Expat Spotlight: Greg Reitman, Yo San Miguel Gallery
Greg, where are you from, and how did you end up in San Miguel?
I grew up in a small town in central New Jersey called Cranford, and after college I moved to Manhattan, where I lived for about 15 years. During that time, I met my wife Erica. After years in Manhattan, we got married and moved to a neighborhood in Brooklyn called Park Slope.
I was working in marketing full-time for about a decade after graduating from Ithaca College in 1998... Mostly at startups, corporate jobs, and at a few agencies. I was doing everything from search engine marketing, analytics, PR, strategy, and social media. But in 2008, everything changed. I fell in love with video and editing after taking a documentary editing class. I basically started over in a completely different field in my early 30’s.
I worked in the editing field for a few years in NY, and it was during that time that we felt like we were ready for a change. There is so much more opportunity in Los Angeles for editing work. So, we made the move to California, and while living in LA for about five years, we ended up taking a couple of weeklong trips to San Miguel. We loved the architecture, culture, artist scene, and of course the people.
Around the summer of 2018, we came with the intention of possibly moving here. My wife Erica does coaching now, but used to do a lot of interior design work and is super active on instagram. (Check out Erica’s instagram here). She found Christine Martin from The Good Abode (featured on the blog here) on Instagram and contacted her to find out what was going on in San Miguel interior design wise. They scheduled a call and really hit it off. Then when we came to visit in June, we got to hang out with her in person, and she shared with us the whole experience of how great it is here.
By October, that was it. We were able to Air BNB our home in Los Angeles, so we decided to take a chance and officially move. As soon as we got down here, Christine introduced us to a whole new crew of people that first week, and then someone hosted a dinner party for us the second weekend we were here. The community part was so nice. There is an amazing, vibrant community of creatives in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, and we were excited to be part of that.
Tell us about your new venture Yo San Miguel and what inspired you to open this gallery.
After visiting different galleries here, what really surprised me was that so much of the art in the local galleries was from artists outside of San Miguel. There is such a big artist community locally with people doing such interesting things that it surprised me that artists from here weren’t being represented. So, I decided to start an Instagram account called @Yo.SanMigueldeAllende (check it out here).
It was a really simple concept with the intention of starting an online community of local artists. I found artists who live here, interviewed them, and featured their portfolio of work. People really responded to it, and by month two, I had interviewed about fifteen artists and filmed several videos of people in their studios painting or doing other things I felt people would find interesting.
I had always thought it would be really amazing to have an art gallery, but I lived in big cities like New York and LA where the rent alone in those places is astronomical. My friend Jamie Pesanti from Mercado Collective (see feature here) was moving her shop to this really big space at Jesus 27 and had additional spots to fill. She knew I was working with all these artists, so she approached me about using this as a gallery space. I started thinking about how I could merge the online Instagram community and feature them offline. It would be interesting to have a physical space where we could feature San Miguel artists and many I knew already! I thought about it for a week and then said let’s do it!
Tell us more about your video work and how that, along with your marketing background, plays into Yo San Miguel.
About 4 years ago, when I was living in LA, I started this @FlyingBlynd instagram account (visit here) with a musician friend who was living in New York. I created these trippy videos, and he would add music. We eventually built a really big community where musicians from all over the world were sending us music tracks, then I would create the visuals. That expanded into more long form installations where my work has been featured in galleries and a few music festivals. I’ve been doing installations in LA and New York, and most recently in Mexico City.
So when I started Yo San Miguel Gallery, I basically took some of my marketing background and applied it to my creative background in the arts and video to start building this community. I wanted to create this environment that is more of an un-gallery. Not just having art on the walls but also having video installations providing a genuine immersive experience.
What types of services do you offer at Yo San Miguel and how can an artist start working with you?
Not only does Yo San Miguel sell art on our walls, but we provide a full service agency model, where we help build artist’s careers by offering help in design, writing, social media, and video.
For example, if you need a video to promote your art in a unique and interesting way or help with an artist statement, we can provide those services. Not only are there a ton of artists in town, but there are locals we’ll be working with who can help with writing and other kinds of marketing services. We want to bridge that gap and build a network of local creatives in an environment of collaboration and community. Our mission is to support local artists and provide a platform to have their work recognized both locally and abroad.
Whether you are a painter, musician, illustrator, photographer, video artist, sculptor or poet, let’s talk! We don’t discriminate. We’ll look at any type of art and help support artists in any way we can.
For anyone interested in working with Yo San Miguel I suggested scheduling some time with me to chat. (Click here to schedule your appointment). We can talk about what your goals are and a vision for your art. Then we can come up with clear actionable things we can work on together.
What’s up next for Yo San Miguel?
First of all, we will be having our official opening on September 7th from 6pm-10pm at Jesus 27. (Invitation here).
In addition to being a gallery, we are also part of a group of businesses called ‘The Collective’ that includes Mercado Collective, Cafe Gourmand, and Maclovia shop. There will be monthly events, art openings, music, video installations, and exhibitions where people can experience local art and community in a unique way. We even have free WIFI and a big shared courtyard for people to hang out, drink coffee and eat, talk about art, and immerse themselves in the whole local experience.
Please join us at our grand opening at THE COLLECTIVE. Saturday, September 7th from 6pm-10pm at Jesus 27. THE COLLECTIVE is a shared space of entrepreneurs with a mission to build community and support local artisans and artists in San Miguel De Allende & throughout Mexico.