About the Project
My project explores the neighborhood of Westlake in Los Angeles, California. The focus of the series is on how local families and businesses are adapting to the many changes in the community as a result of gentrification.
This series was created in an upper term class at ArtCenter College of Design called Senior Projects taught by Jason Holley. The purpose of this class is to assist students in creating work for the graduating portfolio. Being interested in children’s book and editorial illustration, I created a project that would highlight my love of portraiture and narration.
I was able to do a lot of research for this project which included interviewing my neighbors and local small business owners. The portrait of ‘The Market Butcher’ for instance, was inspired by an interview with the local butcher at my neighborhood Carniceria who was struggling to compete with larger supermarkets.
For this project I used chalk pastel on sanded paper. I also used cut paper collage and incorporated found objects into the composition. Additionally, I experimented with a photo transfer printmaking process.
My image making process is all about infinite layers. I start with a pastel drawing that I layer with cut paper shapes to build the composition. For this project I let the research influence my designs. For instance, the use of sandpaper was incorporated to imitate the grit and texture of the Westlake community.
I made this project during the Covid Pandemic, so I was limited to the materials I had at home. Sandpaper, found objects, and scrap paper were the materials I had available, so I had to be innovative to get the job done.
My goal was to do a portrait of both the individual families as well as a portrait of the location. I was able to create four images that capture the mood and atmosphere of Westlake, Los Angeles. Moreover, these images represent the strength, warmth, and splendor of the local families that make up the community of Westlake.
This project took 3 months to complete. There were 20 initial sketches which produced 4 final images. I interviewed 3 local families and 2 local businesses in the Westlake community of 125,364 people.
If I had the chance I would have interviewed more families and local business owners. I barely scratched the surface of such a diverse and colorful community.
Try to make every project into a personal project or labor of love.
My goal is to make more Art! More personal projects and more collaborations. I have a lot more that I want to say, and so much more that I want to make. The world needs art right now!
I’d love to illustrate for The Criterion Collection. I am a movie lover who has always been inspired by directors like Federico Fellini and Stanley Kubrick. My dream job would be to illustrate a poster or packaging for a wonderful classic film.
Favourite Thing to Draw
I love to draw people. Especially faces. I’m inspired by narratives of survival and endurance, and I love to capture that spirit in my work.
I work from my home in Washington Heights in New York City, where I live with my cat Quimby.
It is an honor to be recognized for doing something I love. I want to express my sincerest thanks to everyone on the jury. I also want to thank my ArtCenter instructor Jason Holley for his guidance. Above all, I wish to thank my parents for their endless love and support in all my creative endeavors.