Raul Esquivel / 25 / Los Angeles / California
Being born and raised in Los Angeles has its pros and cons. One pro would be that there are so many people here and so much to do. A con though is finding your way through and figuring out what it is you want to do. Although for me, I have experienced a little bit of both in that when I was younger, I didn't exactly know what I wanted to grow up to be. As a result, I ended up dipping my feet into lots of different things relating to art and now I am the person you see here.
I was born on June 2nd, 1990 in Los Angeles, CA. into a Colombian/Mexican household. I spent most of my childhood living in the Koreatown part of Los Angeles and moved to the San Fernando Valley when I was about 12 years old.
Today I make a living as a designer, illustrator, developer, musician, photographer, & author. I write and record music under the names CRCLS & I Am The Galaxy, I run and manage my own clothing company Aetheraeon Clothing, I’m the founder of The Esquivel Type Foundry, and I'm currently working as a Designer at Ticketmaster.
Designer / Illustrator / Front-End Developer
I first got into design as a direct result of my interest in music. I taught myself how to use Adobe Photoshop CS2 because I was making my own music under the name Exorsystem and uploading it to a Myspace Music page I created for myself. I wanted to make cool looking graphics and logos for my page so I started by doing as many online tutorials as I could do and slowly began getting better as time passed. After joining my first hardcore band in high school, I started doing some designs for the band. I got some good feedback from other bands and was asked to do some for theirs too. Then it just snowballed from there. I decided to start freelancing in 2008 and I have not looked back since. I have been fortunate enough to work with bands, musicians, and clothing companies from all around the world on various projects ranging from merch designs to full blown Myspace layouts.
After working in the music industry for a while, I decided to switch it up a bit by pursuing a career in the post-production side to film and television. More specifically motion graphic design and 3D animation. I first got interested in motion graphics after watching some Kinetic Typography videos that were created in After Effects. After doing some research I began teaching myself how to use the program by doing some online tutorials. I became really interested in this line of design work after discovering that there was a school in Burbank that offered training in Motion Graphics. I researched the school, requested a catalog, took a free tour of the campus and applied all within a span of 2 months. The time I spent there learning, meeting new people, and gaining valuable insights as to how the post production side of film making works is time I would never trade for anything in the world.
Producer / Song-Writer / Audio-Engineer
Living in the suburbs for a good portion of my life has been a pretty interesting experience in that I’m not one that’s immediately outgoing and adventurous. Although playing, writing, and recording music has been a sort of remedy to this issue as of late. I started teaching myself how to play the guitar when I was only 12 years old. But it was as informal as one might think. My sister had recently gotten an acoustic guitar as a gift and began teaching herself how to play. And I, being the curious kid that I was, wanted to learn too. So I eventually asked my parents for my own electric guitar one year for Christmas. They agreed and I was really on my own from that point forward. I never really thought of dedicating myself to learning how to properly play the guitar so I never asked for any lessons. But I continued to learn how to play on my own and teach myself how to look for for guitar tabs online.
Eventually when I got to high school, was when I really started taking music a lot more seriously. I began meeting all sorts of like-minded musicians, skaters, artists, and all around cool people. I was in a couple of different hardcore bands, I took 2 years of piano classes, I played guitar for some school performances and events, I joined the high school choir in my senior year, and I was voted Best Musician in my graduating class.
So fast forward to today, I have been playing, writing, and recording music for about 10 years and the majority of that time has been mostly on my own. People listen to my music and look at my work and I keep getting asked, “Why aren’t you in a band?” And what I tell them is basically this; While I do like the idea of being in a band and collaborating with people and playing shows and meeting fans, I really just prefer to work and write alone. I know that sounds kind of weird but playing and writing music with other people, for me at least, seems to be really distracting. Maybe its just I’m not used to it but the few bands I was in always left me with an empty feeling of, “So did we get anything done?” after each practice. While it is a dream of mine to someday join a band and go on tour around the U.S. and the world, for now I’m sticking to writing and recording music on my own until I can fully realize that dream, which I hope will be sooner rather than later.
Landscape / Nature / City / Street Photographer
For me, the thing that really sparked my interest in all things art related was photography. Since you don't really need to be a rocket scientist to handle a digital camera, I found it easy to pick up and learn really quickly. I started out with photography after my parents bought their first digital camera with a whopping 3 megapixel lens! (at the time it was revolutionary.) When we would get invited to family parties, they would bring the camera along. And after hours of begging, they would let me use it for awhile. And me, being a kid at the time with no artistic sense or direction whatsoever, I would just start randomly taking pictures of peoples ears or shoes or what I was eating. Everyone always got on my case for that but I found it to be hilarious because when my parents would go take the pictures to be printed, there would be nice group photos and portraits of relatives and then a photo of somebody's chin would show up, and immediately everyone always knew it was I who was responsible for such act of mischief.
But then after awhile, I started really taking an interest in photography. I began straying away from all the random body part photography and started taking pictures of things and nature and still-life objects. And after 10 long years, I've finally realized my true abilities as a photographer. For the majority of what I like to call my "discovery phase" as a photographer, I shot with a Canon Powershot A550. It was the only camera I ever owned and I seemed to have mastered it. But luckily now I own a real DSLR camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T2i/550D and it has really improved my photos significantly. But after all, its not the equipment that makes the photographer, its having that eye for composition that makes for a skilled and well trained photographer. And I can definitely vouch for that.