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Inspiring Stories from DTLA

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the LA’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out LA’s rising stars below.

Tm Gratkowski

I was born in Chicago Illinois and after obtaining a few degrees at various schools I wound up moving to LA for graduate school at SCI_Arc. After a brief stint working for Frank Gehry I refocused all of my attention on my art career. The most interesting paths are probably the longest and most treacherous and being an artist is rarely a simple straight line trajectory (depending on your goals). Read more>>

Dechel Mckillian

I was on track to becoming a pediatrician for most of my life. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychobiology, I decided to take a much-needed break before applying to medical school. During my time off, I worked for a clothing boutique and then moved onto an assistant buying position at Planet Funk. Read more>>

Diana Flores

I’ve always been a creative being, I’ve always been drawing for myself and my own expression. i never really thought much of it its was just something that i did. But recently about 4 years ago there was a creative catalyst.The push that i had was after a really bad relationship. That gave me the ability to see my worth and bliss as an artist. I had to reflect and see where I find the most joy in my life. Read more>>

Lino Martinez

As a younger man, I became an apprentice to Mario Orozco Rivera (Mexican Muralist) in 1981, over the years I gained vast knowledge working alongside him in my Mexico City. I graduated in 1985 and continued to work with Mario Orozco until 1989. Read more>>

Cynthia Gonzalez

Salvies Who Lunch started as a simple hashtag over a weekend lunch with friends. That Monday morning in conversation with co-workers and one of my bosses, they noticed the excitement on my face of being able to connect with others who share the same culture and background as mine. That’s when they encouraged me to see this as an opportunity to create a space for my community, that was longing to connect and find representation. Read more>>

Zazu Faure

I am a toy maker who creates handcrafted stuffed animals out of repurposed materials. My work builds on the folk tradition of making toys from remnants and discards. I’ve striped down my designs to their essential forms—creating original patterns that employ a limited amount of moves to render each animal’s distinct character. Read more>>

Nikko Panti

I have been in the marketing and public relations industry since 2014, mostly concentrating on the digital aspects of the industry. I started my career in the Philippines, where I managed and made the content of the local social media accounts of retail brands and international brands (mostly fashion, beauty, and lifestyle) like Oliviers and Co., Smashbox, Lush, Muji, Aeropostale, Superga, Dune London, Pottery Barn, and many more. Read more>>

Oscar Santos

Sister Mantos is a musical and performance project that I started in 2008. Originally it was a solo-performance project and it was a vehicle for me to write my own original music. I had been in other bands before, xVOYx and FVCKINA and started to make music in garage band and Ableton. Read more>>

Shane Goldsmith

I grew up in Santa Monica, where I lived with my dad and younger brother. Growing up in poverty, my younger brother and I learned a lot about injustice. Then, our dad died when Kelly was in high school and I was in college. We were both lucky to have friends who took care of us. Read more>>

Alice and Sebastian Boher

MIWAK JUNIOR first began as a rebellious act in a community college ceramics class, where making smoking implements was strictly verboten. Chilean artist Sebastian Boher tried twice to sneak a pipe into the kiln; but on his third try, the pipe went undetected by the censors, proving that he’d created an objet of beauty with a discreet functionality. Read more>>

Hannah Jakobsen

Phoneme Media has been around for 5 years or so, and really changed a lot within that time. We’ve gone from publishing a few books a year, to 10 or 12, and now back down to 4 or 5 a year, which we find is our sweet spot. A lot of that development has taken place in the time I’ve been with Phoneme. I started off as an intern, and was brought partly because of my knowledge of international graphic novels, which had been my academic specialization. Read more>>

Leire Baztarrica

I’m a professional photographer and content creator. I moved from Spain almost two years ago and I’ve been working on different projects since then. I started taking photos almost a decade ago while I was living in Spain. I used to pose as a model and learn from the photographers that took photos of me. Read more>>

Shelley Holcomb

I’m an artist, orginally from Starkville, MS, graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in painting, then moved out to Los Angeles knowing no one in the art world. I’ve worked for numerous LA galleries, artist studios, and have worked a lot in digital marketing. My work utilizes a variety of media, including video, installation, large-scale paintings and works on paper, sculpture, performance and cultural experiments. Read more>>

Everette Taylor

I grew up in Southside Richmond, VA and the first “entrepreneurs” I saw were hustlers on the street. Like many young kids/teenagers in my hood, I was recruited to start selling drugs at an early age. When I was 12-13 I was on the street doing things I wasn’t supposed to. Read more>>

Allen Narcisse

When I moved to Los Angeles from Boston fourteen years ago, I totally fell in love with this city and the people here. The electricity of this place and the feeling that anything is possible in this beautiful city really captured my heart. Case in point: my wife – she was the first person I met during an internship at CBS. Read more>>

Jasten King

I got started playing in punk bands which is, I guess, still the base of everything I do. KillRadio did pretty well, but when I started getting a bit older I realized, maybe I don’t want to be stuck living in a van with a bunch of smelly dudes forever. So, I thought I’d test my creative options to other avenues, I did burlesque, cabaret shows, stand up, short films, poetry art… just anything I could to sort of find a new outlet. Read more>>

Amanda Marie

From the time I was young I always pursued what I loved. I grew up with musical parents and loved to sing. When I was 13 years old Epic Records signed me. Until about 21yrs old I wrote, recorded and performed. This is all I knew and my dream landed me in California. Read more>>

Cat Calico

I started out as a makeup artist at 17. Got bored and went to makeup school thinking maybe it would be more exciting doing makeup for film. Then I found special effects makeup which was everything I was the creativity I was looking for. As I have been growing in this field, I started branching out to fabrication, shop work, art department, painting, sculpting ect, I’ve found that I’ve just been trying to be an artist this whole time. Read more>>

Niki Srinivasa

When I was younger, I always felt behind the curve in that I, unlike many of my peers, truly didn’t know what that once special thing was that would be my calling. I dabbled in practically everything under the sun but it wasn’t until I was in High School that I discovered my calling: Fashion Design. Read more>>

Brett Novek

I started good hYOUman in 2011 in memory of my dad, David Novek. He was an amazing hYOUman, and I wanted to start a clothing line to keep his memory alive. I started screen printing shirts in my bathroom at home with inspiring messages on them. The first message I ever printed was “MY LIFE STORY WILL BE A GOOD ONE.” Read more>>

Emily Burton

I’m a lifelong aficionado of the handcrafted process and silversmithing has been at the root of that. I’ve always been into heavy metal and the whole aesthetic that comes with that lifestyle. When I was just starting school I was drawn to the whole rock n’ roll, Trash and Vaudeville look, and I discovered a NY jewelry artist named Axel who made these one of a kind, crazy, giant claw rings with eyeballs. Read more>>

Carlos Vaz

I was never fully interested in photography, i wasn’t the kind that had some sort of bond with it at a young age or had mentors. My interest stared a few years back when I was running a clothing brand and found need for a photographer for look-books, social media etc…over time I realized that I was having a rough time finding someone to really capture my vision. Read more>>

Sacha Baumann

I’m an L.A. native (born at Hollywood Community Hospital) but grew up in Santa Cruz (California), the small island Douglas (Alaska), and Park City (Utah). For most of my adult life I’ve lived equally in NoCal and SoCal, but Los Angeles definitely has my heart. I’m a busy person, with full days (and nights) that are often filled participating in the thriving Los Angeles art scene. Read more>>

Willian Borges

We started as a small remodeling team 5 years ago. On September 9th 2018, we will be completing 5 years. We have built our small business to a multi million dollar business. It has been a very challenging road for us. Competition is very high in the construction area, specially for newer businesses. Read more>>

Andrew Tyree

After living in Spain for 4 years in my mid twenties, I moved back stateside to San Francisco and got a job as a waiter in a high end Spanish tapas restaurant. For years, I would convince groups of friends to travel back to Spain with me, rented houses for us all to stay in and ate at fabulous restaurants and wineries that were contacts of my SF restaurant. Read more>>

Kahala Michelle

At an early age I demonstrated love for art. My parents supported my notable skills with all the tools I needed to draw at home. I was able to sketch with just looking at any image and recreating it with ease. In my school days I went to art classes and enjoyed learning all art mediums. Read more>>

Eric Junker

For years, after college, I cobbled together a living as a graphic designer to support my work as a fine art painter, performance artist and dirtbag surfer. Read more>>

Michael van der Roest

Some of my fondest memories while growing up were shuffling through my parent’s old cassette tapes and vinyl. Each tape held a new surprise, a new glorious experience. Read more>>

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