Meet the Maker - Juan Martinez

Meet the Maker - Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez

 Juan, aka Li’l Latin Boy In A Dress, went to The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and majored in Merchandise Marketing which led to merchandising for Macy's for a year and later tackling the cosmetics industry for 17 years giving him the chance to experience working from Compton to Beverly Hills to Chicago to San Francisco always returning to Long Beach. For him, it's been the ride of a lifetime. 

Read his story below

What inspired you to start your creative enterprise? 

I take inspiration from all sorts of things. Architecture for one, has always gotten my mind going. The lines that run through it, how the lines make me feel, or better yet, how did they make their maker feel?  My Haus of Hearts T-shirts were inspired by my efforts in wanting to give back to our community. In 2019 I earned the honor of representing the International Imperial Court Of Long Beach as Haus of Hearts Royalty. I was able to give back to our community and I didn't want it to stop after 2019 so I was able to get T-shirts made and donated and collaboratively with MADE continue to give back to our community; selling the T-shirts in the store and giving part of the proceeds to nonprofits. 


"Raised by a single mother with three other rowdy siblings wasn't always easy so when we would all come together and walk to the beach, it brought a sense of unity and peace, and it was cost-free."



What is your favorite local mural?

A glazed tile mosaic titled "Typical Activities of a Beach and Harbor City". This mosaic has always been a touchstone to my family and me. I could always see a piece of me in that mural. To this day, whether I'm waking with family, chosen family, or lovers, I stop, look, and give it a li’l wink. I like to think it winks back especially now that it has been made a park and named after Harvey Milk, the American politician and gay-rights activist.


 "The building MADE occupies has had an effect on me since I was a child of about nine or so. I've always wanted to walk up to those pillars. Inspiring me to become a pillar of our community. I have MADE it!"



What does your workspace look like? Are you hyper-organized, a little messy?

Living with a fellow creative I am lucky to have set up in what is normally the living room into our creative space. The space is set up and ready for whatever craft I want to touch on that day. Sew a dress. Make a hat. Paint fabric. Style a wig. Set up a backdrop/stage and lighting and shoot a performance for a virtual show. Or even put pen to paper and outline a fundraiser. To me that's all creative so whether I'm making money or not I feel I'm being productive.  


What holds more value for you: creativity or knowledge?

I believe creatives are self motivating creatures so knowledge isn't absolutely mandatory. However, memorable art is usually led by some knowledge of something whether it be history or art from the past, which in my opinion has the ability to emote something different to everyone or it could touch just one type of person. As long as someone is affected.


 “Success is different for everyone and fulfills everyone's needs differently and that's what's beautiful about art.”


If you could move to any other place in this or any universe where would you go? 

This question takes me to a show on Netflix I can't stop watching called Outlander. If you haven't seen it, the lead character Claire is able to time travel through a portal at the stones. Her ability to time travel through these stones back and forth from one life to another; sometimes having no clue where she ends up is appealing to me. I would love to be in Claire's shoes and time travel and experience it all. Taking it all in.