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Meet Qamar Bradford of Broker’s Building Art Gallery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Qamar Bradford.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The Broker’s Building Gallery is a very low-key month-to-month art studio rental in a prime location in the heart of San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. We share our building with another very creative venue, the Haunted Hotel.

The building is currently managed by 424 Market Investors, LLC., a venture by Pacific Enterprises of Sorrento Valley.

Our little group of indie artists includes the amazing veteran artists Dan Camp and Jo Caldwell who both have unique yet exceptionally classic styles. Mr. Camp’s works capture a James Bond martini lounge atmosphere of 60s sexual revolution and counterculture. And Ms. Caldwell has a touch that expresses the bright and breezy hues of SoCal in all of her portraits. Then we have Ms. Helena Espinoza who produces vivid and fun abstract images; Ms. Lola Connolly who creates high contrast colorscapes. And lastly, there’s me. I come from a comic book illustration and Japanese pen, ink and watercolor background though I’ve slowly been exploring my deepest passion: male figure photography.

The Broker’s Building Art Gallery Board comes from a tradition of grassroots cooperation and grassroots organizing. Our forerunner of the board was the amazing Ms. Madeline Sherry who had established things over ten years ago along with Mr. Dan Camp and other predecessors during the 90s.

Our current team keeps things going with art, music, wine and cheese as our schedules permit. Recently we’ve filed for official Non-profit incorporation!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Things haven’t always been easy and are still a challenge at times. Of course as artists, we all have creative differences. But when we pull of shows, there’s a real family camaraderie that can be felt. The meeting of artists’ minds is like a psychic battle of pure aesthetics sometimes. It gets pretty exciting.

I think the largest obstacles for us come from having public support and investor buy-in. It’s a reason I’ve pushed so hard for us to pursue the NPO status.

We’re always great fun to the building management for affording us the pricing to stay in such a location. But in planning shows and attracting audiences our funding and coordination can get our arms tied. In addition, featuring those envelope pushing artists can be difficult too because of restrictions on nudity.

Hopefully we can incorporate as an NPO and save up funds; attract some headliner feature artists, musicians and performers who have a passion for our cause; get the building rules to relax a bit; and gain some interns, volunteers and grant underwriters and we’d definitely add to Gaslamp Quarter’s art scene along with the International Comic Con.

Please tell us about Broker’s Building Art Gallery.
The Broker’s Building Art Gallery is an old new kid on the block of downtown San Diego. We’re definitely known for being an affordable refuge for all of those practicing artists who need a place to focus on their craft.

I think that characteristic is our shining point. Our shows and membership are grassroots and real people who produce both professional and outsider art.

While many other places are streamlined and corporate, our place is like punk rock. We’re DIY, we have fun, we mingle. And especially at our group shows, we try to make sure the viewer gets to change roles and be the artist too.

You can say other art places are like Radio Music Hall. But our place is like CBGBs.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
As a San Diego local, my favorite childhood memory was attending the summer camp at the San Diego Museum of Art or SDMArt for short. I had to be in middle school, but it’s where I first learned fine art can be a satisfying lifestyle.

We had great days filled with art making and exploration including exhibits on Eastern art, old Spanish impressionist films, practicing with the Fern Street Circus, wandering the Japanese Friendship Garden and so many other great memories at Balboa Park.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 402 Market Street
    San Diego, CA 92101
  • Website:
  • Phone: 6195182026
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @brokersbuilding
  • Facebook: @TBBG402

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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