Why he’s interesting: Sanchez opened La Cosecha Galeria this summer in the Stockyard neighborhood. But the origins of the gallery began in 2004 when Sanchez walked into the small convenience store that previously occupied the space, ready to rob its husband-and-wife owners. But once inside, he couldn’t go through with it. After getting out of jail, he worked on his art, made a name for himself and opened Gallery 1299 on West Ninth Street. When he saw the convenience store space available in 2016, he knew he just had to buy it.
Art Of The Deal: While in prison, Sanchez’s work was in high demand. Fellow inmates would ask Sanchez to draw cartoon portraits of them that they could send to their families. “People don’t know in prison that art is a real commodity.” Sanchez, who was sentenced to three years for the attempted robbery but served 18 months, says it was a great bargaining chip and good way to pass the time.
Haunted Past: Deeply spiritual, Sanchez believes in ghosts and haunted houses — so much so that he was worried about stepping foot inside the space that altered the course of his life. “I thought when I walked into the store for the first time, I would feel something, some sort of presence or spirit. Instead I just felt relief that that chapter had come to a close.”
HONOR THY CREATOR: Sanchez pays homage to his faith through painting and mixed media, which combines Judeo-Christian symbolism with dark subject matter. “I try to express myself and push my talent to wherever I can get it to in whatever piece I’m working on. I still read the Bible every day. In reading and going through everything I’ve gone through, you walk alone in your faith and what you do.”
Fight Club: Sanchez’s great grandfather, Juan Martinez, fought alongside Pancho Villa in the Mexican Revolution. Martinez’s fighting spirit runs through Sanchez. “My great-grandfather didn’t die until he was 90. I remember him as a kid. He was in a wheelchair and people would still sit around him, listening to what he had to say.” Growing up, Martinez called Sanchez “pancho,” in reference to the Mexican fighter. “He thought I was a rebel. I was definitely a handful.”
Interesting Fact: When Sanchez first started painting, he created under the name “Topiltzin,” which means “our prince.”