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East LA’s Thought-Provokers

LA has always had an artistic soul.  The culture and heritage of our city, like most great cities, owes a tremendous debt to the arts community.  Supporting local art is something we care deeply about and we’d like to do everything we can to help the local arts community thrive.  Unfortunately, too often media attention is monopolized by corporate interests and tabloid gossip – but culture doesn’t come from a focus on celebrity breakups it comes from a focus on the arts.  Below, you’ll find some incredible artists from in and around East LA that we hope you will check

Dakota Light-Smith

I always had art teachers who were encouraging. They built me up to the point that I don’t think I ever thought of doing anything else. I actually started in product design at my college, but I took this one class where we had to make business cards for our classmates every week. I was really obsessed with those business cards. Read more>>

Sally Deng

I spent many hours in the back room there after school—reading, drawing, basically in my own world. This led me to want to become an artist, and I applied for the illustration department at Art Center College of Design my senior year of high school. I was miraculously accepted, and I guess I’ve never looked back. Read more>>

Alexis Wade

My story is the age-old story of a teenager who didn’t do well in Math and Science in high school and gravitated towards the arts. Thing is the only arts my high school had was ceramics and, very thankfully, an incredible teacher at the time, Mr. Price. Read more>>

Nathaniel Regier

Movies terrified me as a child. My imagination made everything on TV feel so real. Even in High School, I was more interested in playing video games than watching movies. In all honesty my filmmaking journey began by watching YouTube videos from the likes of “freddiew” and “Corridor Digital”. As a kid I wasn’t really into sports and a lot of the other stuff my friends we’re into, as a result I didn’t have an outlet where I could express myself. That was, until, I discovered these small short films online and not only the films themselves but also a vast library of tutorial and behind-the-scenes vides that gave me a way to start making my own skits. Read more>>

Dominique Arciero

I was born to, for all intents and purposes, “not artistic” parents who raised my three sisters and me in an incredibly creative household. Meaning, when we showed interest in singing and playing instruments, acting and putting on plays, they provided everything we needed and would seek out opportunities for us to perform and hone our skills (like allowing us to put on productions of musicals like “The Wizard of Oz” in our backyard for 300 paying guests!) I was 12 when our quartet officially formed in 1999 (a country band with original songs) in which we hired a backing band until I played piano, Olivia- guitar and our littlest- Gabby on drums. Read more>>

Julian Allen

Julian Allen is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and teacher based in Los Angeles, California. Julian has recorded and performed with many artists, such as Theo Katzman, Joey Dosik, Robert Hurst, Antwaun Stanley, Marcus Elliot, Jacob Jeffries, BøRNS, Michelle Chamuel, Seth Bernard, Madelyn Grant, Rachel Mazer, Anna Ash, and May Erlewine. Julian’s self – produced debut album, “Could U Be,” was self-released in March of 2018, and is a series of snapshots of a person and a world perpetually seeking greater states of understanding and loving through so many inevitable mysteries, struggles, and transformations in identity and circumstance. Read more>>

Rissa Martinez

I’m a Chicana graphic designer and illustrator. I’m originally from Oxnard, CA. Since I was a kid, I always had an urge to be creative. I used to go to the junkyard down the street from my house and doodle on the walls. When I got into junior high me and my family fell into the rough of it and lost everything we had. When I was in high school, I got pregnant with my daughter. I didn’t have any money and me and my entire family shared a room at my abuelo’s house. Against my family’s advice, I had my daughter, finished high school and went straight to college. I went to Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Read more>>

Molly Jo Shea

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and Highland Park. I spent my youth taking the Goldline to LACHSA – a high school for the arts where I studied art. Then I went to School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I studied performance art and new media. After spending 4 winters in Chicago, I realized that all the things I loved about art ( humor, color, cross-disciplinary practices, and experimentation) were happening in LA and moved back. Read more>>

Gage Opdenbrouw

I was born in San Jose, CA, the son of a mechanical engineer from Poughkeepsie and a farmer’s daughter from Nebraska. I was always a big reader, even as a kid, and very taken with and fascinated by the outdoors and the natural world. School was difficult mostly because it was boring, but by high school, I’d taken a serious interest in drawing and painting, and I was lucky enough to have a supportive family that pulled together so I could to art school in San Francisco. I lived in SF from the mid-90’s until about 2011, I’ve been in Oakland ever since. I discovered a passion for painting in my early 20’s that hasn’t dimmed since, and I’ve shown in museums and galleries all over the country for the last 20 years or so. Read more>>

Maureen Meyer

After living and working in New York for 13 years as a graphic designer, I was proficient in branding (typography/packaging/visual concepting/styling), and completely burnt out, personally. In 2015, I moved to Los Angeles with my husband and two daughters and the light and downshift in the pace of living gave me space. My focus shifted primarily to fine art. I rented a tiny studio in Glassell Park, and gave myself permission to create. I learned to weave on multiple scales, started painting, and somewhat accidentally discovered a love for collage. Read more>>

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