The LA Neighborhoods Artists
Cambodia Town by Caroline Quach
My mom and grandma frequently shop in Cambodia Town and they’ll occasionally stop and engage in a conversation with someone I hadn’t met before. Whenever I asked who the person was the answer was usually “that’s someone we knew from the refugee camp”. I found it fascinating and touching that their connection had transcended country and camp borders and followed them all the way to SoCal, so I made this illustration based on that. Happenstance meetings that demonstrate how intricately connected the Cambodian community is even in the most mundane settings.
Chinatown by Dolly Li
My illustration depicts one of the most iconic people in our local Chinatown: the powerful little grandma snatching the biggest piece of produce out of the box. For me, Chinatown is at the heart of feeding people fresh food and providing resources for the elderly. There exists an entire ecosystem of alternative distributors, wholesalers, and vendors that supply Chinatown (the topic of a short documentary I'm working on!) and this ecosystem requires niche knowledge on produce, language, and the taste preferences of its community. It's not easy to be part of the infrastructure that makes Chinatown a destination for fresh food, but the system exists for grandmas like this one--grandmas who prioritize their families and want them to have the best by eating the best. Plus, napa cabbage, a delicious vegetable that is a core ingredient for many East Asian dishes, is also a symbol of prosperity, something Chinese people are obsessed with.
Historic Filipinotown by Mary Vertulfo
My illustration is a representation of what the Filipino community means to me. Family, heritage, nostalgia, finding home across oceans. Sometimes it's simple to see loss and disconnection in the Filipino diaspora – the history of our cultural and physical displacement seems to always be catching up to us in the 21st century. However I chose to illustrate something that Historic Filipino Town has plenty of – hope and resilience. The future of Historic Filipino Town is as bright and brilliant as our past, and it's clear that the Filipino community will find ways to be strong and represent both in LA, and all over the world.
Koreatown by Kate Marley
My illustration is a reference to one of my favorite aisles in my local Korean grocery, which is where the kimchi and banchan sit. There is something so aesthetically pleasing and comforting to me about the refrigerated sections of my store, and as a Korean-American adoptee, this aisle reminds me the most that “I belong” or “I fit in”.
Little Bangladesh by Anika Zaman
Bengali sweets are a huge part of Bengali culture and a sweet shop is a place one must stop by for any celebration. My family used to pick up rashomalai to bring to parties There is a Bengali sweets shop in every neighborhood and some of them are really famous like Aladin sweets.
Little Saigon by Lanny Ho
When I think of Little Saigon The first thing that comes to mind is the large gate welcoming all visitors in with its beauty. On the sides are the foo dogs, representation of protection. I wanted to have a play of the Foo Dog, to connect with the idea of it almost being a playful dog. That joyful energy to me is how I feel as a Vietnamese American.
Little Tokyo by Seesha Takagishi
My illustration is based on Little Tokyo in LA. The places portrayed in this illustration encapsulate two ideas: first, the celebration of a distinctly Japanese American culture centered around historic locations, and second, an acknowledgement of the efforts of later (yonsei, gosei...) generations to evolve their own culture. For example, the far left building represents "Tuesday Night Cafe", a beautiful celebration of art and community in Little Tokyo. Lastly, I represented a few of my favorite Japanese foods- one of the most powerful tools to create bridges between cultures!
Thai Town by Cartoon Chuersanga
The illustration contains (but is not limited to) four elements of my Thai American identity. Peonies symbolizes happiness and drawing this reminded me of my former teacher who taught me how to draw in Thai style throughout grade school. The center image is an Apsonsi, which is a mythological figure of a half-human and half-lion believed to protect and bring good fortune to those around it. There are two Apsonsi placed on opposite sides of Western and Hollywood Blvd (the intersections of where Thai Town Los Angeles starts/ends), both facing each other with hands clasped in front of their chests in the traditional Thai greeting. The most notable structure of Thai Town sits behind the Apsonsi, detailed with the words "Thai Town" and "สวัสดี" (which reads "hello" in Thai). It is important to note that Thai Town Los Angeles was the first Thai Town to be established and has been a symbolic location for the Thai diaspora community. Finally are the dulcimer sticks behind the Apsonsi. I played the Thai dulcimer for over 10 years and it has been an extracurricular activity that exposed me to my Thai heritage, appreciation for music and has been a key player to my interests in sharing Thai culture.