We had the good fortune of connecting with Rocky Arroyo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rocky, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Where I’ve lived in my past greatly influenced my work today.
I’m originally from Los Angeles, California, namely Pasadena, but I briefly lived in Bishop, California during my senior year of high school.
After that I lived in San Luis Obispo, California which is where I attended community college.
Living in Bishop, CA is where I was introduced to snowboarding. The snowboarders in Bishop really took me under their wing and I snowboarded nearly every weekend at Mammoth Mountain during the winter of my senior year of high school. Likewise with each weekend with the ski and snowboard program at school.
San Luis Obispo (SLO) was a Mecca for running and triathlon. The allure of endurance sports really stuck to me in SLO.
After attending community college I took two years off of school to just train and race triathlon. I pretty much ate, slept and lived swimming, running and cycling each and every week.
When returning to school I transferred to Humboldt State University which is where I trained with the cross country team. Humboldt was and is a pristine location for distance running with its endless running trails and various terrain. While attending Humboldt State I taught snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain’s Ski and Snowboard school during the school breaks. Likewise for another season after completing school.
The next step in the story is living in Boulder, CO. I originally travelled to Boulder to run for a Summer and because I landed a good job as soon as I arrived I ended up living there for an entire calendar year. The running culture in Boulder is top-shelf. More likely than not you will not find a more dedicated running and endurance training culture in the world that out measures Boulder.
After Boulder, CO I returned to my home state of Colorado because I prefer to be coastal and the city of course was San Francisco. San Francisco is definitely a very busy city that I call home and it’s brimming with creativity, art and culture. In addition San Francisco is an amazing place for running and cycling.
Hence, my experience with endurance training and the arts comes together as one.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work tends to be less about the subject and more about me. How I want to express my own creativity and my own style. The subject matter of course always plays a part in it, but when it goes through the mill of my thought process and my own personal vision, then the work is finally defined as mine and mine alone. Likewise, telling a story that I think needs to be told and using a camera body and lens as the tools to do that with.
Getting to where I am today definitely took time and perseverance. It doesn’t happen overnight. It should always be a long term goal and knowing that lessons will be learned along the way. It took time to meet the proper contacts and build good relationships with people that both rely on you and you rely on them. Was it easy? Looking back, no. But I wouldn’t change anything about it. Likewise, I continue to make changes for the road ahead. I overcame the challenges by being patient and trying my best every time.
The lessons that I’ve learned is that I really do enjoy being creative for a living. Getting a paycheck to express myself artistically, creatively and by telling a story is hands down, the greatest reward of all.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. It’s actually a never ending process. I still learn. I will say though, like someone told me when I started out, “Don’t quit your day job.” By that I mean that you won’t not succeed, but in order to succeed it’s best to have another job on the side that will keep you going when work gets slow. Because if work slows down, as it occasionally can, at least you have something else on the side to help keep you afloat and you’ll avoid having regrets about what your ultimate goal is. Then once you have steady work and no longer need a side job, then well, you can make any needed adjustments.
If there was one thing that I would like to know about my brand and story is that capturing movement and momentum is what gives me a heightened sense of awareness. Being able to capture something that I have no control over and tell a story is my specialty.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I regularly live in San Francisco and the amount of stuff to do there is virtually limitless. I’ve had friends visit and I take them on public transportation to Pacific Heights, The Marina, West Portal, Golden Gate Park and Union Square to walk, site see and go to different restaurants. Never a dull moment in the city. The Cliff House was always my favorite but last I heard it closed down because of the current health crisis.
Right now I’m living in Arcata, CA which is on the coast and roughly five and a half North of San Francisco. In Arcata, there’s the Arcata Community Park and nearby there are plenty of beaches to walk along. For restaurants I would most likely recommend Bitter Sweet in Arcata for their selection of beverages from Humboldt Cider Company. For food I’d take them to The Burger Joint in Arcata. Both have outdoor dining to accommodate the space needs. Another place for fine food is Humboldt Bay Provisions for their oyster bar. Those are definitely the places that I would take guest that come to Humboldt County, CA. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Credit definitely goes to folks.
My parents helped me get my momentum going by encouraging me to aim for a career that I truly want. They also helped me financially by loaning me the money for my first digital camera body and my first set of lenses.
Those two factors played a crucial roll in getting my momentum going and I am forever grateful for that.
The photo of me in the helicopter was taken by Ken Shelton.