Meet the Artis Ep. 7: DJ Pudge Fifty-five

Welcome to Meet the Artist episode 7! Before I begin introducing this month’s featured artist, I wanted to thank you SO much for an awesome 2017. It has been a great seven months, and I’ve very much enjoyed  introducing different artists from a many varied genres – and I am beyond excited to share with you the stories of twelve more artists in 2018!

On this episode, I feel so happy to have sat down with a beautiful soul who shares his great light with us through the wonderful world of music. His continuously contagious positive vibe is transmitted through the art of mixing music.  All genres of music.


I have witnessed him excite a room with salsa and cumbia songs; I have heard one of his mix beats of a Spanish ballad with his own twist of hip hop; I have seen a crowd dance their hearts out to the classic hip hop songs he plays at local venues. All using the organic sounds of vinyl records, I might add. When you see him play the beat, you will not only feel his heart beating


love for his crowd, but you will definitely enjoy his passion to lift the spirit of all those who enter the room. His love for music is equal to his love for the people. It is through music that he connects with the people. It is through music that he serves his community.

I am pleased to introduce to you, DJ Pudge 55..all the way live! With me, Dani Guerrero, at Meet the Artist.

Pudges’s favorite quote: “Me, we.” – Muhammad Ali

Click here to view the interview on YouTube.


You can follow Pudge Fifty Five on his social media:

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It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

We’ve all seen it. We’ve all heard it. And, inevitably, it’s here – the holiday rush. It was making it’s way out and creeping through our beloved Halloween decoration isles at the stores. The Christmas carols sneaked their way into the speakers before Thanksgiving. Then, as soon as you were done with your Black Friday shopping, the wreaths and trees appeared.

This leads me to you. Are you ready for the holiday portraits?  Have you emailed your clients from last year? Do your new followers know that you offer family portrait sessions during the holidays?

I know, I know – We are all super busy trying to get our holiday shopping done before the rush. That includes your clients. So it might be a good idea to start emailing them now, at the end of November. Send your clients a quick email or text. Let all your email contacts know you’re offering holiday portraits. And don’t forget to post it on your personal and business social media. It is always a good idea to get a head start on things, and to try to avoid the last minute rush.


The Half Dollar/Butterfly Chair

A couple of weeks ago, I had the great opportunity to photograph the exquisite “Half Dollar/ Butterfly Chair”, created by Johnny Swing.  He also played the role of my very own muse for the evening.

Sitting in the lobby of the ever so elegant Sofitel Hotel  in Beverly Hills, CA.,  The Butterfly Chair sits prominently. It is said to be admired by all guests who enter this glamorous art-filled room.

I, myself, admired every curve on this masterpiece. It is constructed of 1,500 US half dollars, and held together with 7,000 welds. This was the third design the artist attempted in 1995, and was finished in 2011.

I was so intrigued by the uniqueness of this piece, and was very flattered to have been given the opportunity to photograph it’s beauty. I thought about the history each half dollar coin had accumulated before all being connected into one mesmerizing mass. The artist also used a Spaniard half dollar coin that you can find in the top center of the chair. Although the aroma that circulating coins tend to have was wiped away by the very recent cleaning of the chair,  you can glide your hand across the chair and feel that cold familiar sensation that every coin has while being held. I couldn’t help but to wonder what was going  through the mind of the artist as he painstakingly welded every coin together.

His essence will forever be among each coin and connection.

 “With furniture, I’m making something you can look at, and if you want to go further you can touch it, and if you want to go further, you can sit on it. By sitting on it, you’re having a shared experience with me and my work.” – Johnny Swing

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Idle Hands

noun: identity; plural noun: identities

1. the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
“he knows the identity of the individuals”

“No one is you, and that is your power” – David Grohl

My hands were idle to write and photograph for a bit. I stopped and took a minute (or a month, if you want to be exact), to examine and audit my craft.

Who do I want to be? How do I want to be perceived by my peers and clients? What is the purpose of my photography?

And those three questions led to: Who am I as a photographer? How do my peers and clients perceive me? Is my message coming across clear?

The one answer that stood head and shoulders above all my questions was that I want to create raw and organic, unforgettable images. And I want to inspire other photographers. Whether it’s with this blog, or through my images, I want to encourage and inspire other photographers to create.

Yes, in a world filled with a massive multitude of other photographers, I want to inspire and encourage you to go out there and shoot. Why? That’s where David Grohl’s quote comes in: “No one is you, and that is your power”.

You are, in and and yourself, a unique universe with so much to give. And making time stand still is a great way of doing just that.

So please, go out and create. Don’t think. Just do. I promise to do the same and share what I create with you.

Meet the Artist Ep. 6: Chef Turok

Welcome to Episode 6 of Meet the Artist! On this episode, we’re taking the interview to Holbox, a great seafood restaurant  located inside Mercado La Paloma, in South Los Angeles. It is within that kitchen that our featured artist creates his magic.

I’ve been following this artist on social media for quite a while, and what intrigued me the most aside from his delicious creations,  was his humble demeanor, his assiduous character, and his ability to be persistently innovative. When I sat with him, I realized my opinion of him was not at all far from the truth.


Chef Turok is known for his ever so delicious Mascarpone Cheesecakes.  A creation which he has shared with the public as of 2015. Ever since, he’s been featured in Los Angeles Magazine, he’s served these gems at such events  as LA Weekly’s Tacolandia and Burgers and Beers (among many others festivals); Restaurants such as Primera Taza  in Boyles heights and Tlayuda LA;  And as for my personal favorite, hwm019e even donated his creations and participated in AltMed East LA Meets Napa.

There is a reason why Chef Turok’s cheesecakes are so popular – they are absolutely amazing! I’m not very big on sweets, and that, is the reason why the Mascarpone Cheesecakes are perfect. They are not too sweet, and they have a light, creamy texture that will leave you wanting more. I have to admit, they really are the BEST DAMN cheesecake that you’ll EVER try! If you’re in the LA area, please make sure to stop by Holbox restaurant, where you can enjoy a great seafood meal and end with any of the delightful Mascarpone Cheesecakes for desert. Or, if you’re feeling naughty, just have the Cheesecake first.

Now, without further adieu, please allow me to introduce you, Chef Brian “Turok” Menendez.wm009

Click here to view the interview on YouTube.

You can follow Chef Turok on his social media:


A special Thank You to Chef Gilberto Centina Jr. and the whole Holbox team for allowing us to film on location! Please follow Holbox on social media:


What are some of the qualities you think every chef should have? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Meet the Artist Ep. 5: Kelyla Nelson

Welcome to Episode 5 of Meet the Artist! On this episode, I travel to Ventura County to visit Kelyla Nelson at her dance studio, KPAC (Kelyla’s Performing Art Center).

Who is Kelyla Nelson? Well, she is a dancer, a dance instructor, and a mother of a beautiful baby boy named Zion. It’s important to mention all three roles because it was this video of her dancing her heart away (at five months pregnant!), that caught my full attention. That, and the fact that she radiates a beautiful light aura and great vibes.IMG_7710

We were greeted by Kelyla and her family with a warm welcome at her dance studio. As we were setting up, her mother told us the story of how they opened: Before KPAC, Kelyla taught the neighborhood kids how to dance out of her garage. Until one of their neighbors called the police on them, and they had to shut down. Not letting her daughter give up her dream, Kelyla’s mom helped her open her very own studio. From finding a location, to items gifted to build the studio, the road was paved for Kelyla to fullfill her dream to dance. And this allows her to teach others the beauty of this performing art.IMG_7578

It was such a great experience to capture Kelyla in her element as her son watched her from across the room.

That is why I am very excited to share this video with you, so you can see for yourself, who Kelyla Nelson is.  As a person, and an amazing artist.

Click here to view the interview on YouTube


Kelyla’s favorite quote: “Fake it until you make it”


Click on the links bellow to see more of Kelyla’s work:


What are some of the qualities you think every dance instructor should have? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Tales of a Ghost Town: Mentryville Park

Mentryville Park

An oil drilling town in the Santa Susana Mountains in Los Angeles County, California, USA. It was started in the 1870s around the newly discovered oil reserves in the area. The first oil strike was on September 26, 1876. The town is located at the terminus of Pico Canyon Road, four miles west of the Lyons Avenue exit from I-5 in Santa Clarita.


After writing about Llano Del Río, I decided to create a blog series dedicated to Ghost Towns in Southern California. I found a list of them on, and I decided to continue the adventure in Mentryville Park.

Mentryville is a town named after the superintendent who was in charge of the oil fields, Charles Alexander Mentry. Mentry lived in the town until his death in 1900, and built the expansive thirteen room mansion that remains in the park ’til this day.

The town was eventually abandoned, due to the oil reserves dwindling over time and advancements of the oil industry. By the late1930s, most of Mentryville’s remaining residents had gone.  Many tearing down their houses, board by board and nail by nail, and taking it all with them.

All that is left now is Mentry’s mansion, as well as a school, a barn, and newer prop house that was used for several movies.

I visited the park in the afternoon, a couple of hours before sunset. I loved the eerie, yet peaceful, feel to the park. It has been a hot summer this year, so the hills were covered in golden-brown, dry shrubbery. The sun was setting, just so that the mountains had a beautiful, warm feeling to them. I felt a tad bit of a rush – I’m not sure if it was out of excitement that I was here, in this deserted place, or if it was the lingering restlessness of a once thriving boom-town.

The first thing I spotted as I entered the park was a red farmhouse. It was an old directory called Felton School. Next to it was another storage barn, and an outhouse that matched the big red schoolhouse. High foliage almost covered the old rusted steam relics that were a couple of paces away from the school.

I continued walking up the paved road that, I later learned, was the continuation of Pico Canyon Rd. It lead me to a picnic area called Johnson’s park. There was a sink, and three different kinds of what I think might have been ovens. As I walked deeper into the picnic area, I saw a rusted out oil derrick that was moved from its original location years ago and reconstructed, to preserve it in posterity.


On my return back to my starting point, I bumped into old Mentry’s mansion. Next to it was the yellow prop house where “The Color Purple”, “Walking Tall Pt. 2”, “The X-Files”, and other motion pictures were filmed. Across from the prop house, I saw a barn, and what looks like it could have been a social hall.

Sun was almost setting, so I decided to end my exploring there. The pleasant feeling of walking through a piece of history stayed with me until I hit the freeway again.


Do you have any ghost town stories? Or better yet, have you ever photographed a ghost town before? Comment below! I’d love to hear all about it  – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.


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Meet The Artist Ep. 4: Darrin Bourgeios

Welcome to Episode 4 of Meet The Artist! On this episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a truly inspiring man. Eclectic and calm, he’s is an old soul that will continuously make you laugh with his great anecdotes. You can’t help but feel engaged, with a sense of comfort when you’re around Darrin. Which is a very good thing due to the fact that he is a photographer -and a great one at that!

I’m very flattered and privileged to have been able to interview a man who is always behind the lens. The comfort zone of a photographer is not always in front of the lens, so I commend Darrin for allowing me to put him in the spot light.

In this interview, you’ll get a little glimpse of who and what Deaftone Imaging is.

Click here to view the interview on YouTube

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it” – Ansel Adams

(Darrin’s favorite quote)

To see more of Darrin’s work, follow him on social media

What are some of the qualities you think every photographer should have? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Travel Captures: A Weekend In Big Bear

Big Bear Lake
City in California

Big Bear Lake is a small city in Southern California. It sits on the banks of fish-filled Big Bear Lake. It’s known for Bear Mountain ski resort, with its terrain parks and learner slopes, and family-friendly Snow Summit ski resort. Boutiques, gift shops and restaurants line the streets of Big Bear Lake Village, the commercial area. (According to Google)

A couple of weekends back, I spent an awesome and relaxing weekend getaway in Big Bear – of course I had to capture some shots! You’ll have plenty of lively subjects to shoot when in Big Bear. From the beautiful coniferous trees aligned along the trails and roads, to the wood carved sculptures in front of most businesses; the mountains and lakes; you have a plethora of things to shoot when in Big Bear!
Here are a couple of my shots. I hope you enjoy them!

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift”

–  Albert Einstein

Do you like taking pictures when you travel? I would LOVE to see your work! Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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