The Five at Five: Studio Lenca aka Jose Campos
11 Aug 2022
From hidden-gems to places to people-watch, from bookshops to beauty spots – here is some inspiration, celebrating the independents in our local neighborhoods around the world.
This week’s selection has been curated by Studio Lenca a.k.a. Jose Campos, an artist from El Salvador, who now lives and works in Margate, UK. Jose’s story is a long and winding one: born in La Paz, El Salvador he had to flee the country during its violent civil war in the late 80’s, and traveled to the US by land, illegally with his mother. Jose then grew up in San Francisco, California as a queer minority in the gaze of a strictly conservative administration as an undocumented ‘illegal alien’.
Ultimately, he found refuge in the UK and became a British citizen in 2007. It’s this experience that serves as a framework for his work — themes of identity, belonging and oppression are more than evident.
“I absolutely love Taro in Soho. When I first moved to London it was really hard to find good sushi. The unfussy atmosphere and friendly service were the perfect fix for a freshly arrived Latino from California. They do really reasonable Bento Boxes and sometimes Mr Taro himself works there. It's the perfect place to stop whilst shopping in central London.”
“I love to sit on the terrace at Nomad in Marrakech and watch the rug and spice traders in Place des Épices. It's got an amazing atmosphere which changes as the day goes on. I love to get a freshly squeezed orange juice and take it all in.”
“I spent my teenage years in San Francisco, and I would spend hours exploring the city and saving up my pocket money for a new album. Sadly lots of the record shops have now closed, however, Amoeba Music on Haight Street is still standing as iconic as ever. It's actually the world’s largest independent record store.”
“I am so lucky to live in Margate on the south coast of the UK. There's nothing better than a long beach walk after a day in the studio armed with a flat white from Staple Stores. I take my sausage dog Frida, I tell her everything.”
“San Francisco is such an important place to me, the Mission neighbourhood sits at the heart of the historical Latinx community there. I love to explore small family-owned businesses — you can find incredible Peruvian jewellery, vintage clothes, and traditional Salvadoran bakeries like Panaderia Andrea and drink horchata at Taquería El Farolito.
“The incredible murals that fill the streets offer a visual history lesson on the complex immigrant experience, gentrification and modern politics. This neighbourhood is really intrinsic to who I am and my artwork.”