By Marilynn Montaño
Where you spend your money has an impact and it makes a difference when you support local vendors who have put in countless hours perfecting their craft. Today, LibroMobile is featuring local artists of color you should support this holiday season (and all-year-round!), investing in them is reinvesting in our community.
Whether it is through an art print, sticker, t-shirt, or handmade jewelry, I put my money where my mouth is by shopping extremely small, and you should too. Especially if you believe our gente should be a priority.
Need to remind those around you that their worth is more than their job or productivity? Get them a bookmark or a pin, heck get the tote bag too! As a booklover that needs to remember where I left off between the pages Growing As A Flower’s "Fuck Off I'm Reading" bookmark reminds me to prioritize my reading time and a “Como Chingas” coaster keeps my tea on the nightstand. Literally and figuratively speaking...
Growingasaflower is ran by a bitter undocumented hood feminists.
”My art is based on my life expenses. I make buttons, stickers, tote bags, pressed flowers posters and bookmarks, as well as punch needle hangings.”
Follow on IG: @growingasaflower
Living a busy life but still need some bright affirmations? Check out Beverly Salas’ prints and stickers to take you or a friend out of a state of self-doubt. I came across Salas’ artwork through social media and had the chance to visit their pre-pandemic in-person vending events on La Calle Cuatro. I am mesmerized by their explosive colors and groovy vintage themes that brightens each morning just enough to get me out of bed in time to catch the bus to my next adventure.
Beverly Salas is an artist based out of Anaheim, California. You can find her latest doodles and illustrations made with lots of love, emotions, and little pieces of Beverly get put into them.
Follow on IG: @beverlysalas
Have a couple more bites left of pan dulce but sipped the last drop of your cafecito? Try Califas Velas Co.’s Cafe de Olla candle, it will let you savor the last bite without a second cup. Want to manifest good vibras? Try the White Sage + Lavender soy candle. Califas Velas Co. has a candle for every occasion. I’ve added their candles on my nightstand to keep me relaxed and my personal altar lit.
Califas Velas Co. is a Latinx owned, handmade with 100% soy wax and based out of Orange County, California.
Follow on IG: @califasvelaco
Shop website: www.califasvelaco.com
Need a gentle reminder to get through the day? Meg González translates from heart and mind to print and ceramics. I came across their art through mutual friends and it has helped keep me grounded and focused at my writing desk. Now, I just need one of their mugs, hmm.
Meg González is a Gay, ENBY, First-Gen Chicanx Illustrator, Ceramicist & Zinester; making work based on their personal experiences in this wurld. Encouraging transparency & love within yourself & your community! They are from SanTana, California but are currently based in West Anaheim, California.
Follow on IG: @megmgonzalez
Here are some great reminders for everyone, or just that family member or friend who isn’t quite woke yet: “Honor and Pay for The Labor of Womxn of Color,” “Matriarchal Brilliance,” and “Matriarchal Daddy”— you can find these on t-shirts and some on totes. Check out Nalgona Positivity Pride (NPP) merchandise created by Gloria Lucas. NPP was introduced to me by various Chingonxs in my life as a youth and now in my late 20’s her work continues to make me reflect how “Eating Disorders Are A Social Justice Issue'' and to “Never Learn Your Ancestral Ways From Those Who Benefit From Your Ancestors Pain.”
Nalgona Positivity Pride, founded by Gloria Lucas, is an in-community eating disorders and body positivity organization for BIPOC communities. Lucas is a Xicana eating disorders awareness educator; also creator of Seeds From the Flesh, and Mujeres Market.
Follow on IG: @nalgonapositivitypride
Shop website: www.etsy.com/shop/NalgonaPositiveShop
Keep Me Safe 714 is not only a statement but a way of paying homage to Santa Ana through t-shirts, stickers and bolsas de mandado. My favorite image is the Virgencita screen printed on the back of a t-shirt with the namesake embroidered: “Keep Me Safe 714, Santa Ana, California.” In a time where gentrification is very present, especially downtown, supporting Keep Me Safe 714 is a form of resistance and their images serve as reminders that our gente sigue luchando.
Follow on IG: @keepmesafe714
Shop website: keepmesafe.bigcartel.com
Have a favorite cartoon character but can't decide which one you would like to hang on your wall or stick on your water bottle? No need to stick to one since Crux WorldWide by Tristan Cruz makes mashups of cartoons like Pokemon and Sanrio into one. I instantly gravitated to Cruz’s illustrations when I found him vending on Calle Cuatro and it was the mashup pin of Louise Belcher from Bob's Burgers and Chucky that was an instant purchase for me. Plus, Cruz prints everything for LibroMobile, like our business cards, bookmarks and zines.
CRUXWORLDWIDE is an independently owned online shop operated in Santa Ana, California by graphic artist/illustrator Tristan Cruz. CRUXWORLDWIDE offers an exclusive limited edition bootleg goods which includes soft enamel pins, stickers, fine print and clothing.
Follow on IG: @t_crux
Shop website: www.cruxworldwide.com
Can’t decide what to get your expressive friends or simply want something cute for yourself? Animo.Style is a jewelry line by Zo, who I met through a writing workshop I hosted at Jerome Park (pre-pandemic times). My favorite jewelry piece is the “Thicc Silver Hoops” and “Blue Opal Moon Bracelet/Ring.”
“Animo Style — we believe in bold and unapologetic self expression by any means necessary. Self-expression is not limited to what you do or say, but it expands the clothes you wear, color choice, and how you decorate the walls of both your body and home. With all of the fast fashion available at our fingertips, it’s easy to get lost in the next pricey latest trend. We exist to remind you to enjoy the little things, and to turn chaos into art.TLDR; We make cute and sustainable accessories more accessible.”
Follow on IG: @animo.style
Shop website: www.animostyle.com
Have a punk or rockero person in your life? Audey Thunders has clear vinyl fanny packs, patchwork shirts with a punk band, mixed animal prints and edgy dresses. If you have visited any local grassroots festivals in Anaheim and Santa Ana, then you may have come across Lizz from Audey Thunders Clothing. It is super rad to know that their handmade clothing is upcycled by the visionary radical hands of Lizz.
Audey Thunders Clothing is a collection of handmade clothing revolving around punk and radical politics. Items are made out of new and recycled materials, hand cut and sewn by Lizz, who is a single mom from Anaheim.
Follow on IG: @audeythunders
Now, I have to be honest, I haven’t quite made it to buy one of those “Santa Ana Times” totes you see our founder Sarah Rafael García carrying around town but Funday Collective is definitely on my personal list to support before the end of the year. And I also heard Matt Vargas, the creator, is designing some totes for LibroMobile too!
Funday Collective is a vintage-inspired collection of wearable, usable, fun-infused art pieces featuring hand-drawn lettering and statements that make it easy and fun to spread positives wherever you are.
Follow on IG: @funday_collective
Marilynn Montaño is a writer and artist from Santa Ana, California. She is a first generation Chicana. Montaño is a proud daughter of migrant parents from Puebla, Mexico. Also a Crear Studio fellow.
Want to support even more local artists of color? Visit Makers’ Month at Crear Studio through December 23rd! Over 20 vendors, including some on this list — please shop small, please reinvest in our community.
#OffThePage is taking pitches via email and paying contributing writers. Our Arts & Culture column was initially founded by local journalist Gabriel San Román, who is now a featured writer at Times OC and a former OC Weekly staff writer. Subscribe to his weekly Slingshot! Newsletter. And in case anyone is wondering, he's still the tallest Mexican in OC.