My DIY Heroes 4: Carina Lomeli

Welcome to my ongoing series celebrating the people I know that embody the Do It Yourself spirit, “My DIY Heroes”: Part 4: Carina Lomeli, artist and activist. And my first – though not last – DIY Heroine.

If you missed them, check out my previously covered DIY Heroes: Hush, Matt Goff, and Tavius Aiton.

Self Portrait of Carina Lomeli

Carina Lomeli

– Artist, Activist, Poor Magazine

I first met Carina Lomeli (pictured above in her self-portrait) one sunny afternoon as she toted her drawing pad and small easel across Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. She recounts countless bike rides around  San Francisco’s notorious hills with turpentine and 30 pounds of paint on her back. The young artist started her career as a child, inspired by drawings her father had done for her mother during their courtship.

“I laugh at how many times I have had to endure long walks with drawing pads bigger than myself.” She reflects on one particular sojourn, “I tried to cross through the path of fierce wind, in between buildings, that showed no mercy and tossed (my drawing pad) into the street.”

Sean Connery in charcoal by Carina Lomeli

Clay figure by Carina Lomeli

Lomeli utilizes many forms of media to create her art – pretty much any available to her! Paintings, pencil sketches (like the portrait to the left of my favorite Bond, Sean Connery), printing, mixed media, photography, sculpture (like the figure shown above) – she’s equally skilled in each media.

Carina Lomeli at Tribus Vivas / Dermafilia Tattoo and Piercing for the Art and Tattoo Show. Tom Boyle Photography

While looking for a place that she could speak Spanish as a means to help her “people,” her friend Guillermo Gonzales introduced her to the POOR News Network, a non-profit, grass-roots organization which provides tools for media, healing, education, publishing and other services for the homeless, disabled, abused, immigrants and other underprivileged groups and individuals. She began volunteering in 2008 and currently her roles have expanded to include those of teacher, translator, artist, film chronicler, photographer, editor and administrator to help ensure funding for POOR Magazine.

An avid bike rider and activist, she is naturally involved with Critical Mass, a group of bicyclers that meets the last Friday of every month to ride across San Francisco to bring attention to our need to decrease our carbon footprint. She has also been involved with the American Indian Movement, Immigrant Rights marches, and many other causes.

Carina Lomeli posing in front of her mix media piece at Tribus Vivas / Dermafilia’s Art and Tattoo Show. Tom Boyle Photography

I attended the Tattoo and Art Show in 2009 at Dermafilia Tattoo and Piercing Tribus Vivas in San Francisco’s Mission District. In addition to featuring Carina’s mixed media ode to the morning after a night of partying “Me Pase un Poco / A little too much” (shown at the top left corner of the picture of Lomeli on the left – the piece is featured below and at Dermafilia), and countless paintings, sculptures, crucifixes, and mixed media pieces, the building’s alley was filled with people dancing to a bilingual hip-hop slam. Carina met Wilson, the owner of Dermafilia, in a similarly random encounter as when I met her. “One day when walking around the Mission, I stumbled into his shop and ended up talking to him about having art sessions. He then called later (asking) to share my art in his Gallery Hallway. Two pieces are still up today.”

Carina’s work is evocative in both theme and imagery, focusing on causes, concerns and fears – joys, hopes, and elations.

Here she explains some of my favorites from her impressive collection…

“The Bomb” oil painting by Carina Lomeli

The Bomb

Medium: Oil & India Ink.
47″ x 60″

This composition represents to me the fear of what technology could cause if used against Mother Earth.

At the same time it shows the grace and elegance of woman throughout time and space as she simply accepts her fate and chooses to spend her last moments enjoying the Beautiful view.

Not to confuse her actions with lack of concern it actually implies our current social environment where men still are in charge of what happens in our world.

“Hope” Oil on canvas by Carina Lomeli


Medium: Oil on Canvas
24″ x 18″

Hope is a scene from an Immigrant Rights march that took place just down the street from my art class in San Francisco. Instead of taking my lunch I joined the march. I captured what came to be one of my favorite paintings. “Hope” on her father’s broken shoulders fighting for his rights.

“The Future” Mixed Media by Carina Lomeli

The Future

Medium: Mixed Media
11″ x 14″

I had this image for a while. I drew it while thinking of all the death that happens everyday, and I realized that the worst way to die was being trapped. I fear those who need to control how I think, so much that I believe the future will be like this if I don’t try to do something about it. I also start to wonder why we let these people do such horrid things to those different and weak.

Three years later I grabbed the image to finish the piece by adding an experiment of color with acrylic, die, ink, color pencils, and markers on paper.

“Me Pase un Poco / A little too much” Mixed Media by Carina Lomeli

Me Pase un Poco /
A little too much

Medium: Mixed Media
11″ x 14″

This was inspired by partying a little too hard some days. The hunched over figure is accompanied by her best friend, the Bunny, who could also represent a Guardian Angel, somebody watching her constantly even though she’s not being a good girl. A mixed media on paper, I enjoyed adding different layers of paint as I let it get wet then dry between glass, it created a rusted appreciation for the textured paper.

“Modern Aztec / Azteca Moderno” Acrylic on Paper by Carina Lomeli

Modern Aztec / Azteca Moderno

Medium: Acrylic on Paper
24.00″ x 18.00″

This creation was painted live at a Fundraiser for AIM WEST, the San Francisco chapter of the American Indian Movement. It’s usually administrated by either Mark or Arthur, but can be used by any member of AIM West. For more info, please visit

“Dancer 1: Tangamandapio” Oil on canvas from the Resist Series by Carina Lomeli

Dancer 1

Medium: Oil on canvas
14″ x 11″

Michoacan, Mexico. Santiago Tangamandapio. Just a sneak peak at the start of my Mexico Resist! Series. Still working on the title. 2010 July 13-28 I visited my parents’ home town on a trip to Michoacan where, fortunately, the 2010 Fiesta de Santiago was going on. Every night for 6 days the central plaza was full of marked days performances, fireworks, parades, night shopping, disco or art… (I was able to exhibit my work inside the Presidential palace of my town). Even if it was raining the crowds would come every day. I took at least 500 pictures of the dancers which I will have to narrow to six or maybe more.

With over 15 commissions; features in publications such as the Mission District bilingual newspaper El Tecolote, ARTslant SF, and the City Lights Press book “Los Viajes / The Journeys“; and showings at Berkeley‘s Seed Corn Gallery, the Academy of Art University Online Auction, and the aforementioned Dermafilia Tattoo and Art Show, Lomeli is well on her way to achieving her dream of being a professional artist.

“Reader” Etching by Carina Lomeli

“This is my profession – something I want to be appreciated for. For me nothing else means more and I expect to be the master. Doing it myself and taking it to the limit everyday!”

Though focused on self-mastery, she sees the importance of apprenticeship to the lessons of life. “I keep in mind that there is much to learn. Education through (one’s) own world, this is what Do It Yourself means.” She counts herself lucky so far, but adds, “I must every day be aware of new opportunities and make smart choices. It is all up to me in the end.”

tombopoedia 4.4

Carina Lomeli – Seen painting to the right. To see more of Ms. Lomeli’s artwork, click on her name there for her website. Or check her work out on Facebook.

Planet Chicken – My mentor Hush, a worthy start to “My DIY Heroes” series.

Matt Goff – Filmmaker and co-owner of Tin Can Films.  In an odd coincidence, his mother-in-law was working with Vetted Word when this article was initially released.

Tavius Aiton – Writer, musician, producer, DJ, and then some – he’s just hinted at forthcoming projects!

Self-portrait – Media: Oil Paint on Canvas, 18″ x 24″.

Hippie Hill – A hill just a few yards from the East entrance of Golden Gate Park, past the pond, under the overpass and around the bend, from Haight Street. It is near the “Janis Joplin Tree”, about which Wikipedia has this to say:
The “Janis Joplin Tree” is a favorite site for many tourists and locals. Located on the edge of Hippie Hill, a small hill at the eastern end of Golden Gate Park where the hippies often gathered to smoke marijuana during the Summer of Love and people often gather today, it is said to have just enough room in its branches for a girl and her guitar.
Just during the Summer of Love, huh…? I’m sure the same things were happening the day that I met Carina, but on April 20th it definitely was. The place looked like the site of a Civil War reenactment – billowing smoke and incapacitated scraggly people. On another occasion, the crowd of “people watchers” on the hill jeered the police as they tried to forcibly remove a small group of youths from the Janis Tree. Summer of Love, indeed.

Golden Gate Park – If you’re going to San Francisco, in addition to wearing flowers in your hair, checking out hippies, homeless people (which Wikipedia refers to as a “Chronic Homeless Problem” – especially, I’m assuming for the homeless people), occasional police actions, you might enjoy the Conservatory of Flowers, the Music Concourse, the De Young Museum, the Academy of Sciences (they gots penguins!), the Japanese Tea Garden, the Strybing Arboretum or maybe even the AIDS Memorial Grove.

San Francisco – It’s a city, it’s a county! It’s a place to leave your heart!

Bond – James Bond, 007, The Man with the Golden Gun. There is only one order from best to worst of those that have played this iconic cold war British spy that I will acknowledge:
Sean Connery: The first Bond. 7 movies: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and his reprise Never Say Never Again. Not only the greatest Bond ever, he makes a good Highlander, Untouchable (who can beat you with just his one thumb†, and do you know why? Answered below.), Dragon and friend of the Leprechaun.
Daniel Craig: The sixth and most recent Bond. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace (which means basically I feel a little bad for you). Someone finally stepped up to the role. A couple more good movies and he might topple the mighty Connery.
Roger Moore: The third Bond. 7 movies: Live and Let Die (Wings did the title song, Guns N’ Roses did it better), The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill (title song by Duran Duran – though their name is lifted from Barbarella‘s villain.). The Guilty Pleasure Bond, his cheesey lines are the stuff that you’d expect Mike Myers to make in the Austin Powers series. Hell, even his name is a dirty British pun! He has been knighted, however. Imagine the Queen saying to him “Sir! Roger Moore!”
George Lazenby: The second Bond. 1 movie: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – but the villain was Kojak‘s Telly Savalas. He would have beaten out Roger Moore on this list if he had made just one more Bond film.
Pierce Brosnan: (He used to have his own domain where you would get a new pic of Pierce every time you returned.): The fifth Bond. 4 movies: Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is not Enough, and Die Another Day. I couldn’t help but think he was just Remington Steele.
David Niven: Before Daniel Craig took the Walther PPK and Martini Gauntlet up, there was spoof version of Casino Royale, Bond creator Ian Fleming‘s first book title and starring his first choice for the 007 role, David Niven. In this version all of the following people on this list are James Bond at once – except that last guy. Don’t know how he made this list at all!
Peter Sellers: Clousseu AND Bond – Sellers is one of the greatest comedians of all time! And that includes Punch and Judy!
Ursula Andress: She went from being the first Bond girl to being Bond! Guess espionage is sexually transmitted.
Joanna Pettet: She followed this role up as Ulrike, aka “Tank Force” in The Night of the Generals, then appearances on Knight Rider, Fantasy Island…
Daliah Lavi: She followed her 007 role with one in Those Fantastic Flying Fools, inspired by the writing of Jules Verne, but with the character of P.T. Barnum.
Woody Allen: I’m … um … shaken, not, er, um stirred…
Terrence Cooper
: After being Bond, Cooper went on to do a lot of tv and horror movies. Honestly, I’m just doing this to show how much I like Casino Royale, and how little I like Dalton as Bond.
Timothy Dalton: The fourth Bond. 2 movies: The Living Daylights (title song by A-Ha) and License to Kill. He only makes the list for the sake of being thorough.
One Thumb – Sean Connery’s “The Untouchables” line was “I’m going to beat you with this one thumb, and do you know why? Because if I beat you with this (his other) thumb, you wouldn’t shurvive.” Then he proceeds to beat a guy up with his one thumb. That’s how tough Sean is!
To end this Bond tangent, I’ll leave you with the posting from my nephew Brett’s Facebook page: “James Bond when are you going to realize that no one is your friend and that they are trying to kill you?!”

Sean Connery – Excuse me, SIR Thomas Sean Connery. Here’s a Sean Connery joke from Tom Boyle’s Archive of Dated Jokes! Why does Sean Connery pronounce ‘S’ words with a “SH” sound? (In Connery’sh Voish) Becaushe my name is Shawn, SH E A N, Sean! Also, his favorite musician is Sade, because “She knowsh how to pronounsh wordsh properly.”

Guillermo Gonzales – Carina didn’t specify. Maybe he’s an astronomer.

POOR News Network – The multimedia access project of POOR Magazine.

POOR Magazine – They offer publishing, provocative video clips and images, columns, scholarships, resources and much more.

Critical Mass – While I respect Carina and other bicyclers that have joined in the worldwide movement, I have found the following to be indicative of some members… This is from the official site, edited to keep it shorter. You can read the whole thing by clicking the link. Don’t email site creator Micheal Bluejay, he seems hairied enough:

“I ran this site for ten years (1998-2008) as a volunteer project. Recently it’s been difficult for me to update the site in a timely fashion, and I’d been wondering whether I should give up. Then some Florida CM’ers undertook a campaign to deluge me with email to demand priority for their listing to be updated — as though that would help me get to it sooner, and as though I should move them ahead of the dozens of other cities already waiting in queue for their update. Even when I explained that I have, literally, over 10,000 messages in my In Box, they didn’t care. Here’s what one of them sent me:
SUPER FUCK YOU THEN! I hope this wastes your WHOLE day thinking up a reply to this. … why am I sharing this with you? Oh yeah, to waste your precious time! Your an elitist FUCK. … How much time of yours have I wasted now?
If you are interested in joining the SF group, they are available on Tribe. But it’s worth noting that in my research I came across a number of articles about closing branches in SF, NYC and elsewhere.

American Indian Movement – “The movement was founded to turn the attention of Indian people toward a renewal of spirituality which would impart the strength of resolve needed to reverse the ruinous policies of the United States, Canada, and other colonialist governments of Central and South America. At the heart of AIM is deep spirituality and a belief in the connectedness of all Indian people.”

Immigrant Rights – There are numerous sites dedicated to this cause. I provided a link to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as they work to protect all persons’ rights.

Dermafilia Tattoo and Piercing / Tribus Vivas
3382 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 252-7098
Subway: 16th St. / Mission BART

Mission District – My favorite San Francisco neighborhood – it’s got everything! Families, street performers and vendors, clubs, shops, reasonable-ish rent, some beautiful architecture and classic buildings, galleries…

The Bomb – The intensity of color and imagery are very striking. Carina’s explanation was clear to me just looking at it for the first time, before she had provided that information.

Hope – I love the way she caught both the Hope in the child and can’t you just feel the pain in the father’s posture?

The Future – From Hope to an apocalptic police state! I love the perspective and how the buildings look like speaker stacks.

Me Pase un Poco / A little too much – When I first saw this piece at Dermafilia, all I could see was the rabbit!

Guardian Angel – I can’t help but seeing Guardian Angels as civil servants, so you probably have to share yours with hundreds of other cases, and the paperwork is what clouds are made of – but that’s just me.

Modern Aztec / Azteca Moderno – This piece is amazing for something created in a short amount of time. That’s what comes of having your art within you at all times, as Carina does.

AIM West – American Indian Movement West, which holds the same goals of the larger organization, to educate, advocate and protect on behalf of Indigenous peoples, but also has the specific goal of the “development of a long over-due community multi-purpose cultural center for all Indigenous peoples of the Americas to share, and established in San Francisco.”

Dancer 1 / Tangamandapio – So vibrant and full of motion and emotion!

Michoacan, Mexico – Located a little south of the halfway point of Mexico on the Pacific Ocean, it is a largely rural state producing crops like sugar cane, avocados, and coffee, as well as hand crafted guitars, ceramics, lace and hummingbird feather tapestries.

Santiago Tangamandapio – A small town between Guadalajara and Morelia in the state of Michoacan.

Resist! Series – The piece Dancer 1 / Tangamandapio is the first in the series. Bookmark the link and check back!

El Tecolote – The Mission District’s bilingual newspaper for the past 40 years. There is a great tie-in article about POOR Magazine.

ARTslant San Francisco – ARTslant is part networking site, part gallery, part auction house… Like a Facebook cum Craiglist for art. You can view many of Carina’s artwork on her portfolio in a nice slideshow here.

City Lights Press – The publishing branch of City Lights Books – the other branch being one of the best bookstores I’ve been to – co-created by Beat poet and artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

“Los Viajes / The Journeys” – I was unable to find any information on the book, but there is a project that POOR Magazine is currently working on by the same name. Here is what Carina had to say about it: “Our current project is Los Viajes/ The Journeys: Taking Back the Land, Resisting Criminalization One Story at a time. It is a bilingual (resisting linguistic language domination) POOR Press Publication that chronicles the journeys of scholars ranging from migrants, indigenous, impoverished, and revolutionary workers are detailed in this book, with their very own voices. Stories, images, art, and the sound of people crossing borders all over Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) are all featured in Los Viajes.”

Berkeley, CA – A town that likes to pat itself on its back. The 50’s and 60’s brought the town the international spotlight as the center of the Beat and Hippie movements and they’ve been so proud of themselves since while simultaneously craving that level of attention.

Seed Corn Gallery – The Greenlining (multi-ethnic public policy research and advocacy) Institute’s “way of acknowledging the debt that social justice movements all over California and the nation owe to the artists that have given it life.”

Academy of Art University – Since 1929, this San Francisco based university has been offering degrees in all manner of arts, from archeticture to game design, advertising to photography, fashion to motion picture, and all points in between. Carina’s alma mater.

Tune in next time when “My DIY Heroes” spotlights Comic Artists / Publishers Hidden Agenda Press.

Come back for the continuing series for features on Zine Publishers Kill Zinesters, Cartoonist / Rapper Keith Knight, and more!

copyright © Tom Boyle