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.

Luke Rothschild | Composer, Sound Artist, and Sonic Sculptor

I’m from the Boston suburbs, and ended up going to high school at a small private arts school called Walnut Hill. The existent ethos on campus was really a formative environment for me. I focused on painting and drawing, and really stretched to grow as fast and fully as my fantastic teachers and mentors were able to help me realize. That discipline followed with me to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago where I continued with painting and drawing, and then expanded out into printmaking, photo extensions & manipulations, and also sonic sculpture. All along from my mid teens I’d been playing music as well, and now as SAIC, the musical and fine art forms began to merge. Some fiends and I began exploring new ways to perform live music with invented and experimental instruments, and also incorporating different immersive mediums like dance and projections into the mix. Eventually, after years of growth and permutations, String Theory emerged from that process. Read more>>

Krystal Canty | Owner & Esthetician

I am originally from Napa, California. Yes, wine country! And I have lived in Los Angeles for 11 years now. Some will say I can call LA home now but deep down inside I believe my home is still Napa. Although, living in Los Angeles has changed my perspective on a lot in my life. In a great way. When I first moved to LA I was freshly out of High School, about 18 years old. My parents and siblings have supported me since my move but in back of their head I know they were a bit nervous for me since I am the youngest in my family. I have always been independent so I thought I would test the waters by moving away from home and challenging myself in a much bigger city. I, indeed was the first within my siblings to finish college and I knew I wanted to be a role model for my younger nieces and nephews. I have always been the type of person to take a further step and go with the flow. Even though life can be a bit scary, especially living in a big city. I’ve dreamed of working in the beauty industry since I was a little girl collecting lip glosses, chapsticks, and lipsticks. Read more>>

Chris Dellorco | Fine Artist and Illustrator

I was fortunate enough to grow up in Laurel Canyon, during it’s heyday in the ’70’s. Everywhere that you looked were interesting, creative people that had chosen unique life styles. Everything from their careers to the unusual homes that they lived in expressed their individuality. We were surrounded by actors, artists, musicians and writers. It wouldn’t be unusual to see Joni Mitchell, or Mickey Dolenz buying milk at the local Canyon Country Store. My parents were friends with many famous folk singers, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes of the Weavers. Though, they themselves were not in creative fields, they understood and respected those that were. So, between my surroundings and the unusual friends that my parents had, choosing a path of artistic expression seemed more like the norm and not the unconventional. I imagine that becoming an accountant would have seemed more extreme in the environment that I grew up in. Read more>>

Tracy Metro | Interior Designer

I began designing when I was a teenager growing up in Washington, DC. My parents were silly enough to think I knew what I was talking about so they let me design my own bathroom… and lo & behold a designer was born! I studied theater and set design at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. After graduation, I spent the next several years in front of the camera as a TV spokesperson. When not shooting, I honed my passion for interior design by making beautiful interiors for friends and friends — until TV & design collided. Read more>>

Michael Fiorentino | Language & Culture Coach

Born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I’m blessed with the most loving, hardworking parents anyone could ask for. Even better, my mom is American and my dad is Italian – so I was further blessed with the best of both worlds. Growing up, my mom taught me to make my dreams come true and that I could be anyone I wanted to be. My dad taught me that hard work, and lots of it, is how to make such metamorphoses a reality. With their consistent, if not at times intense encouragement, I did well in school. I looked to my family’s immigrant history and while meticulously preparing back up plans, I took a leap and applied to graduate school at UCLA. The idea of getting accepted to such a renowned university and moving across country seemed almost obscene. But I thought — my dad’s dream of coming to America at age 16 must have seemed much crazier. And look at what success he had achieved. Having earned my UCLA Masters degree in Linguistic Anthropology and now lived in LA for 17 years, I’m so glad I took that (calculated) risk. Read more>>

Jasmine Malekan | Licensed Psychotherapist, Sound Healer and Reiki Practitioner

I grew up in New York and both my parents are from Iran. The cultural differences between how my parents grew up and the world I was growing up in was vastly different which lead to tremendous conflict. I grew up in a home with mental illness, a home that felt disconnected and an unhealthy family systems. I believe this environment along with my biology lead me to be a highly sensitive individual, which further propelled me towards my journey of becoming incredibly in tune with my emotions. I do feel grateful for my family, my upbringing and even the unhealthy environments I experienced as these challenges fueled my desire to gain a better understanding of human behavior. Read more>>

David Klos | Fine Artist

I was born in Munich Germany but raised in Sarasota Florida. My mother is from Slovakia and my father is German. We moved to Florida as soon as I was young enough to fly. I learned to speak a little German and Slovak growing up but not enough to consider myself German or Slovak. For most of my life I often avoided telling people I was born in Germany since that would invoke the statement “Say something in German”. I may have been raised in Sarasota but I lived in a European household. My household was different than every American household I met. We didn’t spend money in the way I saw other families spend money. It wasn’t until college when I was becoming more independent did I realize just how much my family and I separated ourselves from American consumer culture. My college experience really introduced me to consumerism and its appeals. I started to want thing I didn’t need or had little use for. My upbringing really impacted I view the world around me. I like to question why American consumer culture is the way it is and this often drives my art. Read more>>

Keely Chambers | Creator of The Lily Pad Zine & Photographer

Growing up in Los Angeles, California in regards to art, inclusivity, creativity, and support in the arts has been the perfect place to grow up. As an only child my goals of being a dancer, photographer, filmmaker, and founder of The Lily Pad Zine have all been supported but also appreciated. My parents both work in the arts and with that, I have been so lucky to be able to learn from them not just as parents but also as creative inspiration, and business owners. My family loves to travel and I have been fortunate to do so. Going to France was a huge eye-opener due to how enriched in art and culture it is which helped give me inspiration but also let me see the importance of others’ perspectives, cultures, and language. My family, friends, and environment have all given me the opportunity to do what I love and allow others to do the same. By being in such a place, I have always wanted to create something meaningful that not only benefits myself but others. This is where The Lily Pad Zine stemmed from. I created the zine to form a place for writers, photographers, poets, filmmakers, dancers, and artists of all sorts to have a platform where their art could be easily accessed and shown to open-minded people and be inspired. Read more>>

Amy Castro | Graphic Designer & Photo Editor

I am from South Los Angeles. My life experiences have impacted who I am today. To share a little about my story I am a daughter of immigrant parents, whom came to America in hopes and dreams of living a better life. They made so many sacrifices to raise me and bring food to the table. I’ve seen the money earned with sweat and tears. It just really made me grow faster and have a stronger mentality as I grew older. I learned the value of hard work to get what you want. At a young age I always knew I wanted to have my own business, where I can incorporate my life experiences. It wasn’t until high school where I thought about starting a clothing brand. I began drawing out on sticker paper and selling them for one dollar. Being raised in Los Angeles has definitely impacted who I am today. The art, music, culture, and diversity has inspired my purpose to continue to create. My clothing brand Vital is an expressive brand based on my experiences. It has grown and built a small community of people with similar interests and experiences like mine. Read more>>

Louiza Angeles | Social Media Marketing in Fashion, Health and Fitness

I was born in the West Siberian City of Tobolsk, Russia. I grew up there with my Mom and my Sister. My Mom never remarried after my Father died in a boating accident saving the lives of others while losing his own life in the process when I was very young. My Mom was a very strong a proud woman and did everything she had to do to provide my Sister and I with a happy and love filled childhood. Her strength and Love has made me into the person I am today, and I let her know this every chance I get. The values and love I received from her has helped me to be the best Mom I can be to my children today. Read more>>

Jaime Barba | Life Style Family Photographer

The surf, mountains, and snow is where it all started. My humble beginnings started out in in these terrains that were beautifully touched by mother nature and it is where I made close knit connections that have persevered over 20 years. I was born and raised in Southern California and at the age 17 I took a chance and made my way to the mountains of North Lake Tahoe. It was there where I made lifelong friends and discovered my love and passion for photography. I worked very hard to save up for my first camera and spent my free time learning all I could about the industry, developing my own prints in a local camera shop and connecting with local photographers in the area. After trying my hand in various photography mediums, I stumbled into my niche doing maternity photography after one of my best friends became pregnant. From there, I established return customers and I expanded into shooting babies and families. I moved back to Southern California 8 years later, working full-time in the LA fashion industry, but like a magnet, photography always pulled me back. Read more>>

Catherine Gray | Founder SheANGELinvestors.com, Co- Founder SHE ANGELS FOUNDATION, Host INVEST IN HER Podcast

Growing up in the bigoted South and being a gay person- really shaped how I show up in the world as a champion for the underdog. If more people could put themselves in the shoes of people unlike themselves, I think the world would be a better place. As a film producer, my entire life has been focused on how we use the powerful medium of tv and film to help change culture in a positive way. It is why I make documentaries like “I Can’t Marry You” about same sex marriage that aired on PBS- to my most current project I’m working on launching on streaming networks called SHE ANGELS. The series is about how we address the issue of the severe underfunding of women entrepreneurs. I recently did a TEDx Talk about this called FUND WOMEN- SAVE THE WORLD- because in the funding world- women are clearly the underdog- receiving less than 3% of venture capital funding. I am passionate about providing solutions to help level the playing field. Read more>>

Vy Nguyen | Creative Director

I’m Vietnamese American and grew up in Upland, California. My family are Vietnam War refugees that immigrated at the fall of the war in 1975. Coming here with just a few photos and creating a new life with great memories and new traditions showed me the American Dream is real. Their perseverance has made me resilient in pursuing what I want in life. Read more>>