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Thought-Provokers from the Valley

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 the Valley that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Pedro Avila AMC

I’ve never been one to inconvenience anyone else, so when I came to this world I decided to arrive at 8 pm, so my mother could have a good night sleep and well-rested in the morning we could start a new day together. I grew up in Durango, a small city in Mexico, but along with my brother, two sisters, and parents, we spend most our summers in Los Angles where my grandmother lived. Sometimes we would travel to a small town in rural Idaho where my mother’s sister lives. Read more>>

Zoey Black

I was just a little girl from a local area with big dreams. Growing up on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, Australia, where I lived a pretty normal life. I used to watch my sister dance as a hobby after school and when I watched her classes, I knew I wanted to be in them too. I’ve been dancing since the age of five years old but at first, only in the technical categories. I’ve always been competitive and always wanted to be good, the best, the one in the middle in the front row. Read more>>

Andres Vergara

I remember this Spanish class in school, in which we talked about symbolism and how it applies to films. I could go on about the things we talked about and how I was utterly amazed about this way of looking at movies, but let just leave it as “it changed my life”. Ever since, I found any excuse to turn anything into a movie-making opportunity: homework, school presentations, Mother’s Day’s gift but never really contemplated it could be something I could grow up to do for a living. Read more>>

Oliver Akuin

I have been drawing ever since I was five years old. I remember going on family vacations and doodling on the hotel memo pads that were by the phone in our room. That’s all I needed! I would sketch cartoons that I loved, like The Ninja Turtles and Animaniacs. I eventually got confident enough to create my own characters. They were silly and unique. I knew right then that I wanted to do this all my life. Read more>>

Emily Satterfield

I’m a visual artist working out of lil ol’ Burbank. I specialize in animation, but also dabble in various other creative pursuits in this splendid city. I’m not a native Angelino however I’m from way over yonder on the opposite coast. I grew up in a lovely semi-rural area in Greenville, South Carolina. Blessed to be raised in a home where the ‘practical’ career path was finding something I loved to do. Read more>>

Jack Kapson

I always had a sense of curiosity. I became fascinated and obsessed with new things all the time. I was constantly picking up new hobbies like drawing, skateboarding, stop motion videos, and even things like free-running and acrobatics. I would just get really stoked about people who were really good at what they do and say to myself, “I could do that.” One of my earliest fascinations was music. Read more>>

Andres Vergara

Since I was a kid, I found any excuse to turn anything into a movie-making opportunity: homework, school presentations, Mother’s Day’s gift but never really contemplated it could be something I could grow up to do for a living. I’m from Colombia, and in a country where the movie industry is quite small, you wouldn’t expect a filmmaker to afford to eat anything but instant ramen. Getting good grades in high school worked against my favor when I decided I wanted to go to film school. Read more>>

David Kirsh

When I was five, my mom put me in piano lessons. I did not enjoy it to the extent she had hoped. When I was 13 at summer camp, I picked up a guitar for the first time, much to the chagrin of my cabinmates who were undoubtedly totally overhearing me play Seven Nation Army on Michael Sniderman’s Yamaha guitar again after this first week. I got back from camp and begged my parents to get me guitar lessons, which they obliged. After about a year, I had begun teaching my teacher. Read more>>

Gevik Nalbandian

I was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1969. My dad was a nationally known architect and my mom was a Vidal Sassoon-trained hairstylist. As such, I was always around paintings, pictures of beauty, style, museums, and art collectors. Pencils and paper have always held a special place in my life. In fact, pencils and any flat surface never escaped my doodles (desks, walls, margins of books and notebooks). While studying Computer Science, I never thought of myself as an artist, let alone becoming one. Read more>>

Megha Sarpal

Since I was a kid, I love fashion and makeup, and I am a licensed cosmetologist. I always enjoyed working with all things considering beauty. I received my license back in 2005, and I wanted to open my own salon and establish a name for myself. I decided to launch MS Glamour back in 2017 because I wanted to show that beauty does not need to compromise the well being of one’s skin. Read more>>

Andrew Schmedake

When I was a Junior in high school, I had to give an oral presentation on George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”. As a 16-year old kid, I loved horror movies. The living dead didn’t scare me. But public speaking did. Even today, I still talk about a million miles a minute, so you can imagine how bad it must have been for a nervous kid about to talk in front of 30 of his peers. My heart was racing. Read more>>

Noé Zagroun

I was born in Nice (France), in a family of music lovers. Everybody played an instrument, but no one had taken it further or made it their actual job! We had an (unused) little piano in the living room. As soon as I got tall enough to reach the keyboard, I started playing songs that I would hear on the radio, and also started composing my own stuff! I would play for hours everyday. Read more>>

Wade Thomas

Whether it was during my childhood as I would coach younger kids in soccer or bowling, or in my early professional career when I would develop the next generation of store managers for a national retail chain, I always knew that my passion was for helping people reach their potential. This passion became a career for me, as I rose through the ranks of the human resources profession. Read more>>

Rodrigo Rincon Jr.

My love for art never faded even when I was discouraged by an art instructor from college. Apparently the way I drew and held my pencil was incorrect so I stopped going to college. Instead, I focused on drawing designs for people to get tattooed which led me to purchasing my first tattoo machine when I was 20 years old. I applied for a tattoo apprenticeship and was given the opportunity by John Corell from Why Not Ink Tattoo in Mission Hills, CA. Read more>>

Brendan Fillingham

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by music, my parents met in New York and my mother would listen to Steve Winwood and The Beatles with me in the womb. They opened up an antique shop in Vermont and I can remember dancing around the shop and at home with one of those plastic Van Halen esq light-up guitars. Read more>>

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