When his family lived in Cleveland, Ohio, Antonio Becker recalls going with his musician father while he was playing shows at a local bookstore. Becker’s grandfather was a studio drummer, his father plays guitar and sings in rock ‘n’ roll and blues bands, and his mother is a prolific oil painter. It’s no surprise that he developed a range of artistic interests.
“When (my father) was playing, they would let me read whatever I wanted and sometimes take books,” he says of this bookstore. “All of a sudden I had access to books on music, religion, civil rights, science, meditation. I think sitting in the big chair and reading these books among these people has guided not only the desire to make music but many other aspects of my life. I distinctly remember reading that same week, at a fairly young age, an autobiography by Mumia (Abu-Jamal, the political activist and writer convicted of the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer and sentenced to death) and a book on zazen meditation. It was up!”
These interests and influences have led him to his most recent work at Good Faith Gallery, where he co-owns the gallery/workspace/commercial establishment in Sherman Heights with business partner Lisa Piper. They opened the space in 2018 to provide artists with a place to learn, grow and create, while also showcasing work they were interested in and hoped others would be interested in too . Their space showcases the work of artists, hosts musicians and charity events, and provides private studio space for working artists and rehearsal spaces for musicians. They host a monthly night market event at the Quartyard and recently started their bi-weekly summer art school program, which runs through September.
Becker, 31, lives in Sherman Heights with his dog Butch and took some time to talk about his creative family and background, his vision of Good Faith and learning to believe in and realize each individual’s talents and contributions. to speak.
Q: Why did you want to open and run a gallery?
A: I’ve always wanted to be creative and work for myself, but to be honest the endgame was a bit vague. My dream has always been to open an alternative art school – a place where people can share their skills and knowledge, wreak havoc, be loud and where everything is fine. I suppose that’s still my dream and in many ways it has come true. Now the goal is to build on that and bring the brand to more cities outside of San Diego.
Q: Why was it important to you to provide workspaces for other artists?
A: When we opened the workspace, the goal was to create an environment where artists and creatives could share their skills in a collaborative work environment. Whether you want to create a video, take a photo, record a song, or make a t-shirt, you can actually do it in the Good Faith workspace. We want to create more than just a job, but a cooperative environment, a team.
Q: You’ve said in part that you wanted to create a safe place for other artists to learn, create and grow. What difference does having such a space make when creating art?
A: This can go a bit far, but if a seed is planted in the wrong conditions, it will not grow. If given the right place, not only will she achieve her ultimate expression of a flower, but she will also produce seeds that leave potential for a flower field. There are so many of the “false conditions” available to us at any given moment, but very few places where we can ditch them and simply thrive. I like to think that we’re helping people really thrive, and in the process they’re encouraging that freedom in others.
What I love about Sherman Heights…
I really love Grant Hill Park and can walk to a lot of the places I like. TNT Pizza, Mortis Studio and Good Faith are all near my house. Everything works. It’s a nice little area for me and Butch!
Q: How has creating Good Faith helped you learn, create, and grow in your own artistic expression?
A: I think it made me who I am now. It showed me what I’m capable of and helped me build a lot of confidence in my ideas. I think that’s the point I wanted to make with the flower analogy – confidence and belief in your ideas are not separate. When you have a place where your ideas are received and well received, it builds confidence in your ability to take the next one.
Q: Where did your interest in art and music come from?
A: Honestly it’s hard to say. When I was growing up, my mother made beautiful oil paintings and I don’t think they should ever be sold. She made them to hang around our house or just to paint. Observing and imitating them meant I always had a sketchbook or something to draw with. I can’t really remember a time when art and music weren’t interests. The first time I remember really interacting with music was in a Bed, Bath, and Beyond; I heard “Pachelbel’s Canon” and cried.
Q: What was it about your mother’s oil paintings that made you want to try your hand at creating your own fine art?
A: I don’t think it was her pictures, it was her support. To be completely honest, I find painting endlessly frustrating. I don’t know how they or other painters do what they do. Perhaps the fact that I can’t take care of it is why I’m drawn to exhibiting it. This talent is something I look forward to if I have the opportunity to show it.
Q: What music does your father play?
A: My dad plays rock ‘n’ roll and blues, and he plays guitar and sings in a band now. Growing up, I mostly listened to drums and guitar. I think he was influenced by some classical guitarists like Al Di Meola and Paco de Lucia. Seeing him play like that stuck with me. I don’t think he’s aware of it, but I think he’s one of the best guitarists I’ve seen play to date. His game has a certain freedom.
Q: How would you describe the influence your parents had on who you became as a visual artist and musician?
A: I suppose I was never talked out of the practicality of art while watching them both work hard at careers outside of their creative pursuits to provide for our family. I was never told that art cannot be a profession. My sister Brittany works in fashion and has always been interested in it, so I think we’ve just always had the freedom to pursue our creative interests as career paths.
Q: What has been the challenge of your work leading Good Faith?
A: Of course, capital is hard for most startups. Everything we did was do-it-yourself and a lot of it was funded directly by us. Additionally, we all have some idea of who we are and what we’re capable of, and I think most of us downplay that image. Realizing how great you are and how necessary your ideas are is a big challenge. Forgetting what you’ve made yourself believe about yourself is a big challenge, but it’s worth pursuing.
Q: What was worthwhile about this work?
A: Honestly pretty much everything. I have met so many great people through my work and have been able to call them friends. I’m surrounded by supportive people and I have the opportunity to give that back. It’s a beautiful thing and I really love to feel good about what I’m doing. I believe that what Good Faith represents is something positive. It feels good to call this work.
Q: What has this work taught you about yourself?
A: I don’t know that this has to be a lesson about myself, but it taught me that even a seemingly outlandish idea is very plausible and usually worth pursuing. Don’t doubt yourself for a second, and when you do, still commit to implementing your ideas. I think the regret of not pursuing an idea is greater than committing to a bad one and moving on.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: The advice I use most often is that when things get really tough, just put your head down and focus on making your situation better for a month, three months, or six months. Then raise your head again when that amount of time has passed and things will almost always be exponentially better.
Q: What would surprise people if they found out about you?
A: I’m quite an open person, so I don’t really know if I have anything surprising to say here. Before I played drums or guitar, I played french horn.
Q: Please describe your ideal weekend in San Diego.
A: I love hiking and camping, so I think my ideal weekend in San Diego is to camp with friends somewhere in the Cleveland National Forest. I’m a bit of a couch potato, but when I go out I like to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. And I really love the San Diego Zoo.