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South LA 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 South LA that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Mel Depaz

That’s when I realized I had some sort of skill. In high school, I finally took an art class my junior year, my teacher noticed I was more dedicated to finish my assignments than most, so he recommended I signed up for an art program called Ryman Arts. I applied and got in my senior year. Read more>>

Daisy Noemi

I didn’t really get into art and photography until my early 20’s. Since then I have fallen deeply in love with photography (especially film) and everything art related. I decided to refine my photography skills by enrolling in the Santa Monica College photography program. Read more>>

May Roded

My parents signed me up for a workshop at an art studio in my hometown, and from this workshop, I learned that art could become a career. So my interest in art became a core focus and goal of my life. When I got to community college, I enrolled in analog photography classes and was granted a scholarship for the series of photographs I was creating. Read more>>

Jeff McMillan

I had a friend of a friend that had a friend working at Disney that was looking for a new hire right out of school. From there through Disney I got hooked up with a gallery called Gallery 1988. Disney did a couple collaboration shows with 1988 and I got acquainted with them and gallery scene that way. Read more>>

Syreeta Singleton

I spent the next seven years writing anything: raps and essays, but mostly poetry. I’d write poems for kids to give to their crushes and to get over break-ups. I thought I’d major in journalism, instead, I majored in Public Relations where I wrote press releases and really long e-mails. Read more>>

Tayo Joyce

After a number of unsuccessful attempts at getting my music produced, I decided to learn about music production at Crē8 Music Academy in Westlake Studios, and I was so inspired by what Doug Fenske (my instructor) taught the class that I decided to become a music producer as well. And, I have been juggling painting, songwriting, singing, and music producing since then. It’s been an exciting ride! Read more>>

Ashley (Abstraktash) Cole

I started drawing at a very young age. I’ve always been passionate about art. I feel like I was born to create. While my friends were outside playing I was the kid who stayed in a colored and drew sketches of Mickey Mouse and other characters I loved. As I got older, I wanted to get into fashion design and I actually designed a few of my friend’s prom dresses in high school. Read more>>

James M. Black

After getting out of a bad relationship, I had no idea what I was going to do in life. Eventually, my mom told me of a cousin that we had who was an actor in LA. I linked up with him via phone and decided to take a trip down there. My cousin Brandon then took me to his acting class where I met the brilliant Choice Skinner and the Breakin Through Acting Workshop. Read more>>

Austyn de Lugo

I never considered a career in the arts, but after spending my late teens and early-20s in community college classes trying on different fields of study (political science, feminist studies, theater, sociology, and art history to name a few), I ended up deciding that art school was what I wanted to do. I moved from Orange County to Chicago and attended the American Academy of Art, where I earned my BFA in oil painting. The Academy focused very specifically on technical ability and realism, but I was not conceptually challenged much during my time there. Read more>>

Jess Kovic

I’ve always gravitated towards the arts. As a kid, I would try to replicate the art on my Lisa Frank trapper keeper. I loved disposable cameras and fantasized about being a photographer for a magazine, but I categorized those interests as hobbies. I decided early on that I didn’t want to be a starving artist. Read more>>

Jonny Strang

I’ve been enamored with sounds and melodies ever since I can remember. As a kid, I would take over the radio during family road trips and entertain my family with how many songs I could recognize. During middle school, I started to really dissect my favorite albums and break down all the moving parts of the music. Read more>>

Renee Baldwin

Teaching and choreographing at such a young age allowed me to find myself as an adult. Learn patience. Experiment as an artist. And at the age of 23 decided I wanted to commit fully to dancing professionally in the industry of commercial and concert dance and really make a carrier for myself. I wanted the challenge so badly. Read more>>

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