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South Bay_12.2.16

Jeff Aguilar

When I was little, I love toys like every other kid. I was into Power Rangers when I was little, even doodling them during class. I eventually came up with my own version of Power Rangers, designing their costumes and their robots. I even figured out how exactly the robots combine together. That was the start of having an interest in designing toys. Read More>>

Michelle Calderon

I graduated with a degree in Interior Architectural Design and quickly decided after graduating, and working on structures for Disneyland and Universal Studios, that I really loved creating the presentations much more than the 3d modeling. So I taught myself Illustrator and Photoshop every day when I got home from work. I really wanted to teach myself how to design infographics and visualize data, and my first design job title actually was ‘Infographic Designer’ at Wpromote. Since then I veered into product and UI design when I landed my job at Omaze, where I’ve been for over 2 years. This has been my favorite job I’ve ever had, and it’s so much fun continuously trying to improve the user experience for our customers. Read More>>

Ariel Wilson

I grew up in southern California and spent most of my childhood creating art, writing stories, and exploring. As a young adult, I moved around a bit between La county and San Diego county, traveled abroad little, and eventually landed at UCSD, where I got my bachelor’s in Studio Art. When I graduated I didn’t apply to any jobs, and instead gave myself a year to try and work freelance. I figured if at the end of a year it wasn’t working I would reevaluate and make a new plan. Somehow, it worked, and I’ve been working as a full-time freelance artist for the last 5 or 6 years. I feel really lucky, and I love that every day I get to work on something that feels new and different. Read More>>

Brianne Schaer

I am a young professional with an unquenchable desire to travel and experience new places, people, and things. Ever since I was a little kid I would write and create mock interviews with friends and family. That’s why I decided to study journalism. After graduating from Cal State Long Beach, I began the job hunt and eventually started work as a copywriter for the marketing department of a local IT company. I love my job because it allowed me to strengthen my business writing skills while providing a flexible work schedule to travel and explore. I travel as often as I can, whether it’s just a short weekend trip or an extended stay in an exotic land. I photograph my adventures and write about them. I’m currently working on starting my own hiking blog, so that’s a project I’m very excited about. Read More>>

Jess Brown

Back in high school (in IL) I started freelancing and did design and development for small business and bands in my area. When I was 20, I was hired at a marketing agency to start their web design and development department. I worked there for about 6 years and was able to build an awesome team and really enjoyed that experience. Until one day I got an offer to join a startup in California and decided it was time to move my family out to California. I’ve been working with different startups ever since. Read More>>

Tina Yap

I’m not so sure when creative things became important to me (I have loved them as long as I can remember), but I do know WHY I feel the need to pursue them. Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, I was taught that taking care of one’s elderly is a tradition. As a middle school kid, it was my job to come home immediately after classes to care for my Grandma, or Popo, as we called her. She had Parkinson’s disease and was bedridden and required lots of care. I’d read to her or sing to her, but what she really liked were my drawings. Each time I’d make one for her it was as if she received a precious gem. She smiled and her eyes danced in a way we so rarely saw in that stage of her illness. I savored the way her face would light up as she examined each work. I believe these moments with my Popo sparked a true understanding of the power of art and expression and created the need to bring happiness through them. Read More>>

Chris Porter

I’m originally from Cleveland, OH. I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and received my Bachelors of Science in Interactive Media Design. Art always just got me, if that makes sense. I was always into art and it started at a very early age. I remember getting into trouble all the time for designing NBA logos in class when I was supposed to be completing classwork. Besides my love for the NBA and doodling the logos, I was also into drawing maps of Cleveland, skyscrapers, and superheroes. Read More>>

Armando Pacheco

Since the age of 7, I’ve had a big interest in comic books and graphic novels. I would spend hours in my room drawing and tracing all kind of cartoon characters. It became so natural to me. I’d soon start drawing these cartoons from memory and along the way created my own characters. Looney Tunes were my favorite. In retrospect, I’ve always been attracted to art and design. Creative subjects were always my favorite and became very natural. During my senior year in high school, I had a friend who was very fond of my artistic skills. He gave me my first graphic design assignment. Read More>>

Monique Wilmoth

I’ve always enjoyed making things but never had a super high skill of precision or detail – I just liked doodling, knitting, paper crafting, etc. When I was in high school, I became really interested in handlettering and started to post my sharpie drawings to a tumblr blog. I soon started to commission work and began freelancing, with my first client being a band called The Cab (formerly signed to Universal’s Republic Records). From then, I began doing a lot of apparel and merchandise design for pop/punk bands and other record labels. I began my design education at CalArts in their undergraduate graphic design program in 2013. Being at CalArts has influenced my process and style greatly. I’d say I’ve really gone back to my love of working by hand and embedding these elements into my work. Read More>>

Philip Boelter

At an early age, I began taking art classes at a local art school in my hometown of Newhall, CA. My parents saw that I had a talent, so they kept me enrolled for several years. I grew up loving art. I was always drawn to the creative courses through elementary and high school, but rather than enrolling as a graphic design major, I found myself taking advertising courses at San Diego State University. I thought by pursuing advertising, I could have a career being creative, though I was wrong. After a couple years working radio promotions, I felt a void in my life. Read More>>

Jesse Thoman

It all started with creating my own characters. When I was a kid, I would write outlines phonetically and give them to my parents to read out loud. I would even draw out little ads on scraps of paper and ask my mom if she would buy that nail polish. It’s been a consistent outlet for my creativity. People on the streets? Subject to my imagination. Celebrities I liked and tv show characters? Totally up for re-creation in both written and visual forms. Read More>>

Matt Knox

My brother (Johnnie Munger) and I began our first startup,, together in 2009. DiggersList is an online marketplace for reclaimed materials, architectural salvage, and excess materials (brick, tile, wood) after construction or DIY projects. We raised a small round of funding, and we were able to get significant traction, securing a partnership with hundreds of Habitat for Humanity ReStores, all over the country. Read More>>

Javier Flores

I am originally from Phoenix, AZ where I graduated from The Art Institute of Phoenix. After graduating I was able to gain experience working for small design studios in Phoenix where I slowly built a solid portfolio focused on illustration. This eventually led to my move to California where I entered into the tee shirt/apparel industry. Over the last 9 years, I have grown and advanced my skills working within the apparel industry. Read More>>

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