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Meet Yancarlos Jimenez of Shop Cultura in Glassell Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yancarlos Jimenez.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Yancarlos. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My son is the motivation and driving force for me to create and produce Mexican American cultural artwork/content, My son is on the spectrum high functioning Autism and routine and structure are critical for children who are on the spectrum, reading to my son every night was our way of bonding, one book a night became our routine and part of his home structure. I recall wishing I would find children’s books with our stories or our culture. It was not very long before I embark on my own gurney of producing a children’s book focused on very strong visual characters from our community and culture.

Sketching with a ballpoint pen on any surface is second nature to me as far back as I can recall, I’ve been a visual artist since a kid when I was growing up in South Central Los Angeles, I can clearly remember feeling as though I only had two paths in my future, the first was joining my neighbors street gang or joining my second neighbor’s drug dealing business, Luckily for me, my sketches grabbed the attention of very talented graffiti artist in my school and soon my neighborhood, I would spend hours out in the streets on developing my own unique signature style and creative process. Looking back, it seems in one form or other I have avoided life’s hardship with visual arts.

During the creative process of self-publishing my own children’s book, I would share sketches and character designs on social media, I was very surprised at the level of support and positive feedback I would receive for my children’s book project. As the project grew I would also receive inquiries about making clothing with my character designs, seeing this as a perfect opportunity to help with the printing cost for my book, I set out to find a local print shops to help with building a clothing brand with Mexican American culture designs. Only after a handful of very frustrating meetings with a local print shops did I find out that there was a clear lack of passion in the creative process of silk screening, luckily I had enough foresight not leave these meeting empty-handed, during these meeting I would make inquiries about the print process using a manual silkscreen press. I would then use that information to pore over online forums and tutorials on finding the best process for printing t-shirts with a specific ascetic in mind. The clothing brand aims to create unique style of art that focuses on Mexican American culture with the visual ascetic of an American Vintage two-tone, Retro Pop, designs with bold outlines.

Has it been a smooth road?
For the Children’s book project it’s taken much longer than I first had predicted, I knew that the learning curve from conceptualizing to having a finished product was going to be long. I do feel that I’ve grown a great deal as artist with the children’s book project. I’m happy to say I have an editor revising the book at this time, and soon will be reaching out to printing house to start printing on my children’s book titled Jaimes’ Mighty Mustache.

The clothing brand is a completely different story, using a manual press is a simple process in theory, it seems that the rule with printing with a manual press, is you can study the theory and process, but the actual skill needed can only be acquired or gained by trial and error, and boy is there a great deal of errors to be made. You never stop learning when you join the printing press family. My favorite advise to new printers is “be prepared to learn from your mistakes, because you will make them. and do not be discouraged, yes you will get frustrated, patience will be needed if not gained. It can feel as though as a printer you will first learn how to make 1000 different ways of how not to print a clean design on a t-shirt.” I will all ways look back at those long nights into the early mornings when I first started and I could not print one clean design on a shirt and feeling completely defeated, then coming home from 9 to 5 and jumping back into printing t-shirts.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Shop Cultura – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Shop Cultura to me is a brand that is built from a children’s book project platform, a book focused with strong characters designs found in the Mexican American culture, using that same energy and creative aesthetic in making an American retro pop t-shirt design and merchandise, all brand products are printed by hand on a silkscreen press and produced by the artist.

As the owner and creative artists/ art director I designs all the content, from concept character designs for the children’s book, to finalizing character designs, all characters are sketched on paper and a you guessed it a ballpoint pen, then digitized on other one or both adobe Illustrator/ Sketchbook pro. My local supplier of paints also make my silkscreens, once the screens are made I print a set amount of products for other inventory for vending at public events or I make available to our wholesale retailer contracts.

From a creative standpoint, I focused my effort in Mexican American culture designs, primarily Day of the dead character designs and Aztec cartoon-style character designs. I’ve grown a strong unique style for a whimsical characters with a strong presence.

As a owner of a small business I’m must proud that my entire platform is built around children’s book, to help the children and adults see the beauty and creative insight of the Mexican American Culture, also adding one more children’s book for my community to potentially use as a possible learning tool for cultural centers, I strongly believe that diversity is critical for children development.

I believe what sets me apart is the character style I’ve developed, the best description I can give is a whimsical pop design with the body structure of a Japanese animation Anime character, the Bold outlines found in New York Graffiti characters murals, all fusion together with the heart and soul of Mexican American Culture. It’s safe to say my passion bleeds into all creative content.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The rich and beautiful Chicano culture built here and how more creative artist and businesses are building off that culture, how so many people from so many different backgrounds/cultures are building a community of rich diversity and opportunity. The potential this city has available for everyone, I know we as a community still have much to learn and grow from, but I can’t help but be proud of my city. and loyal to my roots of South Central Los Angeles.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All credit and rights belong to Shop Cultura

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