Carey Reddick II, CEO of Above-Time, Inc., makes friends easily. This attribute is a very good thing when one is launching a new and emerging retail business.
Enter Alexander Salazar, art gallery owner, who is having a busy day. While Reddick sets up a store front display of bow-ties, Salazar is multi-tasking. As I interviewed him for this article, he was answering the phone, directing employees as they moved gallery equipment, checking e-mails and commenting on Reddick’s display—all while deftly answering my questions about how he got his start.
His passion is evident in his ability to successfully have multiple conversations at once.
That passion had all but disappeared a few years ago as he operated seven other art galleries, opening his first one in 2009. Recently he opted to close them all down to refocus and re-brand his newest gallery, igniting his creativity once more.
Friends with Reddick, Alexander Salazar Fine Art, became a sponsored brand rep for Above-Time.
Just what is “re-branding” anyway?
Re-branding is the process of giving a product or an organization a new name, image, symbol or design, in order to make it more attractive or successful, using a variety of marketing strategies. Re-branding can be a marketing strategy unto itself.
In this case, for Salazar, it may have been a healing strategy.
What is Salazar’s motive behind the re-brand? Everyone has a backstory. In 1991, an 18-year old Salazar watched his father get shot by young gang members in Houston, Texas. The shooters served time in prison, but Salazar felt lingering guilt and remorse as he went off to college to study art.
An Artist’s Education
Salazar hold a Master’s degree in Theology and Art from Harvard University, and a second Master’s in Sociology and Art from Boston College. While studying at Colorado College as an undergraduate, he lived in London to study modern and contemporary art then moved to Florence, Italy to further his studies.
His college experience taught him something: forgiveness. Later he heard the shooter was doing well in prison and exploring art as a hobby. Years later, spurred on by his father’s passing in 2013, Salazar began collecting prison art.
Thus was born his gallery show “Art Exonerated” in April 2016, where he showed art made by prisoners and from his own collection. All proceeds went to groups helping crime victims.
“The show was Salazar’s hope to expand his own emotional journey and reach out to artists in prison that have passion.”
This show is one example of how Salazar has given back to the local San Diego community. Above-Time is also one of those young companies who donates a share of proceeds to better the local community.
“It makes sense to support Above-Time, since some proceeds go to an anti-bullying organization,” says Salazar. “Bullying and crime are connected.”
Salazar included a variety of his art pieces at the Premier Show last August. With the foot traffic into the gallery, Salazar and Reddick worked out an agreement to show and sell Reddick’s bow-ties and accessories right in the gallery itself.
Darn good idea!
The day after Reddick set up the display, Salazar called to tell him that he just sold 4 bow-ties! Not bad, considering Reddick had not even put price tags on the merchandise!
Salazar also shared his idea of using artists’ paintings as patterns for bow-ties, creating a limited edition tie sporting the artists’ work.
Located in the residential area of San Diego’s Marina District at Front and Market Streets, his gallery sees daily visitors. In his first week, he sold over $20K worth of his own paintings and those of other consigned artists.
Sporting one of Above-Time’s bow-ties, he shared that bow-ties offer him a level of comfort and cannot visualize himself wearing anything else.
Salazar’s new lease on life, in the wake of forgiveness and healing, has awakened a new purpose and ignited that creativity that was bound up in knots that needed to be unwound.
“My new brand is eclectic and contemporary with a little bit of everything.” Salazar admits.
Some of his former clients, with whom relationships fizzled, of course, have contacted him recently, as Salazar rides his new wave of success.
“This gallery is about a new space and new attitude; I’m starting fresh,” Salazar confides.
If you are visiting or live in the San Diego area, please stop by the gallery at 225 West Market Street at the corner of Front Street, in the Marina District.
Although this is a sponsored post, the intent of this article is not to sell a product, but to focus attention and awareness on the growth and evolution of the Above-Time brand. Opinions are my own.
Thanks for reading.