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Pomona street artists offer tactile showcases

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Brandon Espinosa, a sophomore at Garey High School in Pomona, learns to paint with Kyle McGee, an artist at the Pomona Art Walk for the past six years. McGee said he loves to get young people involved in art to make them look at things in different ways as well as deeper into their work. The Pomona Art Walk is held on every second Saturday of the month on Second Street in Pomona.

Layla Abbas
Staff Writer

On the second Saturday of every month, the Pomona Arts Colony buzzes with people exploring products, self-taught artists and live music.

A casual stroll down Second Street in downtown Pomona is filled with unique vendors who greet you with a smile and their artistry.

One vendor is Gloria Duran, owner of 4 Spoiled Brats Bows. She started her business three years ago due to unforeseen circumstances.

“My youngest daughter was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney cancer and she started losing her hair,” Duran said. “I made little headbands for her to make her feel pretty again. Next thing I knew people started asking me to make more. Here I am 600 bows later.”

Duran hand makes bows and bow ties of all sorts; her most popular sales are Harry Potter, sports and “Nightmare Before Christmas” themed bows.

Duran enjoys setting up her booth at the Pomona Art Walk every Saturday because she is able to network and meet other people.

First time vendor at the Pomona Art Walk, Jennifer Sundstrom, started her business Sense About Scents three years ago after her daughter developed skin allergies.

She decided to make her own products to ensure its safety on her daughter’s skin.

“People forget the skin is the largest organ of our body; I was like that too, but it was not until my daughter had all the skin allergies before I became aware,” Sundstrom said. “If I do not recognize an ingredient I do not use it.”

Sundstrom’s hand makes felted soaps; bars of soap covered in wool that exfoliate the skin.

Sundstrom’s passion for felting soaps is something she hopes to bring back into her community.

“I want to help the soaping community. I am now a fiber artist and teach other artists how to felt soaps. I would like for more people to start,” she said.

Aside from nifty bows and natural soaps, painter David Guerrero displayed his artwork and encouraged people to touch his pieces.

“I am the opposite of a gallery where you cannot touch the art,” Guerrero said.

“I tell kids and adults please all hands on because it is very tactile and you can enjoy it with another sense,” he said.

Guerrero grew up close to Dodger Stadium and developed his inspiration from the trees, rocks, erosion and hills of Chavez Ravine.

“It made me really love texture, so all of my paintings can either be touched or (make you) think you can touch it like a 3-D effect,” he said.

Guerrero has been interested and in love with art for as long as he can remember.

“It lets you express yourself visually. Not everyone will understand what you’re trying to say but at least you feel fulfilled,” Guerrero said. “When I receive compliments it is encouragement to go forward.”

Kyle McGee shares the same passion as Guerrero and has attended the Pomona Art Walk for six years.

“I love getting the kids involved. They start to look at things in different ways,” McGee said.

He brings out plenty of canvas, brushes and paint for anyone who would like to paint along with him. He said he finds joy in mentoring and helping engage the youth through every paint stroke.

The Pomona Art Walk is a great place to meet new people and support their talents.

“I love the people here and the many things to see. You will always find me in this spot every second Saturday of each month,” McGee said.

Layla Abbas can be reached at layla.abbas@laverne.edu.

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