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Thought Provokers: La Jolla & UTC

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 La Jolla & UTC that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Mindy Helaine

After teaching in Northern Virginia for four years, I decided to pack up my car and drive cross country to the land of sunshine and smiles! Photographing couples and weddings was a natural progression from portraits and family sessions, as I truly enjoy the spontaneity and excitement of documenting live moments. Read more>>

Shelly Anderson

I eventually found a camera that I bought off Craigslist and photographed anyone and everyone I knew. Slowly but surely, these people referred me to their friends, and I started picking up some paying clients! Then one day, I got the best email ever; someone inquiring about me photographing their wedding. To me, this was my beginning. I wanted to be a traveling destination wedding photographer. Read more>>

Elmer Escobar

I got into photography about 13/14 years ago after a break up with a girlfriend I had been dating for four years (I was 20 at the time). I was in NY where I grew up, and I was left with a lot of time on my hands. My older brother gave me some advice to fill my time with something I enjoyed doing so I picked up a camera for the first time and started shooting all over NYC. I enjoyed it so much. Read more>>

Emily Wallace

Two things lead me down the path of starting my own candle business. For starters, I longed to create something more tactile instead of churning out graphics behind a screen every day. I thought to myself, “you buy tons of candles, why not try making one?” Second, I’ve always revered all things home design and interior styling. Read more>>

Matt Iozia

Being independent and thousands of miles from most of my family, I knew I needed to find a career path I could get into and stay interested in. I needed to stay afloat in CA. I no longer cared about making tons of money, I simply wanted to enjoy and sustain my life. So, my interest in art, design, and photography, I was realizing, might be the answer. Read more>>

Tom Liguori

As CEO of National Pen, I had two functional roles: research and development and marketing. I had to use both my right and left brain, combining creative thought and strategy. After National Pen was sold, I looked to develop some hobbies that I didn’t have time to pursue during my career. Read more>>

Vlada Lopez

I have been drawing and doodling since I was a child. I used to watch my mom draw out faces and bodies in different poses. I would beg her to draw for me because I was fascinated with the way a pen and paper can turn into a picture of a person or an animal and it could be recognizable. I would attempt to repeat her creations. It was a game we played. As I got older, drawing was something I did to soothe my nerves during my free time. In college, my notebook was filled with small sketches. Read more>>

Kahlee Fresh State

I grew up in Gardena, CA. just minutes from the Roadium Open-Air Market. The Roadium is looked at as a West Coast Mecca for Hip-Hop being as many early Rap pioneers sold their underground tapes there. My brother and 2 sisters were eight to ten years older than me so I discovered Hip-Hop through their eyes and ears. I’ve always considered The Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right” to be the first rap song I ever heard or at least remember. When I was eight years old, I would secretly dub NWA’s “100 Miles and Runnin’” then listen on my walkman to and from elementary school. Read more>>

Summer Vega

I’ve always had a passionate, creative spirit, painting, creating, writing, taking photos  and making jewelry for as long as I can remember. I suppose you could say creating is my calling. My Mom taught me to sew when I was 10, from that point on, I was hooked. It wasn’t until I was 26 that I decided to go to back to collage to focus on an education in Design, beginning in the Fashion Department at a local community college, then went on to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising when I was 30. Read more>>

Olga Tenyakova

Several years ago, I took evening classes at the Society of Figurative Arts in Dallas with Michael Mentler. I was still new to the US, still exploring a new culture and atmosphere. During a model break a fellow student saw me doodling and exclaimed, “Wow! You can draw horses too!” His surprise puzzled me because I believed that if one can draw an anatomically correct human figure, one can draw pretty much anything. As I learned later, it is not always the. It made me realize that my versatility is a rare skill, and for this I credit my classical art training. Read more>>

Renata Ottoni

I started my relationship with photography when I was 18 years old. I was in my first year of college (studying Graphic Design) and got an internship in a photo studio to create photo albums. From day one I knew I was more interested in Photography than Graphic Design. When I graduated, I was already in love with photography and I knew that was what I wanted for myself. I did many courses and specializations in the area of maternity, family and newborn. I’m From São Paulo, Brazil, and two years ago I came to California looking for new experiences. Read more>>

Megan Roy

I suppose what’s unique about my story is that it’s centered around creating my own path and attempting to build a life that allows me to have a steady work/life balance. A lot of entrepreneurs and freelancers work constantly. I’m not that person. I’m not a workaholic. I believe it’s healthier and more productive to step away from work frequently, and ultimately my story is about trying to find the seemingly non-existent middle ground between mass producing work and maintaining quality of life. I’m currently working as a freelance illustrator and designer, while moonlighting as a dog nurse to my beagle who recently had two knee surgeries. Read more>>

Kai Diaz

I was always the kid that would take things apart and wonder why the maker made it that way… “Why didn’t they do it this way?” I would question… I didn’t grow up wealthy, so every turn of my path was something I dug out for myself, instead of being guided to it. I believed in creating my own opportunities if they weren’t coming to me. I couldn’t afford school, so I trained myself in learning how to be a designer. Read more>>

Koy Suntichotinun

Not being able to access the tools I had in Chicago, I began focusing on illustration and lettering since pen and paper were all I had. I began posting on social media and developed a brand. Despite not finishing school, I actually started getting commissions that flourished my current career. Read more>>


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