Comic: How growing up in Cudahy influenced my art

Illustration of a man and a woman embracing
(Karina Ramirez / For De Los)

This comic is a slice of gratitude to my loved ones, working-class people and the gente that make L.A. home.

I was fortunate to have two working-class Mexican parents growing up in Cudahy.
My family took it upon themselves to take photos and footage of our gatherings.
My mom is responsible for a lot of the exposure I got to music, food and our culture
In the morning she played her CDs and tapes as the soundtrack for our daily routine.
I'd go get groceries with her and always admired the handwritten sales ads from Superior.
My dad worked Monday through Friday as a mechanic in East L.A.. I saw lots of graffiti.
My mom worked cleaning homes and I often went with her across town. There were many murals and paintings.
Everything I saw growing up informed my own artistic practice. I began to draw and take photographs.
I look back at our small family archives of VHS tapes, photos and memories as a source of inspiration.
In a way I continue to archive our experience through my own medium.

Karina Ramirez (kari/they/she) is a nonbinary Mexican American artist born and raised in south East Los Angeles. Their illustrations center themes of nostalgia, gender and music. They are most recognized under the moniker “Trankis.”