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Meet Beatriz Lugtu of Buhn Bee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Beatriz Lugtu.

Beatriz, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a first generation Filipino-American, meaning both my parents immigrated from the Philippines to California, wanting a better life for their future family. I was the youngest of two daughters and was raised in a strict old school Filipino household. I had a curfew, I couldn’t go out and sleepover at my friends’ homes, I had to get straight A’s, no boys, had to look a certain way, etc. The list can go on and on. That turned me into the rebel child, meaning when people said no, I showed them that I CAN DO IT.

I found my passion in the arts, at four years old, when my Mom gave me a box of Crayola Crayons. I started drawing circles on the walls. I tried hiding my pieces with furniture, but of course that never worked. Creating helped keep myself entertained since my Dad was strict on me going out and playing with other kids. My Dad was actually the one who taught me everything. From drawing, reciting/memorizing poetry, building my own toys, playing ball, etc. I appreciate my parents for how they raised my sister and I. It was tough love and I never really saw them growing up since they sacrificed to work/provide for us. I guess you can say it helped build thick skin and become more independent at an early age.

I grew up in Orange County, CA, where it was mostly a Caucasian and straight A’s Asian Community that were very judgemental. It was a constant struggle trying to prove people you’re capable of doing the impossible. I was an introvert growing up. Drawing, playing the piano and violin as a kid to my teen years helped me escape and be in my own world since I was so shy. You would find me drawing in my journal at the lunch tables during lunch, or practicing the violin in the music room.

After High School, I moved to Los Angeles and attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Merchandise Product Development. I went a different route instead of design and ended up in the Product Development and Production side of the streetwear industry. After FIDM, I started off as an Intern at Dimepiece Los Angeles, a women’s contemporary streetwear brand, as their Development and Production assistant. I commuted from the OC to LA every week at the same time juggling two jobs. I was constantly working. I put all my energy in that internship, even the grimy work of picking up coffee/lunch for the entire office every day. I hoped the hard work would pay off, and it did six months later. Six months later, they hired me on as their Production Manager and Product Development Assistant. There I learned the hands-on experience of working domestically in Los Angeles. It taught me how to prioritize and build connections with vendors. The experience was totally different than what I had learned in college. I was at Dimepiece for two years until I got a recommendation to work for Diamond Supply Co. as their Production and Development Assistant.

I know moving back down a position wasn’t all that great, but throughout the four years working at Diamond, I was able to learn and move up as their Product Development Manager for both Diamond Supply Co. and Hall of Fame LTD. I managed the development for inline and collaborations for accessories, cut and sew, headwear, and graphic printables both domestic and overseas. Working with Pacsun, Zumiez, Footaction, Travis Scott, The Beatles, etc. During this time, I began to create again to de-stress myself from a long day at work. My “hobby” shifted into getting orders from co-workers for custom pieces. I left the streetwear industry last year of May 2018, to pursue in the Art Industry.

This month is now one year since I left. The journey has been beyond difficult with trial and error and a rollercoaster of emotions, but like they say, “you never know what can happen within a year, or two years, or three!” I sold my work at many shows in Los Angeles, met other artists that became my mentors, and networked around with multiple musicians doing cover art. I realized I needed to grow more and step outside of my comfort zone. My growth in the arts brought me to move to Portland, OR. Why you ask? After my 1st mural at Milk + T, in Beaverton, OR, I took a random trip back in August 2018. I walked into Deadstock Coffee, chatted with Ian Williams, and the conversation turned into me collaborating with him on my first colored mural within 24 hours at the entrance way of the shop. I fell in love with the community and the drive these people share in helping you grow in your passion. My best friends Jen and Josephine, gave me the opportunity to sleep on their couches for a few months until I got on my feet. One month later, I packed my one luggage, art supplies, and drove up to Portland. Since my move last year, I’ve accomplished painting five murals here, live painted a mural on Secret Walls PDX, got a feature on Hypebeast Japan for their custom collaborative Fastpass Sneakers with Mike Nerlino, and grew into my passion for Graphic Design in Illustration/Typography with other clients. My leap of faith became one of the greatest experiences. I now have a clientele in Los Angeles, CA and Portland, OR. You can make a difference within year if you keep pushing, keep believing in yourself, and ignore those who don’t believe in what you’re capable of doing.

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?
Life is never a smooth road. It took me a while to make my mental health stronger and finding myself again. Going from show to show to share my work with the world, to figuring out how to balance work, spending time with those I care about, and making sure I’m taking care of myself. You gotta learn from every failure and pick yourself up every time life gives you that big K.O., game over, you’re done feeling. The struggles will help you find yourself. Looking back, it helps me appreciate what I’ve accomplished so far, and focus on what the end goal I’m still working towards.

What else should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from others?
They call me Buhn Bee since I’m always running around with my hair up in a large bun. I’m a Graphic Designer/Painter/Muralist in Illustration and Typography. Right now, I specialize in Graphic Design and Murals in Los Angeles and Portland. What I’m most proud about what I’ve built is the people I’ve met and collaborated with. My biggest accomplishment was being featured on Hypebeast Japan recently, for Travel Portland x Deadstock Coffee x Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo collaboration for their Fastpass Sneakers with my dear friend Mike Nerlino (footwear customizer). Mike and I were given the opportunity to design with W+K Tokyo team at the Pensole Footwear Academy, on a custom AF1 shoe that was inspired by the Portland culture, Columbia River, and sunset. Another would be being on the first Secret Walls PDX event, where my artist friend Gaijin and I freestyle in a 90-minute illustration battle at the new Match Marketing Group office that recently opened here near the Adidas Headquarters. What sets me apart from others was working my way up as a self-taught artist, who experienced the technical and creative side which helped expand my knowledge in how to build my own business. My goal for my work is to hopefully inspire those who walk pass it and get inspired to chase their own crazy dream like I did with mine.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Going outside of my comfort zone, and going with my gut to take a leap in moving to Portland, OR. Los Angeles will always be my first home no doubt, it was the city that helped build me, but moving to another state helped me grow as an artist.

Pricing:

  • Logos: $500.00
  • Cover Art: $100.00
  • Murals: starting at $700+ (depending on the scale of the wall)
  • Graphics: $30 per hour
  • Custom Painted Apparel/Shoes: starting at $100.00

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
PERSONAL PHOTO: Photographed by Jordan Sotero https://www.instagram.com/soterojordan/; SHOES: Photo from Hypebeast Japan post https://www.instagram.com/p/BwTU49-B05X/; DENIM JACKET PHOTO: Photographed by Dante Montgomery: https://www.instagram.com/dante_kkpm11/; For In The Culture TV Hosted by Sumeet and Jordan: https://www.instagram.com/intheculturetv/

Getting in touch: VoyageLA 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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