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Meet Samuel Rojas of Craoe in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samuel Rojas.

Samuel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My self-realization occurred during the 2nd grade. I’ll never forget the tree I drew and all of my classmates gathering around to see my work and feeling an identity from that attention. This was the same attraction I later found as a teen within graffiti culture. Graffiti consumed me and after evolving from the illegal side of it, I created a new self within the name “Craoe”. In Spanish, the word “Creo” means to believe which is the foundation to my nickname. I truly live knowing that as long as I believe in myself, I can achieve anything.

One of my first passions was to print shirts. Similar to graffiti, I wanted to see my name everywhere. Starting with airbrushing shirts, I soon after set out to Pasadena City College to learn screen printing. I really made my own education by studying everything I was interested in across almost 5 years at PCC. With that knowledge, I found work at my first screen print job at “Grow Your Own Media”. This prepared me to eventually build a screen print department for a startup international online fulfillment company known as the “Printful”. Ultimately, I also ran a DTG department for a clothing brand “Malibu Shirts”. This career path was instrumental while also pursuing my own streetwear brand. I had the ability to run my own production with access to the necessary equipment. Although my brand has taken a hiatus, there are seasons of collections awaiting release.

In-between my career as a shirt printer, I had also found my way into a cultural creative marketing agency “SA Studios”. This company was partly owned by one of my favorite artist and hero’s “Mr. Cartoon”. There I saw the legendary and iconic artist from behind the scenes. I got a taste of corporate life dealing with big brands as well as managing brand ambassadors and helping coordinate events of all sorts. Much like Cartoon, I have had commercial work within signage and murals. This work ranges from a taco restaurant, gyms, a school, barber shops, a streetwear shop, vape store, to a gaming and e-sports innovation company.

So now I’m 27 and a new father. I named my son Samuel and his middle name is Franky in honor of my childhood Pastor “Frank”. My current commitment is tattooing where I’m pursuing to build a lifelong career. My current work is focused on black and grey and lettering. I plan to build up the ability to do portraits and color work as well.

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?
The toughest struggles have been hustling through 5 different Pizza jobs and internships without pay. I held 2 jobs and an internship during college and still earned 2 separate honors achievements. Although, I had to battle criticism at home from working internships with no pay, both of those experiences led to full-time careers. After that, I worked 2 full-time jobs while single-handedly producing a streetwear collection. I designed, marketed, sold, printed and curated everything. I’ve set up booths at events and sold nearly nothing. But through any of my struggles, my mindset was focused on my next move. I never let my status at the time defer me from where I wanted to be. Maintaining a positive attitude is never habitual. It is a constant internal battle and I respect the process because you really can’t appreciate success without struggle.

Please tell us about Craoe.
“Craoe” has grown to be my brand and company. It has been my graffiti name, streetwear brand title and now is the umbrella over all my creative efforts. I get to do signage and murals on my own while also being outsourced to other bigger companies for their own work.

I approach any project as an assignment. I consider the client, their likes and values and the ending viewers too. My full service provides a brainstorming meeting, 3 concepts, 3 sketches, 2 revisions and mockups. I personally negotiate the assignment, photograph spaces and fulfill ideation all the way to execution. This helps me tailor the best outcome for my client and collaborates our visions to a finalized one.

The work I do is known to use airbrush, spray paint, acrylic paint or even body paint. I’ve also learned the craft of gold leaf and reverse glass painting. I can project an image, pounce stencils or simply freehand depending on any projects needs. Lately, tattooing has become my committed effort. I am constantly creating tattoo flash and offer them at affordable rates to build my clientele. I’m known for being affordable, humble and working with motive. I’m most proud of that reputation and always advancing in my efforts.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
The most important memory to me is the impact my childhood church had on my family and I. The “First Baptist Church of Glendale” provided us with a beautiful affordable home while growing up. Even when my family and I strayed from having a spiritual relationship, they never turned away. Pastor Frank and his family were the kindest people I ever met and I model my way of being close to their humble ways. Although, I have not followed religion anymore, I am forever grateful for the kindness of theirs and the impact they had on us. Thanks to networking through a church outing, I also met a mentor who eventually was my recommendation to “SA Studios”. So, my memory is the church and all the good that came from there.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.craoe.com
  • Phone: (818) 434-4031
  • Email: craoe.info@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @craoe
  • Facebook: Samuel Rojas

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