Before the start of the holiday season, I was asked to put together a special online feature, so I asked artists with ties to Los Angeles and the rest of the Golden State to interpret where and how they find peace. These creatives responded in their own styles — highlighting family, womanhood, hometowns and partners.
When artist Man One and I were working together, he told me, “[Peace] has been under their noses the whole time.” What’s featured below embodies the unexpected. This is our gift to you.
I find peace in the serendipity of life. It’s having access to the puzzle and willfully making the pieces fall into place. We hope these 15 California artists can help you find connection and peace. Just watch the puzzle fall into place.
Spray paint, oil pastel and paint marker on birch wood panel
“Turn on some music, shake my spray cans and get lost in my own creative experience. That’s my favorite recipe. Peace is always right there, underneath our noses.” @manoneart
“Spoke small set”
Copic markers and ink on brown-toned paper
“I am an industrial designer and illustrator based in San Francisco. I find my peace most easily through drawing. Put on some good music, make a good drink, and I’m off in my own world!” @feliciachiao
“A journey within a Dream”
Digital media, ink on paper, stop-motion animation
“There are so many things that we go through in the time we are alive. Some are happy, some are sad, some are magical, some are tragic. … When I go through an overwhelming amount of emotions, I find my peace by utilizing those feelings and creating something beautiful out of them.” @kilihali
Falling asleep in your shirt is a bit
like falling asleep at the movies,
in that theater the size of an unnamed
planet — so huge, I’m a kid again, no matter
how clever I was in the long day outside.
The ceiling’s arc is a winter coat
held between you & the rain, held over the rows
of everybody & their evening postures,
tilted back just so. The orchestra & dialogue,
the street noise beyond your upstairs window,
it all fades to a river half-thawed.
Somewhere above us through the sheets of dark,
light whirs into new shapes on the screen
big enough to curve its own horizon. For anything
I know, it’s the same scene over & over —
you reaching across the table
to brush my cheek at the all-night diner.
Act out the parts I missed
& I’ll watch your hands rather than say
how often I get up from dreams of you,
your soap & sweat & marzipan
in medium cotton black
loose around my chest. It’s nothing bad,
the fact that I can close my eyes here,
that’s top gold, isn’t it so hard to find
such softness in the crowd?
You could pull a religion from this,
a little peace, a velvet patchwork,
my city of murmurs, all of us
safe enough in the dark,
for the dark to only be
what hasn’t happened yet.
Promise just this — deep inside the shadow,
in the penumbra, my head on your shoulder,
us looking the same way for a few hours.
Come on, come here, kiss me awake.
I don’t mind seeing it again.
“Tierra del Sol”
“Of the six places I have lived in the U.S., Los Angeles reminds me most of where I was raised. I was born to immigrant parents — my mother is Mexican, my father is Colombian — in McAllen, Texas, a small border town. L.A. is rich with Mexican culture, and after one year here, I feel connected to the fabric of the city.
El Clásico de las Américas is a charreada, a rodeo-like sport, held in Pico Rivera yearly. Although I had never experienced charreadas, and I didn’t really fit in, I set out to document it as a first-generation Mexican American. I find a sense of home in the colors, the beauty and the power. Most riders were young, a sign that they will pass on this borderless tradition to their children.” @_carlosjaramillo_
“I Would Like to Scream Out Loud and Not Care Who Hears Me”
Pen and marker on paper
“I’m always after actually being wherever it is that I am. I want to notice my body and my breath, to take in what’s all around me whether it’s a sunset on a tropical beach or a mountain of trash bags on the corner of a siren-filled street.” @artbabygirl
Aman K. Batra
“Peace of fruit”
Where do I find peace? In the silence
between Zoom meetings. In line between people,
ordering coffee before I hear the news.
At Alchemist Coffee Project,
every vegan blueberry coffee cake muffin
should have my name on it.
My name, translated from Punjabi to English,
means peace. They are out of muffins.
Where do I find me?
My good days are all filled with fruit:
pineapples, kiwi, my new guy, plunging
pears into a juicer, stem, core and all.
Growing up, Dadima cut white nectarines
into crescent moons for her grandchildren —
her hands, fluent in offering.
I haven’t had a home-touched
meal in weeks. DoorDash dashers
consume my dollars, and Dadima
accused me of dodging her calls.
Everyone wants to know when I’ll be home,
if they should buy extra fruit
for my return. My whole family is calling,
but I am trapped in a Zoom
that could have been an email.
Peace be the pause, the extra deep
inhale, Mama’s ruby red earrings in
my ear lobes like pomegranate seeds —
a gift from the last time I saw her —
peace be her way of loving, of saying
I miss you, here’s a little piece of me.
“a ritual of sisterhood”
“I grew up with two older sisters, who were my best friends and my source of support through life’s trials and tribulations, beginning with the loss of my mother when I was 2. My sisters taught me the power of having women by my side who I could be real with and depend on. My work seeks to capture this sense of power.” @rikkwright
Ballpoint pen, ink and marker
“I have navigated existence as an extremely sensitive person since I was a young child. Operating with a moderate to severe amount of anxiety has been an everyday reality well into my adulthood. When I was a child, I thought the solution to my distress was the love I could receive from the world. As I grew older and well into my adulthood, I searched for a relief from the chaos, fear and pain from lovers. Now, after surviving a pandemic in which most have been stripped of emotional, financial and mental resources, I have adapted and learned the ultimate grounding exists within myself. I have realized that the comfort I have desperately searched for in my life resides within me; I could be the peace I’ve always sought. The world is full of pain, but inside of ourselves we store a vault of undying love that just takes time and understanding to access.” @baby_misery
Mixed media (ink and digital media)
“I find peace in making art. I’m kind of obsessed with drawing; it gives me a natural high. The process makes me feel like I’m in love with something so abstract. To me, creating is a form of meditation and an important tool in healing. I think that’s why I keep wanting to make something new. A day isn’t complete without drawing a little thing or ideating a new project. The visual world just fascinates me, and I love the little surprises it gifts me that eventually creep into my work. I think the peacefulness of it all comes from working in isolation. You kind of have to travel inward when making art and hope that whatever you make gives other people the same peace you found.” @lydia_ortiz
“Los Angeles Bouquet”
“In a city dominated by car culture, there is a strange beauty to be found when you walk around and view it up close and personal. From the ethereal light that plays off the buildings downtown to the diverse neighborhoods that line the Los Angeles River, there is a little bit of magic everywhere you turn when you slow down and take in your surroundings. Some days I set out to talk with people and make a portrait, while other days I’m looking at the subtle details like how the spaces interact with the light. It is a constant education in Los Angeles culture and an attempt to gain a better understanding of what I would consider the most complex city I’ve ever lived in.” @mscottphoto
“I’ll be your ears, you’ll be my guide”
“My sister, Jess, became my best friend and confidant in the few months we were lucky enough to live together during the pandemic. We learned so much about ourselves and healed and played and wondered alongside each other in the time we had in Nashville. In the final days before I moved back to Los Angeles, we took one last trip to our favorite spot, a little creek that ran through the woods on the outskirts of town. We splashed around like we were kids again. We have a thing with water, how it feels cleansing and new, weightless and wonderful. Jess is hard of hearing and had to take her hearing aids out to swim. We communicated through big gestures, that sisterly ‘knowing’ and by reading lips. We took a moment to ‘listen’ without listening and to simply feel everything around us: the water swirling around our ankles and the smell of the woods and mud and late summer. She makes me slow down and be present in the moment, present with the people around me. She brings me back down to earth. All I ever wanted was to love her and be loved by her. She is my peace. She is my home.” @annienoelker
Digital media, Procreate
“I am a storyboard artist working in Los Angeles. I grew up in Kenosha, Wis., where it used to be nothing but cows, corn and an old windmill where you can stop for lunch. The Kemper Center is a place I find peace because it’s sitting off the edge of Lake Michigan surrounded by old historic homes, a little flower garden and waves crashing against the stones. Here I found solitude where I was able to practice my craft and read books all day and let my imagination go wild with creative ideas.” @valenciaspates
“In the Sunshine”
Clip Studio Paint and Procreate
“I am an illustrator from Miami living in San Francisco. I grew up in the sun and still appreciate being outdoors. That’s where I find peace.” @made.by.small
“My day in L.A.”
“I’m a cartoonist, urbanist and public transit user originally from New York City, but I love living in Los Angeles. I love to appreciate and document the built environment around me, and L.A. offers an endless eclectic mix of visual stimuli.” @alabasterpizzo
Deputy Features editor: Marques Harper
Design director: Taylor Le
Senior deputy design directors: Steven Banks and Jim Cooke
Photo editor: Jacob Moscovitch
Video editor: Cody Long
Copy editors: Wendy Fawthrop and Lisa Horowitz
Additional digital production: Jessica Martinez
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