Danny Quintana likes to chat with his passengers on the 522 bus he drives for the Valley Transportation Authority. But few of them probably realize that when Quintana isn’t driving a bus, he’s likely taking photographs of one.
Driving a bus was a dream of his since he was growing up in San Francisco, and photography is a passion he’s had for almost as long. The two have converged in an exhibition of his artistically rendered photographs that are on display at the VTA’s Customer Service Center in downtown San Jose for the rest of September.
The framed pieces mostly feature VTA buses and light-rail trains, a subject obviously close to Quintana’s heart. “They’re beautiful. Everything about them,” said Quintana, who started driving for VTA in 522. “You can always make something into art.”
Of course, it’s not always easy. One of the photos in the exhibition captures the shimmering reflection of water on a VTA bus as it passes over wet pavement, and another shows a bus traveling in front of the Hotel De Anza on Santa Clara Street. Both required hours of waiting for the right moment — and snapping hundreds of not-quite-right photos that ended up in a digital wastebasket.
“I was on top of a ladder down the street and I know everybody was looking at me like I’m crazy, but I was just trying to get the perfect shot,” Quintana, 48, says of the Hotel De Anza photograph. “I stood up on the ladder for quite some time waiting for a 22 or 522 to come down.”
After choosing the right image, Quintana processes it with photo editing presets he spent two years developing that give them a painted look. He displays and sells his images through his Instagram account (@dannyboy4one5) and asked VTA supervisors if they wanted some of his photos to hang in their offices. One thing led to another, and he got the attention of VTA higher-ups who put the photos on display. He’d love to see them move to another gallery after the exhibition’s over.
“It’s nice to be recognized for something you’re good at,” he said, “and you’re putting a lot of work into.”
AN ARTIST’S LEGACY: The Los Altos History Museum is celebrating the life of Anna Knapp Fitz — and marking the centennial of her arrival in the town — with an exhibition opening this month that features some of the 212 paintings that the self-taught artist donated to the museum.
Fitz was 8 years old when she moved with her family to an eight-acre farm in Los Altos, and as an adult, she used her paintbrush to illustrate what life was like in the days before Silicon Valley. She used historic photographs to capture major events before her time and made portraits of significant people from the area.
“Annie Knapp Fitz Paints: A Legacy in Art,” opens Sept. 9 and will be on display until Feb. 6, 2022, and there will be a series of free programs to go along with the exhibition starting with “Adventures in Mural Painting” with muralist Morgan Bricca on Sept. 23. Get more information at www.losaltoshistory.org.
FALL INTO CHRISTMAS: It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays, right? Christmas in the Park kicked off plans Wednesday for this year’s double celebration — the return of the free, walk-thru event at Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose and a new drive-thru experience at Lake Cunningham Park.
The 500-plus decorated community trees that are an annual highlight of Christmas in the Park are on sale, and performers can reserve a spot on the Excite Credit Union Community Stage. And, more importantly, tickets for the drive-thru event, “Blinky’s Illuminated Holiday,” are on sale. Last year’s event at History Park sold out, and there will be fewer tickets offered at the new Lake Cunningham Park location in an attempt to keep traffic flowing. You can check out all of it at www.christmasinthepark.com.
“We wanted to make a big splash and make sure everyone knows what we have planned for this year,” Executive Director Jason Minsky said. “We are so excited to bring both events back and have so many new surprises in store for attendees.”
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Author: Sal Pizarro