Rolan Resendiz knows how to make an instant connection.
He will greet you with a warm smile, and minutes later you’ll be chatting and laughing like old friends.
It’s a gift he shares with everyone he meets. And he chooses to steer clear of formal, impersonal contact.
“I want to talk—have a conversation,” Resendiz said.
“I don’t like business cards—I’ll put my number on a napkin. I just feel like business cards are so impersonal. I want to get to know you and I want you to get to know me.”
It’s this kind of personable nature that has brought Resendiz and his partner, Joel Esqueda, far in their Hollister business, ARTI-culture. So much so, that their fast success will be honored on Dec. 16; when ARTI-culture celebrates its one year anniversary of its first Paint Night party.
Prior to its first Paint Night, though, Resendiz and Esqueda were happy doing contract work in Hollister as artists. Skills and connections, however, took them into a different direction.
“You just never know where life is going to take you,” Resendiz said.
Partners in life, and in business, Resendiz and Esqueda were both raised in East San Jose and coincidentally both moved to Hollister in 1997. Three years later they met when they were both students at Gavilan College in 2010.
While completing their college studies in 2014 (Esqueda with a Bachelor’s in Visual and Public Arts: Muralism from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), and Resendiz with a Master’s in Liberal Studies: Public Administration from Fort Hays State University), they needed to choose their senior capstones. They decided on creating murals for Hollister’s utility boxes—a display they had seen in other cities.
Partnered with the City of Hollister, the San Benito Arts Council, Gavilan College, Gilroy Police Department, Hollister Police Department, Resendiz and Esqueda got their project funded and executed by the City of Hollister.
Though the project took nearly a year to complete, the showcase of their talents downtown helped them land many contract jobs.
When friends and family began suggesting they try paint night parties, Resendiz initially responded with apprehension.
“I didn’t know if that was gonna be our thing,” he recalled.
But a Black Friday sale at an arts-and-crafts chainstore is what finally tipped him.
With fresh art supplies in tow, they did their first paint night event on Dec. 16 at the Running Rooster, which soon led to two paint nights in February, then three more in March.
And the rest was art history.
With the help of volunteers, Megan Fulford and Tia Anderson Simons, ARTI-Culture is now doing more than 20 parties per month, such as paint parties, ceramic and paint-your-own pottery, plant parties and fairy gardens.
“We’re open to doing anything creative, and we’ll even do it as an event,” said Resendiz.
They also hold walk-in studio sessions for children from ages 0 to 17, host public parties at local businesses, and host private parties and fundraising events.
“As long as we have an opening, we don’t have any requirement for a party,” Resendiz said.
And ARTI-Culture doesn’t take deposits, either; it chooses to trust the community to sustain their business, and in turn, “we’ll continue to look out for them,” Resendiz said.
For many who’ve partaken in ARTI-Culture’s events, the experiences have been unprecedented.
Hollister resident, Ralphy Hobbs, is a regular attendee at ARTI-Culture’s paint parties. She has been attending its paint nights since day one, and has also taken up painting at home.
“I have anxiety and the painting has calmed my soul,” Hobbes said. “I meet great people every time I paint with ARTI-Culture and they make me feel so welcome. It’s my new found love in my 50s—who knew!”
Shannon Thiessen has taken advantage of ARTI-Culture’s fundraising opportunities. She recently held a fundraiser to raise money for a service dog for her 4-year-old son, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year.
“Rolan was so organized and walked me through all I needed to do and know, and Joel was quick to replicate the painting I liked into something beautiful and easy for beginners to paint step by step,” Thiessen said.
“These guys are not business men, they are true supporters of the arts and bringing the community together.”
One of the ways Resendiz and Esqueda have brought the community together is by supporting local businesses.
ARTI-Culture’s four main venues for paint parties are The Grove, Grillin’ and Chillin’ Alehouse, Paine’s Restaurant, and Mars Hill Coffeehouse. It’s also started partnerships with Johnny’s Bar and Grill and Aroma Cellar, and Resendiz and Esqueda aim to please whatever partner they work with.
If they’re at Mars Hill, for instance, they’ll have a ceramic coffee mug party there once a month; if they’re at the Alehouse, they’ll have a ceramic beer mug party there once a month. Resendiz explained whey get a free drink with their mug.
“We try to complement whoever we work with,” he said.
And to celebrate ARTI-Culture’s year anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 16, 6-9pm, Grillin’ and Chillin’ Alehouse will be returning the favor.
ARTI-Culture will be creating and releasing its own beer, in partnership with the alehouse, including a free event with toy drive, live music, food, drinks and dancing. ARTI-Culture will also give away two free admissions to its events for an entire year.
Resendiz said their business isn’t planning on changing anytime soon.
“I want to keep building partnerships,” he said. “But more than just that, I feel like we build partners with the community. We couldn’t do it without their support. It’s just crazy, people come to parties and you never know where it’s going to go. It’s just snowballed, and it’s getting bigger and bigger.”
ARTI-Culture Art Studio is located at 910 Monterey Street Suite #220. For information on classes, parties or events, contact ARTI-Culture at 831.205.9954 or visit arti-culture.com. Follow them on Facebook. For coupons and rewards, text articulture to 80258.