We had the good fortune of connecting with César Carmona and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi César, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I honestly feel like I had no choice in the matter, as a kid I always chose creative outlets like drawing and writing, constantly reading sci-fi books and comics only added to it, if you throw in a dash of reclusivness you get yourself an artist that lives completely in their head!. In fact my earliest memories are of drawing and writing my own comics, in school my friends and I would use giant sheets of paper to draw our own Super Mario levels and It always escalated as I grew up, I went from art classes to animation to theater. For me it never felt like there was a doubt I’d be persuing artist endeavors, just the question of where it would land me, and I have no complaints yet! The passion for creation has its ebbs and flows but it’s always present.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is very much influenced by my love of pop culture and all things deemed “geeky”; as an actor I gravitate towards roles that would be considered the nerdy comical sidekick, I’ve even gone so far as to add a hint of that into a character not defined by those traits. As a writer I use my “gay geek” status to tell socially relevant stories through a different lens; like my short play Better than Grindr which had it’s bearish protagonist falling in love while playing Pokemon Go or Masc4Mask where the lead is being taught a lesson about toxic masculinity within the gay community from the demon he summoned.
I’ve always thought of myself as an underdog of sorts, fighting my negative thoughts and feelings to jump on stage, or write a play. It has also informed my style as a teaching artist where the emphasis has become instilling a sense of confidence and showing them they can be scared and still accomplish what they want, even with limited resources. A good example of this would be when my friends and I wrote, filmed and produced Consent which won the grand jury award at Outfest Fusion’s one minute film contest when all we had was an idea, an iPhone and borrowed sound equipment. It’s not an easy process to get where I am now, acting, writing and doing graphic design but it excites me to be an example of an underdog for my students, and to show people what can be accomplished when you persist.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oof, there’s so much to do in L.A. at any given time it’s hard to pinpoint specifically what i’d do with my friends when they come to visit. Being a book nerd i’d definetely take them to the Last Bookstore in Downtown L.A. and a shopping trip to Los Callejones in the fashion district, both spots are visually appealing and provide lots of goodies to take home, for lunch we’d head back to my stomping grounds of East L.A. and eat at So-Cal Burgers where the food is fresh, made to order and delicious, if there’s still room in our stomachs we’d get an order of fresh churros from Churros Don Abel, a chill spot where you can get some freshly made chocolate covered churros (damn, now i’m hungry). At the end of it all my friends and I would probably head back into Downtown L.A. and check out Precinct for some dancing and drinking.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people who have had and impact on my life it’s hard to condense the list, but my Montebello High School instructors Nancy Smith for pushing me and believeing I had the skill to make it and Tom Valenzuela who ignited the passion for theater that (quite literally) saved my life. Rodney Lloyd Scott and Vanessa Mizzone from East Los Angeles College for showing me how to find truth in performance. My partner Manee Leija, an amazing costume designer and artist who taught me how to find my voice and express myself through clothing, lastly best friend Suzanne Murillo who has been my loudest cheerleader since high school. Without them there would be no story to tell.
Sergio Garcia Michael Garcia