsa.net.
“There will be a lot of first-time Paper Trail artists this year, and some even from other cities driving all the way in just to display their wares,” said Zane Thomas, who co-founded the event with Lauren Salguero.
Thomas came to San Antonio in 2015 after spending 10 years doing design and printmaking work in Austin, saying he decided a change was in order.
Having perceived a dearth of action in the local printmaking and design scene, Thomas saw “a lot of opportunity in San Antonio” for something like “a convention focusing on printmaking.”
With his knowledge of the design industry and Salguero’s “skills in event planning,” the first Paper Trail was staged in 2015. It was shortly after Thomas founded his own local design company, Black Moon Print.
Thomas is proud of how Paper Trail has progressed. For him, the greatest joys of putting on Paper Trail are directly connected to his own experiences as an artist.
Thomas said he enjoys “seeing people coming in and leaving happy with new affordable art for their houses and having met artists that they may or may not have been aware of, as well as artists meeting more of their peers and being able to cultivate and engage with new buyers.”
For returning Paper Trail artist Regina Morales of San Antonio, the best part of the show is “seeing so many great artists’ work and talking to them in person – versus just liking all their work on social media,” she said, laughing.
In the past, she has ended up buying plenty of work from other artists.
“Everyone puts on their A-game,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of new works just for Paper Trail.”
As seems to be a common practice for participating artists, Morales’ strategy for selling is offering affordable price points on smaller items.
“As a parent, my budget is always tight, so going into selling things I keep that in mind,” she said. “I would rather have someone get a ton of my stuff for 20 dollars than [have them] walk away empty-handed and bummed.”
As Paper Trail marks five years, Thomas is looking to the future.
“I hope to continue to offer a flagship convention for the printmaking community here in San Antonio that just keeps getting better and better every year,” he said.