Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places. Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Russell Mariano | Artist

A graduate of Art Center College of Design, my background is in graphic design and packaging. I grew to the level of creative director in the beauty industry. At the corporate level, art and design becomes the management of many decision makers. The artist becomes the creator of compromise. The final piece is the marriage of ideas and marketing goals. As a fine artist, my goal is create a concept that is relevant, true to meaning and entirely my own decision. Read more>>

Macarena Ramos Hernández | Interdisciplinary Artist and Educator

I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I moved to New York City in 2014 for acting and directing school. I have always carried my upbringing, culture, and language with me: In my art, present-day and professional endeavors. Since I moved to the United States I knew Puerto Rico would always be home, yet going into my 8th year in the city I have also realized how I created a home for myself here as well. I am in a constant battle of finding a place of belonging, trying to understand what home is, and where is home. Read more>>

Larry Turnley Jr | Author & Self Employed

I’m from Nashville, Tn. Growing up in JC Napier public housing prepared me for every obstacle and challenge I’ve faced on my journey. After being sentenced to Life in Federal Prison at the age of 24 and sent to Beaumont, Tx. I credit Growing up in public housing as the guide that equipped me in adjusting and enduring that traumatic event. That and me studying and learning about my history. Which gave me solace in knowing that as long as I was around black people I was around family. My journey of being raised by a single mother and my father being mostly incarcerated my whole life forced me to grow up fast and experience a lot as a youth. Read more>>

Herbert Lewis | Multi-Hyphenated artist, Creative Director, Dj, Producer, Marketing Specialist

I am from Atlanta, Ga and I believe the city and my family is what impacted who I am today. Being in what’s considered today Black Hollywood, there is so much richness in culture and music that you can’t ignore. From going to The Underground in downtown, being immersed in live music and art to jamming out with my grandmother in her car playing old school R&B hits. What’s unique about my upbringing as well is how diverse my families music selection is. Since my family is originally from New York my uncle was the first to introduce me to Nas and Method Man. Read more>>

Ethan Gathman | Filmmaker & Editor

I’m from the south side of Chicago; a neighborhood called Beverly. “Exciting” wouldn’t be the word I’d use to describe Beverly. My friends and I constantly needed to find ways to entertain ourselves. This is where my love for filmmaking blossomed. At first, we had no idea what we were doing. We didn’t know anything about lighting or composition or even how to focus a camera, a very evident problem in my early films, but we knew how to goof around and tell fun stories. Read more>>

Olga Batygin | Co-Founder and CEO of Lucinetic

Being an immigrant shaped my access to opportunities and how I worked to achieve my goals. I knew how much people who loved me gave up for me to thrive in the US, and what it was like for the older people I loved. Never having to face those same problems was a driving force behind me, and continues to be when I think about providing a life for my family now. The challenge with being an immigrant is that there are unique obstacles to navigate related to access. For example, I was the bane of my school counselors’ existence because I had no direct path to where I was going. Read more>>

Janita Jones | Founder of SistahCode Network Inc.

I am from South Central, L.A., grew up on 75th street between Hoover and Vermont. My background and upbringing have impact who I am today for the following reason(s); first, I was able to see the negative side of my life which I have made poor decisions. Secondly, I was able to see hardships that my parents and family members endured. Lastly, I was a statistic in the juvenile system for GTA “Grand Theft Auto” and I must say that was a horrible experience. At an early age, I was determined to graduate from high school just to get release from the juvenile system. Read more>>

Maria Dzulfayan | Artist

My family immigrated to LA from Armenia, and even though I was born and raised here, I have a really strong connection to my cultural roots. That being said, there were many challenges I had to face growing up. As an Armenian woman, I was given much more responsibilities to cover, which I felt caused me to grow up faster than I would have liked. It was difficult for me to express my emotions verbally so I turned to art as a safety net. I eventually realized my passion for art and decided to go forward with it career wise. Read more>>

Tehrell Porter | Muralist and Designer

I was born in Charlotte, NC and Raised in Indianapolis, IN. Currently living in Honolulu, HI. I grew up on the road a lot and moved State to state just kind of running from dads credit score just trying to survive. I had a lot of solitude and started to pick up drawing from my older Sisters Tahwii and Taiya. It became my outlet and active meditation. Art allowed me to be universal . Through creativity as an introvert, art allowed me to connect and learn about myself to learn about people and the Things that inspire me. Read more>>

Oscar Garza | Content Creator

I was born in Mexico and came to the United States when I was 12 years old I was new to the country and a bit of culture shock. Definitely, I didn’t know why or the reasoning behind why coming to a new country was going to be beneficial I just confuse and worried knowing that I needed to comprehend a new language. “The immigrant mentality” That’s what I liked to called it, my upbringing was to be become as knowledgeable as possible on everything I put my mind into. Read more>>

Christian Bendo | Artist

Although I currently live in Oahu, I was born and raised on the island of Guam. Being from an island has greatly influenced my art and inspiration. I never truly appreciated what I had grown up around until I moved to the mainland for my college studies. Read more>>

kimberly meza | Owner of Sugar bloom cakery & coffee

I was born in California but my parents are from Mexico and Honduras. Ever since I can remember both my parents have taught my siblings and I the true meaning of working hard for what we one day aspired to be.
We not only saw hard work coming from them daily but were also included to be part of that. I remember my mom always taking us door to door offering blankets for sale and showing us that there’s always a way to make money & that we just had to be willing to work hard. Read more>>

Malik Deshawn | Teacher & Advisor

Dallas Texas, I was Raised with a Huge variety of personalities, Belief Systems and Ways Of life, Some Elegant, Some Country And Some Unconventional. Read more>>

Anne Scottlin | Author, Leadership and Confidence Coach

When you aren’t cut from the same cultural cloth as most of the people you work with, you have a unique opportunity to bring different perspectives and insights to your work. I was an unusual American kid. While other children my age were listening to pop music, watching TV or going to movies and Disneyland, I was wearing long dresses and learning how to grow food. Read more>>

Carolina Sapena Lafuente | 2D & 3D Animator

I was born and raised in Spain. I never lived so far away from home but I’m happy I took a risk and tried to look for my dreams. I’ve been very lucky that my family has always supported me on my carrier choices. I stated studying Fine Arts and while I was in my degree I realized I was passionate about animation. To be fair I always been passionate about it but I never thought I could live from that. I remembered the first time I went to see an animation exhibition from Pixar, that day something clicked inside me. Read more>>