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East LA’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of East LA’s gems below.

Highschool Jacob

I have been playing music since my parents made me take piano lessons when I was around four. From that point on, it was a part of my identity, whether I knew it or not. Though I never wrote too much music in high school, I continually took lessons, performed at events, and took any music theory class that was offered. Read more>>

Dan Rosenboom

I’m a trumpet player, composer, producer, band-leader, record label owner (Orenda Records), and Los Angeles studio musician. I’m dedicated to making music that is simultaneously challenging and beautiful, thought-provokes yet fun, and shaking up the status quo. Over the last 15 years, I’ve produced 27 albums both under my own name and with a variety of bands, and I’m always doing something new. Read more>>

Luz Maria Perez

As early as five years of age, I knew I could draw and paint. I entered school contests and frequently won, and I would paint for my family to give as a gift. The thought never entered my head that what I was having so much fun with could possibly be a career if I just studied and applied myself. I went to Art Center Pasadena in the ’80s to hone my skills and later Riverside City College for art history. Read more>>

Joseph Luna

Grew up in East LA the gang culture had a big influence on me in the 90’s there was alot going on, so u needed protection. I did my thing high school was horrible because the gangs there didn’t allow south siders so yeah got out of that situation. Moving to Ontario ca the school was awesome; it was an old college, no fences or bars you could literally ditch, but students didn’t ditch. Read more>>

Samantha Greenfeld

Since finishing school, I have worked as a studio assistant and art fabricator, something that has helped me grow my knowledge of different mediums, materials, and techniques for making art. In the last year, a friend and I opened O’ Project Space, an artist-run gallery in Lincoln Heights, which has given me the opportunity to explore curating as another facet of my art practice. Read more>>

Raven-Satori Langley

Many of my designs have written messages on them to encourage regular conversations about mental health. My dream is that the BIPOLAR brand will become a sign of acceptance and safety for anyone who needs an ally. I believe that when we lift the veil society has put on mental illness, we will realize no one type of person is excused from the struggle. So I opt for transparency and offer my personal narrative to anyone who asks. Read more>>

Michael Houser

I’ve always enjoyed being creative and working with art across different mediums. Growing up in Southern California, I was exposed to a lot of different cultural and creative influences. My grandfather was a woodworker and painter and my parents always fostered my love for it. Through the years, I would work on projects off and on, but I’ve been spending more time over the passed few really fostering it and developing myself as an artist. Read more>>

Frances Hamrock

My first digital camera led me to a lot of landscape photography. I started becoming more passionate about portraiture when I was thirteen and changed my focus. I went through phases of trying to understand my passion for capturing candid moments versus producing a moment to capture. I learned years later at the age of 22 that fashion photography and portraiture was where I would have both the ability to creative direct and get the image. Read more>>

Alex Lilly

My music is emotional paintball. After you’re done listening to my record, I want you to feel covered in color and slightly tenderized. Sometimes I’m surprised by how obvious my pain is. I’ll think the emotions are properly ensconced in a meshwork of melodies and textures but I can’t hide it. I hope people connect with that. Read more>>

Jacobine van der Meer

I draw and paint, make collages, sculptures, installations, and videos. I perform improvisational music/noise as The Brutal Poodle, always in costume. It is all related, drawings inform sculptures and vice versa, cut up drawings and photos of the sculptures are material for collages, and sculptures are used in video or performance. When I perform, I am a moving and sounding sculpture. Read more>>

Leanna Kaiser

I started my own band, Frances With Wolves, and we toured around a bit and played a lot of shows. It was me and my boyfriend at the time, Andy. We were both really into Velvet Underground, the Gories, Spacemen 3, Silver Apples and stuff like that so he played gnarly fuzzed out guitar riffs and I sang and played a Casio SK-1 running through all sorts of loops. Read more>>

Carolina Ibarra-Mendoza

It was while networking with a friend I met through Las Fotos Project, that I got introduced to Cashmere Agency (a multicultural creative agency) and began working there as an independent contractor in 2016. Working at Cashmere Agency came with many advantages including creating digital artwork for Atlanta and Legion on FX!!! It was incredibly fulfilling to apply all of my photo-manipulation skills/love towards such groundbreaking series. Read more>>

Jessica Huang

I wandered around aimlessly and taking any job opportunities in front of me. Some of the reasons for being “you never know if you’ll like it until you give it a try.” I was a teacher at a Montessori school, an academic coach for students with disabilities at a community college, a behavioral therapist for children with autism, and then an administrative assistant specialist for an environmental lab company. Read more>>

Piero F. Giunti

I was a youth organizer; I led one of the first walkouts in California in protest against the Iraq war, in addition to organizing a protest for other schools around Los Angeles. Going to the protest, I started meeting people such as Jackson Brown, Slash of Guns and Roses, Sirj of System of a Down, Ozomatli, and Tom Morello. While meeting all these people, my camera was always at hand. Read more>>

Dav Yendler

All of my work comes from a deeply personal place: the upcoming Russia piece (“Other Russia”) is about my family, growing up 1st generation Russian in a 90’s America, and how both our countries are still wrapped up in sh*t that’s 70 years old. My dad was patient enough to teach me Russian when I was younger, and this project gave me the opportunity to find Russians currently living in Russia. Read more>>

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