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Thought Provokers: Downtown & Little Italy

San Diego 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 and creative professionals from in and around Downtown & Little Italy that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Veronika Grechman

I really loved the look of old grainy photos I took of my friends and family. I brought my camera everywhere I went. Though I was taking pictures for a pretty long time I’ve never even thought of it as the real job and that you can make a living out of it. I also started to paint and draw a lot, as well as knit toys which I usually gave to my friends and family as presents. Read more>>

Tyler B. Murphy

It was not completely without violence, but it was a lot less bloody than what had been predicted. Watching the reality of massive change manifest made me eternally optimistic. I grew up painting graffiti, skateboarding and exploring the new freedoms that came with the new government. I landed a job as a cleaner at a tattoo shop when I was 15. Read more>>


I moved to LA and started making time for art again. I was traveling to Hawaii for work for several months that year, and I would stay over the weekend sometimes to hike and explore the islands. Hawaii is one of my favorite places in the world. I would go to all these amazing places and want to capture what was around me, but I felt like my iPhone photos didn’t come close to doing it justice. Read more>>

Keya Tama

I started drawing as soon as I could, from the age of ten I started taking it more seriously. At 12 I had my first show and released a graphic novel. I started traveling with my mom as she did street art, painting alongside her at many of the events. More recently I’ve, I’ve immigrated to the US where I have now had two solo shows, the most recent being at cartoon network studios where I painted a mural in 2017. Read more>>

Mark Mangini

This is what mainly kept me interested. I always thought I could do the same or better, with the right practice and drone. So, eventually, I got my first drone for Christmas in 2017, the DJI Spark. My luck though, I opened my drone inside the house on the first day and flew it into the wall. But, at that point, I realized I need to practice outside. Read more>>

Joshua Garcia

I enjoyed doing most, and I named the gym, surf, traveling, art, and film. A week later he tags me on a post for an organization looking to curate a local art event. I immediately raised my hand to seize the opportunity. I met with Claudia, and we brainstormed together on the event and its curation. I was to organize and curate an art event for the community later in the year. Read more>>

Mike Merchant

I realized that I had an elective requirement. I was always interested in acting so I decided why not. I sign up for the acting elective, and on the first day of class the teacher doesn’t show up. About 30 mins into sitting in the classroom a lady comes in and says our teacher was a no show and she would be the substitute teacher for us. So she gives us an assignment of memorizing and performing a monologue by the next class. I didn’t know what a monologue was. Read more>>

Diane Sun

Different from my hometown, which is away from water and mountains, San Diego is a paradise decorated with palm trees and beautiful beaches. Everyone told me I’ve made the best decision in my life residing here, I was born in a family of veterans, artists, teachers, and doctors. Each of my family members comes from a distinctive cultural and occupational background, and this atmosphere had prepared me to enter my new life here in the US. Read more>>

Lani Ohye

I always had a love and fondness for photography. To pinpoint when it all began is hard to say because photography has always been an ongoing part of my life. One of my earliest memories started around middle school when I was trying to direct my own photoshoot in our family living room. I was posing my cousins around a piano bench telling them what to do. Read more>>

Monique Guzmán

I believe that art should be in everything you do. The way you live, work, love, eat, travel, & dress. Do everything with passion. Simple, quality, and craftsmanship. If you are going to do something, do it right, or there’s the door. I am a lover of life, music, dance, style, cuisine, cultures, history, literature, nature, and a good glass of wine. Read more>>


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