Cool People: Maria Sipin

Maria Sipin

Public transportation and health are two very important things in our society, but I didn’t realize quite how they intersected until asking Maria Sipin some questions on the topics. Maria, who is the Health Communications Specialist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a passionate ally in health justice and frequent public transit user. She serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Multicultural Communities for Mobility. She is also a Blogger and Creative Team Member at Pedal Love.

Not to mention, she went to the same college as me (Cal Poly Pomona), although not at the same time. We met on Twitter of all places! Read on to hear her thoughts on public transportation, biking, health and Downtown Los Angeles.

How did you become involved in active transportation and public health?
The four-hour commute from City of Industry to my internship at UCLA had a lot to do with my involvement in advocacy for active transportation. I first tried driving and vanpooling, and the stress combined with fuel costs were unpleasant. I eventually used Metrolink train, Metro rail, bus, and a lot of walking to get to my destinations. The time and costs were the same as driving, but at least I was constantly moving during my multimodal commute and not just stuck in unpredictable traffic.

My health care internship at the medical center led to a career in community health research where I often talked with patients about the best routes to get to their appointments and discussed their transportation issues. This is how I began to see the importance between transportation and health.

As someone involved in public health and bike awareness, what do you wish more people realized?
Transportation is directly linked to health outcomes. Having access to public transportation and streets designed for walking and bicycling is essential to helping people navigate their lives. Making streets safer for people creates healthier communities. There has to be something done about the hit-and-run issue in Los Angeles. It’s alarming and it’s a public health issue too.

Where is your favorite place to bike and why?
My favorite place to bike is around my neighborhood in Downtown LA. I don’t have a special route or destination, although I really enjoy river and beach paths dedicated to bicycles and enjoying delicious food at the end of the ride. I love exploring LA by bike and finding new places to eat, shop, and hang out. I’m all about short trips.

biking in LA at night nice road
biking in LA

What is one thing people are often surprised to find out about you?
People are often surprised that I don’t want to leave LA. They assume that I would enjoy living in other places because I love to travel (and because I would enjoy public transit systems elsewhere), but LA is my home. I want to continue building my life in this city and contributing the community I’m a part of here.

Tell me about some cool people in your life who inspire you on a regular basis.
I’m inspired by women in the STEM (science technology, engineering and math) fields, especially young women who are getting recognized for their innovative work and leadership. I admire people who are great mentors and dedicate their time helping others build their capacity to work in STEM careers.

What are some things that make you happy on a daily basis?
Walking with my puppies, going on pleasant bike rides, and trying new flavors at my local ice cream shop are some of life’s simple pleasures. Those are the most basic ways I practice self-care at the end of the day.

Follow Maria Sipin on Twitter to get her thoughts on active transportation, health, life in Los Angeles and more. You can also email her at

Cool People: Farheen Dayala

Farheen Dayala, writer

Today I am featuring someone I actually know in real life, not just as an acquaintance, but as a friend. I met Farheen Dayala two years ago when we worked together on the school newspaper. Actually, I think I met her the year before that but we became friends the year she was the opinion editor and I was the news editor. She is now working as a marketing assistant and freelance writer.

It’s impressive how much she knows about what is going on in the world and how she thoughtful engages with others on a wide variety of topics. She’s also a complete goofball and lovely person to know. Even though I know her, I still thought it would be nice to do a Q&A so my readers can get to know her too.

What motivates you to be a part of media?
I love media; it’s so fascinating to me. You can do so much with the right media exposure. I wanted to be a part of media after [seeing] the bad media that Muslims sometimes get. Being Muslim myself, I want to help change the image of Muslims in the United States. Many people don’t know a Muslim person in real life yet they may believe that ALL Muslims are terrorists, because of the way we are portrayed in the media, when that’s not the case. We’re your neighbors, teachers, doctors, journalists, etc.

What is one thing you wish more people understood?
I wish people understood the importance of understanding one another! Media is great, but sometimes when we hear about different various topics, whether it’s war, or gay marriage, or whatever the hot topic issue is, we just take it for face value. We see numbers, we see data, but we don’t see the HUMAN, the person, the life behind it all. I strongly believe that if we took the time to talk to one another with an open mind and heart, we’d be able to get along better and that can lead to less hate. We don’t have to love everything or agree with everything someone else believes or loves, but when there’s understanding, there’s compassion, there’s a common ground.

What is your primary motivation for writing?
I guess just the fact that I love how I feel alive when I write. If I want to be true to myself, then I have to write, it’s just a part of me.

How do you relax after a stressful day, week or year?
After a stressful day I’ll put on a season of FRIENDS. I recently bought the entire series and it’s the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. After a stressful week, I’ll go hang out with my niece and nephews! They make me more happy than anything else in the whole entire world. Other than that, I always turn to God when I’m stressed out and pray for patience and perseverance.

Tell me about some cool people in your life who inspire you on a regular basis.
My family, no doubt. Each member of my family inspires me in different ways. Also, great friends like you and Ana [one of our friends] inspire me with your kindness and open mind.

I know this is random, but what do you hope your life is like when you’re an old lady?
I hope when I’m an old lady that I have a family and I’m content and known as someone who is kind, good, and happy. I hope that when I’m old I feel good about my accomplishments, whatever they may be and that I not have any regrets.

What are some things you are thankful for on a daily basis?
HEALTH. That’s the number one thing. Being able-bodied and healthy is literally THE greatest blessing in life. Other than that, my family and friends. I know this sounds cliche, but at the end of the day, these are all the things things that really matter!

You can follow Farheen on Twitter and Instagram. She also has her own website at and is a contributor to SISTERS and ILLUME Magazine.

Cool People: Erin Kim

Erin Kim

I first met Erin Kim this past summer when she was doing her internship in Santa Monica with Yahoo Enetrrtainment. I met her and my boyfriend after they got out of work and the three of us went to a free KCRW concert. She struck me as being very sweet and also in tune with the world around her.

Through photos, tweets, GIFs, written, pieces and any other way she can, Erin tells stories every day. She is studying New Media and Fashion at NYU Gallitan. This semester, however, Erin is studying in Berlin.

So, you’re a student, writer and you’ve got cool side projects going on all the time. I’m impressed! What’s a typical day like for you?
My favorite part of the day is create the outfit I will be wearing.  I usually commute into New York City from my home in New Jersey. I really love learning, so I enjoy thinking about things in my classes at NYU [New York University]– last semester I took courses like Media and Fashion or Metaphor and Meaning, things that stimulate thought about storytelling, and media.

Every day I am on my social media platforms– Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook. I’m not shy on social media, I try to find my voice and put myself out there. Throughout any day, a moment might happen–a friend might say something stimulating, or I might see the perfect angle for a photo, and I will try to tell that story on some social media platform. I think my sixth sense is social media storytelling–it’s always on my mind, in a very natural, subconscious way.

This doesn’t really describe my typical day because some days I am always at home, and this semester I will be all in Berlin doing a whole new set of things. But no matter what, social media and storytelling is on my mind, as well as connecting with my friends and the people I love.

Winter Break Cool ride

Image source: 1, 2

When you were younger, what were some of your big hopes and dreams? That could be career-wise or other wise?
In elementary school, I dreamed of being an artist. I was a quiet kid, scared of most people. But I didn’t mind putting pen to paper and drawing or painting. In third grade, I drew a portrait of my self for class in which I had a beret on with a palette of paint in one hand and brush in the other, and I was standing in the middle of my “art gallery.” As I grew up, my mom had me attend a summer writing camp at UC Berkeley. I had been journaling for a long, but never thought my writing outside of class could be something valuable to share until I wrote my first personal memoir that summer. Writing and sharing that story was the beginning of something awesome; I’m smiling right now thinking about it.

What are your big goals for the future now?
“Big goals” scare me. I really try to do what I can to “live in the now.” When I was younger, I might’ve been more prone to “big goals,” like being a famous journalist (high school dream). But now, I really appreciate learning and being who I am amidst people I love. Career-wise, I’d love to run social media for a fashion brand, or maybe work at a digital branding agency! But, I just decided this like within the last few months. No matter what, I hope I can tell stories, whether it’s through sentences, images, tweets, selfies, emoticons, gifs, whatever.

What projects are you currently working on?
Smile Style has been a wonderful street fashion project I started this summer while I was in Los Angeles. Unfortunately I haven’t been keeping it up in the last few weeks because I’ve been planning on another! I have a lot of ideas in my head, I need to learn which ones I should actually execute though. This spring semester I’m studying abroad in Berlin and conducting a fashion research project. It’ll be like an ethnography through street fashion and social media. I’m aiming to share street fashion photos via Instagram, and interview and meet up with creative, stylish people for a blog or maybe a zine! Kinks are still to be figured out.

Although some of the things I do are “projects,” I actually don’t like the term because that word makes the actual action sound very concocted and sort of dishonest or unreal. The “projects” I do are really extensions of myself, or the stories I really want to discover and tell. I don’t really see the things I do necessarily as “projects,” they’re just…me! But I guess I have to call them “projects” for lack of a better word.

Cute dogs Erin's friend Katie Erin's nailsSparrow in a fence

Image source 1, 2, 3, 4

What has been one of your favorite moments in doing Smile Style, your street fashion photography blog?
When I took a photo of two dogs in Washington Square Park I was chatting with a friend, and I said out loud, “omg, I really want to Smile Style those dogs.” And she asked “Do it! Why not?!” That made me realize style is really not trends, or the clothes you wear. It’s who you are, how you wear it, and the personality that someone might see when he/she passes you by. The whole Smile Style project is about challenging the definition of fashion and style as trend, but more about identity and the individual, and that was a special moment that really embodied that vision.

Who are some cool people that inspire you on a regular basis?
I’ve become very in love with every day narratives and I find the people I meet on the street for Smile Style more inspiring than any celebrity or typical cool person icon. Cool people are every where. Everyone has a story, but it may not be found or edited yet–that fact inspires me regularly more than any particular person.

The best compliment I ever received was when a girl I had just met that day, told me that I can find out someone’s story through conversation immediately upon meeting someone. It made me feel incredibly elated that anyone would recognize or consider that me just talking to strangers or people I know could be something worth noting, especially since that’s just how I approach life and conversation. But I guess it’s really true. Storytelling is always on my mind even when I’m not thinking about it.

(If I really had to pick some people, I’d say Eva Chen is an inspiring digital storyteller; she knows what she is doing and how to do it. I am also always inspired by my previous Social Media Manager when I interned at Yahoo! Entertainment–she is an honest, compassionate communicator and has a true curiosity about so many things that makes me want to learn as much as I can.)

What is one thing that makes you smile every day?
I LOVE SMILING, so it’s nearly impossible to pick ONE thing. But, I must say, when I am feeling so cozy under my blankets and my body feels one with my comforter, the thing that gets me to jump out of my bed is to think “what am I going to wear today?” (Or usually, what outfit I thought up the night before). Creativity is magical and, for me, putting details of an outfit together is my daily action of creativity and magic.

Audrey KimBerlin Wall

Image source: 1, 2

In the time since Erin first answered these questions, she began Style Intro, which explores the relationship of Berlin to its people.  I am sure that no matter what she does from now on in life she will continue to smile and share love with others.

You can find Erin Kim many places online, as she loves social media and making internet friends. Her main Tumblr is Petite Promenades, her Instagram is here and you can follow her on Twitter here.

Top image via.

Cool People: Sophia Cox

Sophia Cox

Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job, but Sophia Cox manages to take care of her kiddos and run a business. I’m always impressed by ladies like that. Sophia’s Etsy shop includes custom family portraits and adorable drawings of animals. She also recently teamed up with the clothing line Indie Nook. I’m glad she dad time to answer my questions so I could share them with all of you!

What is your primary occupation? Please describe what you do on an average working day.
My primary occupation is  being a SAHM, 90% of my day is just kiddos, cleaning and cooking haha, I try to fit my work into that last 10 percent of time left in the day if I don’t fall asleep first! I do most of my work during my 1 year old’s morning nap or after she goes to bed.

The Cox family
Sophia and her family

I read in your Etsy bio that your degree is in fashion design, but  you realized that wasn’t what you wanted to do with your life and now you are doing fashion illustration. What was it like to make that transition?
During school I fell in love with garment design and sewing. I loved creating a piece of clothing from my own drawing, I entered local fashion shows, and even won scholarships for my work. My internships involved pattern design and development as well as illustration and sewing. I thrived on the deadlines and loved seeing each new collection walk down the runway. In my last year of school I had a decision to make, I wanted to expand my family and have a second baby, but I also wanted to get a job in my industry which would be very demanding. It was at that time that my family and I picked up and moved to Colorado from Kansas, and I finished my last semester of college online. I even did my final internship for myself, and that is where Paper Whimsy (originally amore amuse) was born! I realized that I wanted to use my fashion illustration background to create artwork for people, and I was really shocked to discover that people actually wanted to own my pieces! I still love to sew and create for my family and friends, but painting is where my real love is.

How long have you been doing fashion illustration?
My very first college class in 2009 was fashion illustration, I decided to take it because I fell in love with the artwork my friend had created in that class. From day one I was hooked, I knew it was what I was meant to do.

What accomplishment are you most proud or, whether it be professionally or otherwise?
I would have to say, as silly as it may sound, my most proud moment is every single time I sell a portrait. The feeling I get knowing that someone made the commitment to purchase MY art for their family is the best feeling in the world. It really never gets old.

What do you do when you’re in need of inspiration? Does that change when you’re running close to a deadline?
I do spend a lot of time on Pinterest when I am in need of inspiration, I also browse Etsy a lot. I have found a lot of other amazing artists thanks to Instagram and I love checking out everyones different Etsy shops, just to get my creative juices flowing! finding inspiration is definitely different when I am on a deadline, but since I tend to be a procrastinator I honestly sometimes feel more inspired when I am in a hurry to finish something. Maybe it is just that rush that pushes me to be my best, also coffee, lots of coffee. Haha!

Sophia's girls
Sophia’s girls Summer and Penelope

Tell me about some cool people in your life who inspire you on a regular basis.
My mother and my aunt are both amazing artists, I grew up surrounded by these incredible paintings and drawings. They both paint very realistic portraits and scenery in oils and acrylics, and as a child I always thought I would do the same, but I could never quite create what I wanted with those mediums. It wasn’t until my second year of fashion illustration that I found watercolors, and I have never looked back! I am also constantly inspired by my family, my husband is a web designer and he is constantly pushing me to be better and try new things. My oldest daughter also inspires me daily, she is only 6 years old but I am constantly blown away by her artistic talent.

What is your favorite thing about your everyday life?
Oh that is a tough one! right now my favorite part of my life is my children, I have a 6 year old little girl named Summer and an almost 1 year old (her birthday is this Saturday the 8th!) named Penelope. watching their relationship blossom has been the most rewarding and beautiful thing I have ever experienced. They are also a huge handful though and I have to say my second favorite thing is when the stars align and penny is napping and the house is semi clean and I have no errands to run, so I can sit at my desk and finally get some work done! these times are seriously few and far behind unfortunately, since Penelope has a mind of her own and a pretty crazy nap schedule!

Check out Sophia’s Etsy shop Paper Whimsy over here.

Cool People: Kerry Winfrey

Kerry Winfrey

I’m so excited to feature Kerry Winfrey as my very first interviewee on this blog! This 27-year-old writer from Columbus, Ohio is at once adorable, funny and witty. She talks about girly, smart, interesting things on her blog Welcome to Ladyville and regularly contributes to other websites, including HelloGiggles. Creative Ladies, one of her regular features on her blog, served as major inspiration for me in starting this new interview series.

How long have you wanted to be a writer?
This sounds like such a cliche, but I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a writer. Writing was always what I was best at in school. It’s what got me the most attention and what I had the most fun doing. I was definitely an “indoor kid,” so I spent most of my time reading stories and then trying to write my own. But as for how long I’ve seriously wanted to be a writer…that’s a little different. I have a bachelor’s in creative writing, but during college and for several years after I had basically no idea what it meant to BE a writer. I didn’t seriously start pursuing writing until a few years ago.

Do your own life experiences impact the work you do, whether that be your HelloGiggles column, other freelancing or writing YA novels? In what ways?
I’ve always been sort of obsessed with love, and that definitely influences the books I write about and the books I want to write. My high school experience, like a lot of people’s, wasn’t so great, and that influences the things I want to write. I want to write something funny that can make a high school girl laugh and take her mind off the fact that she really hates high school. I have a lot of sympathy for teenage girls, and I also feel a real sense of kinship with them. I’m not that far removed from my teenage self—I still have too many feelings and I still feel out of place most of the time. I like writing for and about teenagers because I was so unhappy when I was a teenager, and I hope that something I write will help a young girl feel even the tiniest bit better.

What is your primary motivation for writing?
I think I have two primary motivations. First, I like to connect with people. Sometimes I have a difficult time getting my point across verbally because I’m very shy and I’m a pretty slow thinker, but writing gives me the time to sort through my thoughts before deciding what I want to say. And secondly, I really like to make people laugh. If someone thinks my writing is funny, then that’s just about the best compliment I could get.

Can you tell me a little about what led you to this place in your Creative Lady journey?
I feel like I’m just starting out on my Creative Lady journey, but I guess we all have to start somewhere! I can say, though, that every job or opportunity I’ve had has been the result of deciding to believe in myself and work really hard to become a writer. I didn’t write at ALL for several years after college, and one day I just admitted to myself that I was miserable and I needed to write to be happy. I started really, really small (a few pieces in a local newspaper) and then just kept submitting to any place I could. Once I started writing for HelloGiggles, that opened a lot of new doors. Oh, and blogging the whole time has been a huge help for me—not just because it’s nice to have a lot of work online, but because it’s helped me realize the value of discipline and writing every day. Although I’m proud of the things I’ve done, there are MANY goals I haven’t yet accomplished. I love working towards goals, though.

What are some of your favorite activities to do when you are not writing?
I like to eat A LOT, so cooking and trying new restaurants are my favorite things to do. I love reading, which I think is pretty typical for writers! And I like working on crafts, even though I’m definitely not an expert. I like to sew (I’ve made a couple of pairs of pajama pants, some Christmas stockings, some skirts, and whole lot of half-finished projects) and I love crocheting! Sewing and crocheting are still creative, but they’re totally different from writing–they’re more visual, which is a nice change of pace. I don’t have as much time to do either of those things as I would like, though.

Kerry's crochet project

A crochet project Kerry has been working on ever since she can remember

You recently mentioned on your blog that you finished your first YA novel draft. What can you tell us about the novel? (anything from the synopsis to the process, whatever you’re able to share would be great!)
I don’t like to go into specifics about projects I’m working on (I think Ernest Hemingway once said that you’re not supposed to, and that’s just one of the many things old Ernie and I have in common), but I can say that it’s a romantic comedy. Romantic comedies combine my two favorite things—kissing and jokes—so they’ll probably always be my favorite genre.

What advice would you give a 15-year-old Kerry? I say 15 because I’m guessing that’s the age of most young adult main characters.
Oh, 15 year old Kerry has so much to learn. First I would tell her to give her parents a break. I was very, very mean until I was about 21 and I really regret it. Mostly I’d tell her to stop hating herself so much. At 15, I truly thought I was the lamest, most unloveable person in the world. I think for a lot of people that’s just part of being 15, unfortunately. But I would never have taken any advice because I’ve always hated being told what to do.

Tell me about some cool people who inspire you on a regular basis.
So many! I’m a big, big fan of David Lynch. He’s someone who has a unique creative vision that I enjoy, but more than that, he’s someone who makes creativity a part of his life. His book Catching the Big Fish is a really good explanation of his creative beliefs and processes. Even though some people dismiss him as being pretentious because his work tends to be a little weird, he’s just about the least pretentious person ever in his writing. He seems so kind, generous, and humble—I mean, he used to write every day at Big Boy. Also, he uses his influence to do great things, like help abuse victims and veterans with PTSD get access to transcendental meditation. He’s a good example of an unabashedly creative weirdo who’s still a solidly good person. That seems cool to me.

I really like Miranda July and Carrie Brownstein, too. They both do so many different things and seem to be constantly working. I think about them all the time when I lose motivation. You know, “What would Carrie Brownstein do right now?” The answer is usually not “Feel sad and go to sleep.” Instead it’s, like, “Be a huge badass all the time.”

I also think my family is really cool. They’re all very creative hard workers, and they inspire me all the time. I know everyone thinks their family is the best, but really…mine is the best.

Kerry's family portrait

Kerry’s dad made this portrait of her and her brothers, which she adores

What do you think qualifies someone as a cool person?
I think the most important thing, by far, is being a nice person. Having a good heart. Liking what you like without apologizing for it and not being a snob. Nothing’s less cool than a snob! Encouraging other people instead of tearing them down. And having a killer work ethic is just about the coolest thing there is.

What is your favorite thing about everyday life?
This is a hard question! I like mornings—just having some quiet time, drinking coffee, and thinking about my plans for the day. I also love having meals with my husband, which is something I’m lucky enough to do just about every day! And I love having any chance to laugh, which usually happens when I’m around my family.

Kerry posts regularly on her awesome blog Welcome to Ladyville, and contributes to many websites. Read her YA Fiction column on HelloGiggles here. You can also follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.

Introducing a new series: Cool People


I think people are amazing. Other people inspire me all the time.

I’ve been lucky enough to encounter some pretty cool people in my life and I’m sure I’ll bump into more all the time. By cool people, I don’t mean celebrity status or anything. I just mean, honest, hard-working, good people who inspire others.

There are plenty of people that I think the Internet should know about, so I’m starting a blog series about them. I’m spreading the word about creative, interesting people in the best way I know how with the means I have. I’ve been trying to think of a name for it and for now I’ve come up with “Cool People.” This will mostly be artists, writers, designers, photographers and other creative types, but I may throw in the occasional lawyer or non-profit manager.

There are some great blog series and podcasts that I’ve been inspired by that have led me to this venture. Those include Creative Ladies, Young Creatives, ModCloth’s Best Job Ever series, and the Girl on Guy podcast.

My series will be a little broader than some. Although I think it’s great when a series has a specific focus, such as female creative types, I don’t want to place a limit on who to interview. At least, that’s the case at this time.

I’ve met people who inspired me at school, at parties, bus stops, concerts and across the Internet. Even just a chance encounter can leave a lasting impression. Have you ever had an instance like that? Of course you have! Everyone has! That’s why I’m sharing the inspiration. I hope to talk to some really awesome people about their passions in life and hear some good stories. Everyone has a story to tell and it’s great to be part of the telling.

I hope you, my lovely readers, are as inspired by the cool people in this series. I’m really looking forward to it!

P.S. Wondering why I used that photo? It’s because we meet many people in our life travels. Some of those can help lead us down great paths.

Cool People: Ramiro Gomez, artist

I’ve been meaning to start a profile-type series for a while and I figure I might as well dive right into it. It’s interesting and inspiring to hear what other people are up to. Instead of waiting until all my ducks are in a row and the timing is perfect, I’m starting now with this first installment of a new series of profiles. Find out more about the Cool People series.

Ramiro Gomez Jr. standing next to one of his cardboard cutouts

Although I didn’t get a chance to do a question and answer session (recently) with cool person Ramiro Gomez Jr., I decided to write about him first any way. Here’s why: He has an art gallery in LA right now that you should totally check out before you miss your chance. Also, he’s way more popular than when I first met him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a household name.

Almost two years ago, I met Ramiro in a small music venue in LA called Perhspace where he was having his art exhibited. I loved his work right away and took little shitty pictures of his drawings with my iPhone as I walked around. I wish I still had those pictures to show you, but they’re probably saved on my old laptop that won’t turn on. I was there on a first date and about to see my now boyfriend and his band Wonder Wheel play. But that’s another story for another time.

When I needed an article idea for a magazine class a few months later, I decided a profile on Ramiro would be perfect. Unfortunately, I chose not to interview him in person because I had little time and no car. So we talked on the phone about his education, family, inspiration, work and how it all influences his art.

Maria's paycheck
“Maria’s paycheck,” by Ramiro Gomez

I went to what I think was my fourth Ramiro Gomez exhibit yesterday at the Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown.  At that show at Perhspace, he was exhibiting Rose Gardens, which was more focused on pop culture than his Happy Hills series. Since 2011, the majority of his work has been focused on the predominantly Hispanic workforce who work hard behind the scenes to maintain the look and life of luxury in Los Angles. His work includes cardboard cutouts, magazine paintings and other paintings. No matter the subject or the medium, his work is the kind that makes people stop, stare and reevaluate the space around them.

His work and the inspiration behind it is inspired by personal experience. After leaving the California Institute of Art and Design, Ramiro worked as a nanny in Beverly Hills where he keenly observed the relationships around him. The 20-something Mexican-American artist began to document what he sees and make the invisible stand out.

Los Olvidados
“Los Olvidados,” by Ramiro Gomez Jr.

In July 2012, he traveled to the Arizona desert to install a special series of cardboard cutouts. As Ramiro states on his Desert Project website, “The Desert Project is my way of honoring those who have made, as well as those who never completed, the treacherous trip through the unforgiving desert.”

Portrait of an affluent family
“Portrait of an affluent family,” by Ramiro Gomez

Ramiro has been featured in multiple publications, including the Los Angles Times, NPR, Policy Mic and The Huffington Post. Recently, he was chosen as one of 25 Artists to watch by Artvoices Magazine. In fact, Ramiro last week Ramiro stated on Facebook that with all the attention “Portrait of an affluent magazine” has received lately, it reached the man who is pictured with his family. The man is a designer and said he loves Ramiro’s work.

Domestic Scenes, his first solo art exhibit, opened last night at The Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown and will be on display until February 15.

You can see Ramiro Gomez Jr.’s work on his website. You can also find him on his Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

dot per inch


My friend Christian Soriano started a project called dot per inch, which I think is pretty amazing. CJ, as myself and most of his friends call him, is one of my coworkers at Gas Creative Group and one of the best photographers I know. In the past couple years he has been doing event and portrait photography, as well as videography. Through this project, he shows that every person we encounter in life is a unique individual made of of many experiences, similar to how a picture is made up of many small dots.

Here in his own words on the websites about page, CJ describes dot per inch.

I initially wanted to do a Stranger Portraits Project, but then I came across Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York which inspired me to try and make a stronger connection with those I photograph. So here I am now, working on a far more intimate photography project than what I had originally planned, Dot Per Inch (DPI). With each person I meet and photograph, I hope to share a little aspect about them, a “dot” if you will.

There is so much we can learn about the people around us, and I hope I can offer a peek into the lives of these people through DPI.

Please take a minute to check out his website. He’s off to a great start so far, but there are many more portraits and intimate chats to come. By the way, that’s me on the far right, in the middle row. Let me know what you think in the comments below.