The Daily Rambling Artist: Taco Bell Economics - How I Fed My Creativity

The Daily Rambling Artist: Taco Bell Economics - How I Fed My Creativity

College was a rough time economically for me. I remember Taco Bell had bean burritos and other delicacies on their menu for $0.59 cents at that time. I had figured out that if I got three of these items and a water, I could eat for about $1.90 or so. Something I've learned about my recent awareness of my ADHD is that it's definitely where my tendency to speak in tangents comes from. Are you ready for the tangent?

So, my friend Jon and I run into a fellow high school alum when we were in college. I'll change his name to Billy to protect his identity. Billy was my favorite bad boy. Always in trouble, and always hilarious. This day was no different—the lad always delivered!

Billy was a few years younger than us, so we asked him how the rest of his stay went at our all-boys, Catholic alma mater. So, he's like, "Yo, Father Cerretto pulls me in one day, and says, 'Billy, I know that you've been dealing drugs at our school.'" Billy explains how he almost loses consciousness, but then Cerretto continues. "I don't care about that. That's between you and God." Billy continues, wiping his brow and saying to himself, "Whew, between me and God. Cool. Cool."

The point of my tangent is that for $1.90, I also got a water cup. Did I actually get water when I went to the fountain? That's between me and God! The overall point of all of this being, college money was tough. So, imagine my panic when my friend Ben wants to participate in the school art sale and wants to split a table with me to reduce the cost. The table was twenty dollars, so we needed ten bucks each to participate. I was panicked; I didn't have that kind of money! I probably skipped a few meals that cost $1.90 each to save up for my part, but we were in.

And that's really where it started. I sat at our table with our haphazardly written sign, not expecting to sell anything. This was darkroom work, and I loved it, but I most likely wasn't going to sell any of it. To my utter bewilderment, I walked out of that sale with $375. I could probably get a large drink next time I went to Taco Bell. I liked this, and so I started doing little parking lot shows, then putting my pieces up in businesses, then galleries, then it all cycled and got weird, and here I am—many years later, still proudly at it, happy to comfortably supersize a meal for my kids if they so desire.

-Sergio Santos