Here’s the skinny on our t-shirt design finalists:
Three local artists have been recognized as finalists by Arts for LA as part of that organization’s Arts Day T-shirt Design Competition. ArtsDay, scheduled for April 17, is LA’s annual celebration at City Hall of the impact of arts and culture on our communities, neighborhoods, and residents.
The competition sought t-shirt designs and text that fell in alignment with the three tenets ArtsDay supports for a better Los Angeles through the arts: a strong economy, a vibrant democracy, and a complete education for all students. The winning design was submitted by Pomona native Andrew Colunga, a Los Angeles based artist who now lives near Boyle Heights. Colunga has worked in many fields of the creative world as an illustrator, video producer, a webcomic artist, and a muralist. He’s even published an urban fantasy novel and is now working on the sequel. Colunga’s design consists of an emblem featuring icons of our region’s creative industries, from fashion to visual art to music and film, with three vertical arrows representing the ArtsDay tenets supporting “Los Angeles” as it becomes the “Creative Capital.”
Of his design, Colunga said, “I desired to make a design that could be worn not just on ArtsDay, but also look good enough for it to be worn regularly afterwards,” Colunga said. “Advocacy for the arts doesn’t end after one day—its awareness should continue over the years.”
Of Los Angeles and his origins as an artist, Colunga said, “Living in Los Angeles is strange. For many eager artists of all types, coming to this city is a major part of their life’s journey, but to already start out in the area is very inspiring. Every song, mural, rumor, or bit of writing about this city makes it seem more and more prolific, to the point where just ambling about the streets while brainstorming is a wonder.
District 4 residents Stephen Walker and Cleo Walker were selected as the competition’s finalists. Though the competition was judged blindly with no identifying information attached to the submissions, the committee unwittingly selected work by a father and daughter for the other top spots. Cleo, a 12-year-old artist, has been mentored by her father in the work of art and visual design. “Cleo has been extremely creative from the get go—always passionate and insistent on her ideas,” Stephen said, “whether it be making a Halloween costume not to be found in any store anywhere, drawing, singing, or performing in a play. I told her about the competition two days before the deadline, and like father, like daughter, we both waited to the last hour to enter. Since my career has been in art direction and design, I’m glad I can understand her passion. It’s great fun working together to make art. We are thrilled we both were chosen in the top three!”
“Andrew’s design captured our philosophy about how arts and culture are part of the solution to building a more vibrant Los Angeles,” said Danielle Brazell, executive director of Arts for LA. “ArtsDay celebrates the the way LA’s robust creative sector contributes to jobs and industries, education, community development, and civic participation. This is how we became America’s ‘creative capital’ and how we’ll maintain that title.”
How did Colunga grow up to be an artist? He humbly credits LA for the support: “I first began drawing when I was very little, before I can remember, but anything beyond drawing and writing for myself truly requires the strength of an active, supportive community.”