From "Painting 1" at SPC to "Uniform 300" Online, in Galleries

September 13, 2018

Public Information Officer

A PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT DEPICTING THE DIVERSITY OF SAN ANTONIANS AND COINCIDING WITH SAN ANTONIO’S TRICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION FEATURES ONE FORMER ST. PHILIP’S COLLEGE FINE ARTS STUDENT AND SEVERAL COLLEGE PARTNERS---AND EXCELLENT E-MEMORIES FOR HER COLLEGE INSTRUCTOR

A former St. Philip's College student of fine arts who is featured with other college partners in a photographic project depicting the diversity of San Antonians and coinciding with San Antonio’s Tricentennial Celebration in 2018 rekindles memories of her student’s passion for the business of art from the 15-year college faculty member who got to both teach and know her former student.

The former student is Iris Petro. The project featuring Petro is Uniform 300, a collaboration of photographer Rahm Carrington and curator/producer Alice Carrington Foultz that "features portraits of San Antonio citizens representing all neighborhoods, passions, jobs and walks of life."

According to the online program notes for the project, "In Uniform 300, Rahm and Alice explore the idea of a personal uniform. In some cases, this may be a Catholic Brother, Soldier or Escaramuza wearing a prescribed uniform. In other cases we may photograph a Spurs super-fan, or a restaurant owner, whereby their uniform is the clothes they wear and the image they portray. Furthermore, there is uniformity in the format of each one of these portraits, so that when the collection of photographs are gathered together, there is a distinct diversity in each of the subjects, but a uniformity in the collection and depiction... In this rapidly growing world of free-flowing information, we are seeing a homogenization of culture.... We wear our “uniform” with pride, as a way to let others know who we are, where we came from, what we do, who we love and what we stand for.”

The portraits were shot on medium format 120mm film in 2017 and 2018 at a studio in downtown San Antonio, and a map of where the photo subjects lived in the city helped the creative team verify equitable coverage for their project. 

"The map itself is now an integral part of the show," the project team state online.

While the works are part of an upcoming exhibit, the e-version is online and contains a combination of words from Petro and the project team. She joins others who have St. Philip's College connections and range from Chef Johnny Hernandez to San Antonio Symphony members Amy Pikler, Stephanie Key and Riely Francis who have partnered with the college on Tricentennial-related projects in 2018, to Mike Casey, The Mayor of Southtown, who attended the wedding of Petro’s St. Philip’s College fine arts faculty member, identified later in the story.

“ Iris Petro

Artist/Single Mother

"It's not that I want to live in a shelter, but I was in a relationship that wasn't healthy for me and I'm trying to take care of myself and my son now." Iris Petro was born in Brooklyn and grew up in upstate New York. She ran away from home as a teenager and moved to New York City. She ended up in a shelter where she met the father of her children. She and her family moved to San Antonio in 2009. Iris studied art at St. Philip's College in San Antonio where she found a passion in painting. She is inspired by anatomy and people. After I took her portrait, Iris moved back to New York City with her son Mak-i. She explained to me that she was in an unhealthy relationship and needed to get away to get back on her feet They are currently in a shelter in the city planning to get a SOTA voucher - a special assistance program designed to help participants become self-sufficient after one year. This which will allow Iris and Mak-i a chance to move wherever they'd like in the country. She hopes to come back to Texas soon. In the meantime, Iris is planning on attending some college art courses to focus on her painting." 

Jennifer Agricola-Mojica realized she was the college Fine Arts and Kinesiology faculty member who taught Petro in the class referenced by the project team while reviewing the e-version of the upcoming exhibition this week.

“I met her between 2005-2006, a while ago. I think she started with me in 2011, if memory serves---in Painting One. I had her for one painting class in 2011 and when I met her son on campus, I'd hear children’s dinosaur tunes playing softly on a device. She was inspired by anatomy and people. She would paint and she was very artistic, always thinking outside the box. Very creative… she completed a class project of 16 paintings, studies... four repeated in black and white monochrome, four in monochrome in a single color, four in primary and the final four in full color palette, all 12 by 12 inch studies… ” Agricola-Mojica recalled.

“She ended up doing a huge painting that was one extension of her studies. We never saw each other again. I got worried. A few years later she flags me down and we caught up. She had tremendous family bonds that we talked about. I remember her name, her excitement in how she would talk about her art, her kids... just a passionate and beautiful person. I'm happy to see her in the project. She's found a passion. That's pretty cool! If I had anything to do with her academic success, I'm humbled. You don't know whose life you touch,” concluded Agricola-Mojica.

Find the photo of Petro at the Uniform 300 web page https://uniform300.com/wp-content/uploads/82-iris-petro-791x1080.jpg, and find the project exhibition schedule at https://uniform300.com. For details on the college’s Fine Arts and Kinesiology Department call (210) 486–2205. (Image of Iris Petro from the Uniform 300 web site)

About Uniform 300: The project allows for a virtual or physical presence, or both. There’s an opening reception Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Gallery of the City of San Antonio Central Library at 600 Soledad St., with the exhibition running Sept. 19–24 at the gallery. The exhibition travels to run Sept. 19–Dec. 31 in the Marie Swartz Art Resource Center of the Central Library Southwest School of Art at 300 Augusta St. The Uniform 300 exhibit also relocates to run simultaneously Sept. 19–Oct. 15 in the city library system’s Carver Branch Library at 3350 E. Commerce St., the Forest Hills Branch Library at 5245 Ingram Road and the Parman Branch Library at 20735 Wilderness Oak. Email the Uniform 300 team at info@uniform300.com.