Culture, Activism and Music | Odessa Kane
October 10, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermano @odessa_kane from Paradise Hills, CA! Originally from Tijuana, Odessa grew up experiencing a cultural blend that included his Mexicano roots and his Filipino heritage. He remembers, vividly, coming home as a kid and hearing his pops playing guitar and singing along to a crazy mix of influential artists. From Vicente to Prince, from The Beatles to Juan Gabriel.
One day, his primos from down the street introduced him to hip hop. What started out as him and his primo sitting around writing raps turned into a full fledged love for the art. Blessed with a neighborhood full of young cats who shared the vision, they created a collective called, “Masters Of The Universe!” Studying the craft since the mid 90’s, Odessa Kane went all in, in 2011 after learning from his older bro Orko the Psykotic Alien. He was no longer fooled by the illusion that a record label was the only way out. Inspired by MC’s like: Chuck D, KRS One, Melle Mel, Rakim and Ice Cube, Odessa felt compelled to provide his experience on our social conditions that affect us as a people. “How can I rap about whips and chains when our people are in cages right now?”
On November 9th, 2018, he humbly accepted the Special Commendation Award as a community advocate for the work he’s done throughout San Diego and for working with our youth! When asked what advice he’d offer to a young Chicano/Filipino wanting to get involved in music, he said, “Don’t force it, be honest, be creative. Learn about the history of hip hop and educate yourself on the architects of our culture. Good choices create greater opportunity. Stay Out The System!”
With @odessa_kane new record, “KING K.A.N.E.” dropping soon be sure to check out his directorial debut of his single, “Tres Sietes” on YouTube! Proving that we can alway’s contribute more to our craft and to our culture! A true innovator and student who leads by example but never forgets his roots.
Building A Lifeline To Our Culture | Jasmine Gomez-Zavala
October 3, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermana @lachicanacrafts from Tracy, CA! Jasmine grew up in a traditional Mexican household and she remembers her parents raising her and her siblings to be proud of their Cultura.
The influence didn’t stop at her parents though, her love for the crafts began from watching her abuelo’s work! From making custom furniture to building her childhood home, she would always get inspired from the attention to detail! As Jasmine started a family of her own she would always be involved in her kids arts and crafts projects. This only scratched the surface for her though and roughly 8 years ago she began making crafts and sewing again! Making quilts, dolls and other small Knick knacks that all brought her closer to the Mexican culture she loved growing up.
Last year, Jasmine created some new pieces for Dia De Los Muertos and it not only re-ignited her passion for crafts but inspired her to launch La Chicana Crafts in June of this year! Hand crafted, hand painted and hand sewn, Jasmine brings authenticity that can’t be bought in stores!
When asked what advice she’d offer a young Chicana wanting to make art, she said, “If you love what you do, then it’s right. If you don’t follow your dreams, you will definitely kick yourself for it later!” Jasmine credits her resilience to her upbringing, her loving husband José of 39 years, her 6 children and her 4 grandchildren. She proves that passion outweighs excuses and the notion that you need to have the “right circumstances” to succeed. You can find exclusive @lachicanacrafts on Oct 19th in Modesto, Oct 26th In Stockton and one in Murphy, CA all for Dia De Los Muertos Celebrations!
When Culture Meets Hustle | Marissa Duran
September 26, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermana @artbymarissaduran from Rio Rancho, NM. Growing up, Marissa remembers her mom bringing home colorful art and watching her dad draw beautiful landscapes. It can be tough for a kid growing up but luckily her parents understood how important it was to express yourself. She remembers being allowed to draw on her walls, so she would spend hours in her room experimenting with how colors mixed together!
Little did she know that she would be utilizing these skills years later. 2 years ago, Marissa started traveling with her family and decided to hustle and learn new ways to earn a living while doing what she loved. She learned advertising and began reaching out to businesses for window paintings/murals! This not only helped put food on her table but it helped her connect with the communities she visited and provided a way for her to leave her mark wherever she went.
When asked what advice she’d offer to a young Chicana who wants to become an artist, she said, “Learn as much as you can, work hard and don’t let the no’s or negative comments on your art stop you. Believe in yourself and create your art!” The beauty of Marissa’s work is a combination of strength, empowerment and her effective view on our Cultura. Utilizing her platform to not only express herself but to give back to her community is why we love her art. @artbymarissaduran is always seeking to push herself and grow. She is not only growing her business but she is also working on starting a community art class for children! The blessings never stop when you work hard and have the right state of mind/perspective. Congrats on setting up your artwork at the New Mexico State Fair a couple weeks ago and on all of your success!
Cultura Is More Than An Image | Capone Felix
September 19, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermano @theoldmancapone13 from Riverside, CA!
Few things make kids as happy as praise from their mother or father. For Capone, it was gaining attention from his mother who worked hard to put food on the table for him. Her beauty inspired most of his chola drawings with long hair! When Capone turned 18 he moved in with his tia in Palmdale after his primo got shot. To help take his mind off the situation his tio showed him how to make a prison style rig and introduced him to the single needle he learned from his bid. It wasn’t until he was 26, when he hurt his back and lost his job, that he had to utilize the skills out of sheer survival. 19 years later and it still puts food on the table for his familia.
When asked what advice he’d offer to a young Chicano wanting to get into tattooing, he said, “Know your craft, draw everyday and don’t worry about your ego or your image. The respect comes from your passion, your work ethic and your craft. Never stop learning.” Chicano culture can be misleading in today’s society due to social media. When we asked Capone about his thoughts on the matter, he said, “We dress up saying we’re paying tribute to our Cultura but the question is do we live proud everyday when the cameras are off? Do we build up our jente, giving them a helping hand, stand tall and proud to teach our next generation? The Cultura means to me, pride, hard work and love for each other.”
Capone uses his platform to give back and takes pride in knowin his work has helped people. Not only providing something that will last a lifetime but the idea that one day his kids will see their dads work decades from now is something that can’t be taken away. @theoldmancapone13 is currently over @stedfast_lasvegas and working on a few serious projects/art shows that include street violence and the things he’s seen. On top of that he plans to hit a lot more low rider/car shows and a few tattoo conventions so keep Trucha on his upcoming projects!
Empowerment Through Creativity | Paulina Perez
September 12, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermana @paulina_clothing from Visalia, CA! Growing up, Paulina was the youngest of 5 and the only girl. Her father told her mother that if they had a girl he would buy a sewing machine for her. 12 years after Paulina was born she finally opened the box and taught herself how to sew out of necessity. She remembers having to wear her brothers baggy tees, due to a lack of funds, until one day she made herself clothes and wore them to school. Paulina was embarrassed to tell the other kids that she made the clothes until she started getting compliments and eventually even clients!
In 2002, when Paulina was 18 years old she decided to move to Long Beach to study Art and Fashion! A few years later she graduated from Brooks College Of Art & Design Where she gained so much insight on the mechanics of the industry. After a couple of years working full time and keeping her passion on the side, she finally made the leap to launch Paulina Clothing in 2013. Anyone who has launched a new business knows it can be difficult but Paulina pushed on and in 2014 she was able to get her shirts into the Frida Kahlo Exhibit. The buyer sold out of her items within the first hour which provided more fuel to Paulina’s fire!
When asked what advice she’d offer to a young Chicana/Latina she said, “Find a mentor who can advise you. Have a big dream but be ready to take small steps!” Paulina stressed the importance of education, whether it be online courses or college. Learning provides insight which can lead to new ideas and new passions! Paulina’s resilience shows in the fact that she’s able to work full time and raise her 9 month old. The fact that she’s been able to take the leap of faith and be consistent shows what can happen if you put your mind to something and let it play out! @paulina_clothing will be featured on #Telemundo next Monday on their show #UnNuevoDia 👀 She also has two fashion shows coming up on Sept 21st in LA and one on Oct 5th in San Jose, CA! She’s looking to expand her brand in 2020 with a goal of retailing in Europe!
Strength Through Unity | Manny Mendez
September 5, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermano @mannyforeel from Lake Worth, FL! Manny was born in Cuba and moved to Texas when he was roughly 12. While in Dallas, he was exposed to Chicano culture. From buying lowrider Mags to researching artists, he remembers finding similarities between the two cultures!Little would he know that years later, in 1989, this form of art would be his best friend. Manny began his 11 year bid and in this time he fell in love with art and the relief it brought him.
In 2012, after battling with addiction and losing everything to the point where he was homeless, he made a decision to seek a new way of life. Getting back into art, Manny knew he wanted to turn around and help others who have either been where he was or had potential to head down the same path. Manny’s creative hunger led him to seek challenge and he eventually found himself giving writing/ film a shot! He understood the amount of purpose and freedom that art gave him should be available to everyone so one day in 2012 he decided to launch “FOREEL!”
Their mission is to help people to find purpose and understand that our struggle doesn’t have to be negative. He works with struggling addicts, people with felonies and inner city youth via his artwork! One of Manny’s dreams was to write a book about both the horror and the beauty his life has brought. On January 16, 2019, he received his first printed copy and ironically this date also marked 7 years clean from drugs and alcohol for him which is poetic in and of itself. Manny is on a mission to share not only his story but the stories of those who weren’t as fortunate to make it out of that toxic lifestyle. His goal is to take FOREEL on the road and speak at colleges, rehabs, centers and inner city schools to remind people that although life is not always fair we always have a choice. Gracias hermano for sharing your story with us and for all the work you do for our community!
Embracing Chicana Culture | Cecelia Perez
August 29, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermana @asspie from Sacramento, CA! Growing up, Cecelia had no shortage of inspiration. Her Madre would take her to craft shows, bring home art supplies and one day she introduced her to the Royal Chicano Air Force! (RCAF) This is where many Chicano artists/veterans took her under their wings and became mentors to her at only the age of 11. Cecelia remembers having a competitive nature early on when she would always want to push herself and create better quality artwork even as early as 3rd grade.
Cecilia saw art as a way to cope with her unstable hormones growing up and truly values the outlet that it provides to many. This is why she feels so passionately about her work and why she never creates a piece by accident! She creates work that not only celebrates our Cultura but has a sense of nostalgia in the most genuine way. When asked what advice she’d offer to a young Chicana wanting to become an artist she said, “Draw everyday, even on bad days. Don’t anticipate fame from art, create because you genuinely enjoy it!” Originally, Cecelia wanted to pursue a degree in Mortuary Science, (for financial reasons) but ended up switching to an art major because she knew that her passion would find a way to create financial success doing what she loves!
Cecelia is proud of using her artistic ability to be a voice for many Chicano/Chicana’s including herself. Her vision has manifested itself into providing insight for others and she now teaches in San Francisco thanks to her friend Chris G! Along with this new teaching venture, Cecelia continues to play a role in her community and just recently took part in a collaborative mural on the California Automobile Museum! (Pic 4) She hopes to continue to network, finish school and plans on connecting with a solid printing company to expand her brand! Gracias for the consistency and for always representing La Causa. Can’t wait to see what’s next hermana!
It’s A 213 Thing | Gilberto Godoy
August 23, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermano @la_reflections from Huntington Park, CA. Growing up, Gilberto was influenced by the rush of street culture. Although this led to trouble, it also led to a different way of viewing the world! Gilberto started taking pictures slow like everyone else but quickly experienced the same rush because he found a way to show the world the way he saw it. From the writing on the walls to the Dayton’s on a 64’ Impala.
When asked what advice he’d offer to the next generation of photographers he said, “Do it for yourself and shoot what you love with the acceptance of always trying to improve.” Three months ago people from AT&T reached out to him with an opportunity to partner on their newest campaign, #itsa213thing. You can now see some of @la_reflections work on billboards around Los Angeles!
Gilberto is currently working on expanding his passion and stepping into the videography field! His goal is to start working on documentaries and we are beyond excited to see what he creates. Challenging yourself is never easy but that’s the whole point. People like Gilberto inspire us to always seek evolution!
Chicano Culture Expressed Through Art | Rick Munoz
August 8, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermano @rickmunozdesigns from East LA, CA. Growing up in El Paso, TX, Rick had 4 primos who would draw and paint. All 4 were solid but Luis (his cousin) was on another level and Rick gained not only inspiration but challenged himself to sit next to him and work on his craft for hours. Rick was only 9 or 10 years old at the time and Luis was roughly 15 or 16.
It was some years later that his primo Jose introduced him to what an airbrush could do! It’s moments like these that can change a young vato’s whole life. Jose first began spraying superhero logos and cartoon characters on t-shirts which changed the way he viewed creativity. Rick would also see his primo Jose work on model cars and military boats and paint them afterwards which provided Rick with yet another creative outet and newfound hobby.
When asked why Cultura is so important to him he said, “It’s very important to me to add something that reflects our rich culture and show the next generations how beautiful it is to be a proud Chicano/Chicana.” When asked what advice he’d offer to the next generation of artists he said, “There’s no secret. You gotta work for it and put in the time. Be patient, it will come to you.”
From introducing freehand airbrush techniques in South America to teaching the technique in China, Rick is no stranger to exploring the possibilities. He’s won 1st place trophies at car shows and collaborated on murals throughout Los Angeles in the 90’s. Rick is now focusing on his oil paintings, new clothing line and some more murals! Gracias hermano for keeping the Cultura alive with your work!
Instagram | Email: Airbrushrick@gmail.com
Trust In The Process | Underground Ambitionz
August 1, 2019
This week we spoke to the infamous duo @undergroundambitionz from Salt Lake, UT! Originally from Ventura County, CA, @slowmo_ua and @wally_ua have been exposed to music and Cultura since they were youngins! Growing up Slow-Mo shared a room with his older brother who had a studio in the room and would always record with his homies. Later, as Wally grew up and fell in love with music, he asked Slow-Mo to hop on an early track on the “I Should Probably Be Doing My Homework” mixtape and @undergroundambitionz soon after came to fruition!
UA expresses heavy West Coast influences like: Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, NWA and more. As Wally grew up he began expanding his taste to the likes of Mac Miller and Tyler The Creator which brought a more abstract view to his arsenal. Wally being a little older credits personal influence to the likes of Outkast, Three 6 Mafia, Big Pun and Twista which provide a smooth and confident view to his arsenal.
UA has opened for such acts as: @lilpump , @therealkapg , @babybash , @snowthaproduct to securing collabs with Crunchy Black from #Three6Mafia and recently @jarrenbenton from #RocNation. UA’s music provides a mix of good vibe beats with lyrics that are sure to get you off your couch and go make something happen! With singles like #Revenue and #Muscle you can catch a taste of UA but don’t forget their kick back tracks like #Loud for all the smokers out there!
When asked what advice they’d offer young Chicano/Chicana’s who wanna get into music, they said, “Nike said it best, Just Do It! Do what feels right to you and always be yourself!” UA are currently working on their 2nd album, “Bud Brothaz Dos” and are working on solo albums! They recently were interviewed by our own @aguilacreative with @choppedculture so check that out for more on their story! Gracias, hermanos for representing and giving us that hustle music!
Empowering WOC Through Photography | Renee Lopez
July 25, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermana @misslopezmedia from Yakima, WA! 🌎 With a passion for live music and activism, Renee knew that her camera would be another way to get involved in her community. Her work is dedicated to the strength, resilience and beauty within people of color. WOC are not only represented but at the forefront of Renee’s work and it’s exciting! “It’s really empowering to see women who look like you doing powerful and motivating things!” Renee wants people to experience a sense of pride, representation and joy when looking at her work.
When asked what advice she’d offer young WOC, she said, “You can do ANYTHING in a male dominated field, never give up. Find and reach out to someone who is already doing what you want to do and pick their brain!” @misslopezmedia took her own advice this past year by making a huge move to Oakland, CA to go all in on her passion and is now a full time freelance photographer! This year she taught beginner photography lessons to adults, taught middle school youth of color photography and worked with #Nike and #Adidas
“I find more folks then not, who want to share the knowledge they've gain. Don't take no for a answer believe in yourself and know your worth, practice your craft all the time, but be careful of burn outs, also know its okay to slow down and take breaks, regroup, try different things. If you love doing something do it, the world needs your creativity. Uplift other woc around you!” Renee is a perfect example of determination and resilience as she not only has overcome many obstacles but is completely self taught! Thank you hermana for using your passion to provide insight and awareness to our community. To stay up to date on all things that she is involved in please follow the links below.
Breaking The Stigma | Raquel Divar
July 18, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermana @raquel_divar from San Francisco, CA. Growing up in The Bay, Raquel found inspiration around every corner. From undercover poet, writing in her notebooks to recording her first project thanks to her homeboy “P.” Women in the rap industry have always been there but the ones that made it had to work 10 times harder to break through. Raquel understands that now is the time for women and fem identifying people to be in this industry. Raquel is one of the up and coming artists who truly breaks the stigma of what a “female rapper” looks like in the best possible way!
“I want people to go to a whole other planet with me for a second, like a little auditory vacation.” When asked what advice she would offer the next generation of young women, she said, “Do your research on your mics, audio gear and recording. Know what an XLR is, how your mics work and research some vocal recording techniques. First for yourself but also when you end up in a studio full of dudes and you know exactly what your talking about I promise you will feel like a boss.” Coming up there weren’t many female rappers to look towards but now there are shows every weekend from the underground to the main stream stage!
@raquel_divar has her single “Cherry” dropping July 21st (produced by Jvnitor) and a full project scheduled to drop in 2020!
- 7/21 Portland - PDX Pop Now
- 8/18 Portland - SA-ROC
- 9/12 San Francisco - Atari Jone Currency Exchange Tour Photo By: Miss Lopez Media
- 9/14 Eugene - Atari Jone Currency Exchange Tour
To stay up to speed on everything Raquel is doing follow her sites below!
Tattoo Culture Behind Bars | Angel Bonilla
July 4, 2019
This week we spoke to the hermano @angel.jrbonilla all the way from Rivers Correctional Institute in North Carolina.
On April 3rd, 2008, Angel found himself having to answer for his past life. With one foot in on his passion and one foot in on his grind, it was a life that many know and one that leads to a similar ending. Originally from Zacatecas, Angel moved to Riverside when he was 12. As a kid, he would see some of the older kids, (including his brother) tattooing themselves with the “Pick and pick method.” Not knowing any English as a kid, Angel would draw and practice his handwriting nonstop. This would be the foundation for his love for art and tattoo culture. At only the age of 14 he got one of the older kids to give him his first placaso.
He fell in love with the culture and started tattooing just after 15 years old. The thought of providing something that would last forever was not only challenging but rewarding. Unfortunately, bills had to be paid and money wasn’t consistent so he had to seek outside sources. In 2005, Angel went to his first tattoo convention and it re-sparked his passion for tattooing. Around that time he also met #JoseLopezTattoos and set a goal to go all in within a couple years. In 2008, he had purchased enough equipment to open up shop when the door was kicked in and his dreams put on hold. @angel.jrbonilla is currently 11 years into his 16 year bid but is holding on to his passion for art! When asked what he does to maintain faith he said, “Stay positive and keep my mind busy.”
When asked why it’s important to maintain a connection with our Cultura he said, “So we don’t forget where we come from or the sacrifices others made for us.” “It’s unfortunate that we make the wrong choices by the illusion of easy money.” @angel.jrbonilla takes full responsibility for where he is and plans on doing what he can to amend the relationships he has affected. Gracias hermano for not only telling us your honest story but for your continued support! Your goal to open up your own shop and travel the world is inspiring. We will stay in touch and be ready to help with what we can.
Capturing Tradition and Culture | Gus Mejia
July 13, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermano Gus Mejia from Los Angeles, CA
Three years ago, Gus went to his first photo-meet. Battling with depression at the time and riddled with anxiety, he decided to grab his camera and head to the event. The anxiety slowly faded away when he got behind the lens and all he could focus on was getting the best angles! Dia De Los Muertos, with all its vibrant colors, rich history and culture, provided inspiration for Gus’s work! The tradition is one that he takes great pride in and loves to let others experience it through his work.
When asked what advise he’d offer to our youth who want to photograph, he said, “Work hard, never give up and have fun with it!” A few months ago #OriginalsMagazine reposted one of his photos and reached out to see if they could use one of his original pieces for their latest magazine cover! @gu5_09 Is currently working on his 2nd Dia De Los Muertos exhibition and is always looking for new ways to get involved with the community! Gracias for your work hermano and we look forward to your future endeavors!
The Art That Connects Us | Emilia Cruz
October 11, 2018
This week we spoke to @cruzemilia about her work and why she is so heavily involved in her local community. Emilia is originally from San Diego but currently resides in Simi Valley, CA and truly understands the importance of identifying with art. Her work consistently shows what women of color go through and promotes a strong message of self love. Her work not only forces us to think but allows us the opportunity to gain a little more understanding. Gracias for everything you do!
“I would like people to feel some type of comfort or connection when looking at my work. Especially womxn of color, I want them to see my work and think, hey she looks familiar.” - Emilia
See My Cultura Through My Lens | Santi 360 Photography
January 3, 2019
This week we spoke to our hermano @iamsanti360 from LA/OC, Califas! Understanding the importance of appropriate representation, Santi felt compelled to show our entire way of life and not allow the negative stereotypes to be the only images produced. The first image is from the 2006 Immigration March in Downtown, LA. This was the driving force behind Santi’s passion for capturing not only his hermano’s y hermana’s but also their raw emotions. Santi hopes his images help people see the rich cultura that binds us together and defines our familias. When asked what advice he has for the next generation of photographers he said, “You need to have compassion and respect for what you photograph. It’s an honor to photograph and you need to be careful not to misrepresent people.”
@iamsanti360 plans on having a huge year getting into short film and more documentary photography. Gracias hermano for your time and for the work you do!
Cultural Resilience & Longevity | Mi Vida Boutique
November 1, 2018
This week we spoke to Noelle from Shop Mi Vida located in Los Angeles, CA! “Mi Vida” started as a Chicana folk art collective under the alias, “Mi Prima” selling products at community festivals and marches. After 2 years they decided they needed a home and wanted the new location to represent the community. Mi Vida offers its space to local artists and monthly pop ups promoting cultural resilience and longevity! From handmade products/apparel to local events, the shop has created something that is truly beautiful with no end in sight! Congrats on the recent 11 year anniversary and we can’t wait to see what comes next!
“Art can be a catalyst for so much healing, connection and growth.” - Noelle
The Right Mindset | Skilly Waves
December 13, 2018
This week we vibed out with our hermano Skilly Waves all the way from the 208! Originally from Morelia, Michoacán, Skilly Waves found himself in Idaho. By the age of 16, he found it undeniably hard to avoid his love for music and began rapping on a professional level. Skilly draws his persistent passion from his father who provided a road map to success with his hard work and dedication! The hope is for people to close their eyes and really experience where the music can take you. His music is a fresh take on rap and the flow is flawless. When asked what advice he would give the next generation he said, “Brace yourself for more downs than ups but ask yourself how bad do you really want it?” Too many people give up before the break-through moment happens and that’s tragic.
Gracias hermano for your time and for your contribution to the cultura! The fact that you have enough insight to know you are currently evolving is exciting to see. To keep up with updates follow Skilly Waves CLICK HERE!
Educate & Manifest | Yvette Montoya
December 6, 2018
This week we spoke to Yvette Montoya from Southern California! Yvette is an artist who models and has written for the likes of TeenVogue, Hip Latina, and WeareMitu. She is also on the board of advisers for an amazing youth run organization called, Lets.Give! Due to the lack of Latina perspective in the media, Yvette felt inspired to utilize her voice. Her written work tell the stories of the countless powerful mujeres who do incredible things! Yvette is currently working towards becoming a political commentator, writing more mainstream publications and launching her own website! Not everyone has the same experience in this life and we can always use a different perspective in a "traditional" political landscape. When asked what advice she has for the next generation she said, "Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have a voice or that it's not important! Educate yourself before forming opinions."
Gracias for all the work you've put in and we are excited to see what you manifest due to your hard work and relentless mindset! For more information on what Yvette has coming up CLICK HERE!
The Chicano Heat | WrisperArte
August 16, 2018
This week we spoke to Pedro "Wrisperarte" Garcia all the way from Wilmington, CA! Pedro consistently spoke on the need to have respect for the ones who came before us. He understands the value of hard work and mentioned how he represents perseverance. Pedro has been involved in the art community for roughly 3 years now but has surrounded himself with art his entire life. Pedro's intention when creating art is to build something that is always evolving like us. He wants people to experience something new every time they look at his work. Pedro understands that his work is a representation of him which means as he evolves, so does his work.
The hermano is constantly putting out new work and his journey is great to watch! To see more of his work CLICK HERE!