“I’m the worst drawer in my entire family. My brother knows how to draw. I actually had to go to school to learn how to draw. My drawings were like kids [drawings] without skill.”
“He gave me the opportunity to create advertising for the church… by doing that, I started believing that graphic design can actually be a business.”
“Your personal life is you, is your friends, is your family. You don’t want to share that with everyone else.”
“The computer is a tool…you never brainstorm in front of a computer. The computer helps you finalize what you brainstormed on a piece of paper.”
“The funny thing is I arrive to the city [San Gabriel] not thinking who I’m going to meet, but thinking what I’m to give.”
“Usually once a board meeting is finished everybody’s gone. Not this chamber. The meeting is adjourned, but they stay there talking about different matters. Then you can realize they are giving their hearts for the businesses.”
Alexis was not naturally gifted at drawing. He worked hard and studied art to develop his skills.
Alexis’ first inspiration for graphic design was an Atari videogame.
In 1995, Alexis became a Christian.
Alexis mixed his graphic design skills with a sales and advertising mindset.
In 2011, he was added to the Chamber of Commerce in San Gabriel.
DID DRAWING AND ART COME EASY TO ALEXIS?
Ironically no, drawing did not come easy to Alexis. He did not have natural artistic skills. He had to train and study to develop his abilities.
He went to school to learn different colors and different styles of drawing. Alexis took every art class that was available to him.
He also studied graphic communication and also the Arts Center in Pasadena for marketing and advertising. He ended up with a graphic design degree with a minor in web and multimedia.
WHAT DROVE ALEXIS TO GRAPHIC DESIGN WHILE GROWING UP IN COLUMBIA?
It was an Atari game called Choplifter. He loved the graphics in the game, and it inspired him to imagine creating video games.
This was the initial spark to get him starting. Alexis’ brother actually helped develop the programs for Atari. Alexis found it interesting, but the coding and programming were too difficult and specific for him.
It was the graphics and designs that really excited him.
His church allowed him to create advertisements, which was the first time that Alexis connected the dots that graphic design could be a legitimate business for him.
WERE THERE ANY OTHER BIG CHANGES COMING TO THE USA FROM COLUMBIA?
Alexis was a rebellious atheist when he was in Columbia. He moved to the United States in 1993, and by 1995, Alexis had converted to Christianity.
It opened Alexis’ eyes, and he felt that he was set free.
IS ALEXIS’ WORK AND LIFE A SEPARATE ENTITY?
Ideally, you have to separate them. For instance, many business owners often create Facebook Groups and Pages separate from their personal life.
It is good and healthy to keep that separation for personal reasons.
HOW DOES ALEXIS GET HIS IDEAS OUT?
Alexis believes that a computer is a tool. Sitting in front of the computer screen is not the place to brainstorm.
Once you have your brainstorming and strategizing done is when the computer is useful and can help you implement what you’ve already planned. He is faster with his hands, so he always uses paper to plan out his design ideas. Doing your brainstorming at a computer can end up wasting a lot of time.
WHAT IS ALEXIS’ FAVORITE FORM OF MEDIA?
Digital is Alexis’ favorite form of media. This includes graphics, imagery, and videos. He loves mixing different forms of media and focusing on the message.
Call-to-action designs are some of his favorites.
HOW DID ALEXIS TRANSFER TO DIRECTOR OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE?
He found it difficult moving from a job with a guaranteed check to doing his own thing, where he’d have to find opportunities to make money.
In 2008, he was laid off due to the poor economy. This was actually an amazing thing for Alexis because he could quickly transition to doing what he wanted without feeling guilty.
In San Gabriel, he took the approach of not looking for who he could meet or network with but what skills he could give to prove his value.
So, Alexis went to a bunch of beautiful landmarks in the area and took pictures. He created an amazing 2 by 3 feet calendar. He distributed it to the community and found it to be a great success.
Alexis actually went business to business and offered his services. By doing this, he was able to discover the city’s needs.
In 2011, due to all of his fantastic advertising ideas, Alexis was asked to be on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce.
WHAT ARE OTHER PROJECTS THAT ALEXIS HAS WORKED ON THROUGH THE CHAMBER?
Alexis worked with the San Gabriel Business Journal, which is a digital journal. It was supported by the Hilton Hotel and ended up receiving 1,000 printed copies for distribution, too.
It was celebrating the 80 years of San Gabriel’s Chamber of Commerce.
1. The “Pink House,” where Alexis became a Christian in San Gabriel
2. The San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce
3. The University of the West
ABOUT ALEXIS SALAMANCA
Alexis Salamanca is a Graphic Designer, Web-App Developer and Creative Director, with the analytical mind of a strategist. In 2004, Alexis joined the Production Artist Team at LAGraphico, a graphic solution provider in the entertainment industry. At LAGraphico, Alexis learned the importance of brand development and the power of brand execution. In 2007 while working with ParePlate Alexis learned packaging design, plating and printing. In 2009 Alexis began his freelance career with his own company, Eraxtyle Design and Visual Communication.
He has become a strong Advocate for business in the San Gabriel Valley. He dedicates countless hours to the San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce, where he has served as a member of their Board of Directors since 2010. He is currently President to the Board of Directors and has faithfully served the Chamber Board for over 8 consecutive terms.
Alexis also serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for the University of the West. In addition, he has volunteered his time at The International Church of Christ for over 8 years as a Teen Leader, Mentor for the youth for over 12 years, and for over 20 years as an Administrator.
Podcast Intro and Outro