Rendon Retrato: Michael Mehl

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Michael Mehl, artist, photographer, community organizer. Portrait by Al Rendon

Michael Mehl, artist, photographer, community organizer. Portrait by Al Rendon

Michael Mehl, artist, photographer, community organizer. Portrait by Al Rendon

Fotoseptiembre is an international festival of photographic arts located in and around San Antonio. We have two elements: the physical presence of the exhibits and a digital resource and archive of photographic arts.

We have an interest in increasing the community’s understanding of professionalism in the arts, not only in photography, but in all kinds of media. This contextual problem we have applies to all kinds of arts. San Antonio has an easy lifestyle for those of us who live here, but it lacks a competitive edge. It’s a legacy of our economic history. It’s an easy place to live for an artist, an easy place to produce art, but there isn’t the kind of dynamic market that will support the kind of values and prices that will sustain a career in arts. It’s part of the political environment, part of the educational environment.

I’m not saying that San Antonio is sub-par, but there hasn’t been a coalescing of economics in the arts that will lead to the a more dynamic and creative environment.

San Antonio is growing a community of entrepreneurs and creative businesses that could influence this trend. When you have it easy, there’s no need to be dynamic, so you don’t have to be competitive. I am seeing a change – there’s something new on the horizon. It could be due to a generational shift, I’m personally looking forward to how it will play out.

–Michael Mehl, artist, photographer, and cofounder of Fotoseptiembre

 Read More: Fotoseptiembre IXX: Artists in Color, Black & White

Al Rendon is San Antonio’s photographer, born and raised here and known for iconic photographs of the city and its culture. Al is an active Southtown gallery owner as well as an art and commercial photographer. Check out more of his work at


More Rendon Retratos:

Ricardo Romo

Diego Bernal

Lori Houston

Naomi Shihab Nye

Davis Sprinkle

Patricia González Maass

Bill Sinkin

Jorge Cortez

Veronica Prida

Robert Tatum


3 thoughts on “Rendon Retrato: Michael Mehl

  1. I don’t know. I think it started during the great recession. People were down on their luck and they needed alternatives to the 9-5 they were used to.

    C4 Workspace may have started the game. They attracted quite a bit of people on down to their Southtown location and those people came from all parts of town.

    Southtown and First Friday made things much easier for people to enjoy the arts and spur creative thinking.

    Sweb Development is probably the first tech company downtown looking to take advantage of the next step in the digital age.

    Rackspace is probably the most recent player with Geekdom. They managed to get everyone together and keep people together instead of spread apart. I believe the beginning of Geekdom was hatched from the minds of some key players from Trinity. 3 Day Startup may have had a role to play as well, IDK.

    I tried and I tried to do it to no avail. I didn’t have the resources or the time to devote to getting people together. It still seems as though there are some holdouts. I’m one of them. I am more worried about those holdouts, the creative thinkers who wish to stand apart or those who just have their own reasons for staying away.

    I would like to spread this. Geekdom, Geekbus, The Rivard Report, Awesome SA, LOOP, and others are doing well to spread the excitement but it isn’t enough. This city needs a more scattershot approach. We need an approach that is decentralized. It seems Geekdom, its members and others in that circle are trying to carry the whole load. It doesn’t have to be that way.

    C4 and 10BitWorks look like they’re doing their own thing. That’s good. We need more of that. We need people on the East, on the West, on the South, on the North, in Floresville, in Castroville, in La Vernia, and everywhere in between.

    I look forward to it as well!

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