L. Herrada-Rios: Bay Area Visual Artist, Curator, and National Treasure


“In the Bay Area there’s so many different types of people making all kinds of crazy, cool, intricate, music and a lot of cross-over too. There’s just so much culture around here that it’s sure to reach over into different fields.”

On February 22nd, I welcomed my friend, L. Herrada-Rios, to Casually Crying. L. is a San Francisco native, visual artist, curator, walking encyclopedia of music, and all around national treasure (among a lot of other things). Here are some snippets from the episode:

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a San Francisco native, artist, curator, yeah, I do all kinds of stuff. I’m a busy-body. (L)

What did you grow up listening to? How have your tastes evolved or maybe stayed the same?
My music background is pretty diverse and interesting. I think that’s always stayed with me. My parents are from South America but they both listen to radically different things. My dad is more into traditional Peruvian music, salsa, or cumbia. My mom was in her 20s when she had me so I grew up in the 80s listening to a lot of hip hop. Beastie Boys, Afrika Bambaataa, stuff like that. Some Egyptian Lover.

I grew up having that influence around me, so that along with MTV at the time, I kinda listened to everything. When I was in high school I got really into punk music and that paved the way for what I’m into now, like garage rock and post-punk. I listen to all kinds of stuff but the foundation was laid out from the beginning. (L)

Can you tell us about all of the different types of projects and events you work on?
I’m an interdisciplinary artist. I mainly focus on photography but I also do mixed-media; paintings and sculptures. With that I started an art collective called ys800 with a bunch of my friends. Mostly photographers, we have a graphic designer in there and an illustrator, video artists. We participate in a lot of local events 

I have been woking in the arts for 8 years now. I’ve done freelance curating, I’ve worked at various galleries. I also contribute photography and content to street art publisher Endless Canvass. The list just goes on and on. Currently some personal projects I’m working on; I started a band with my best friend and  I’m working on writing a book. I’ve been writing about my experiences dating and my experiences in relationships. As a precursor to that I’m releasing a zine with contributions from different writers and artists from the Bay Area. (L)

What about the Queer Zine Fest?
I’m one of the organizers for the Queer Zine Fest. We are going to have our third year this year. You can look up Bay Area Queer Zine Fest, as far as I know, we’re the only queer zine fest in The Bay. If you’re a queer person who makes zines, hit us up, we’re always trying to diversify the people that we showcase. (L)

Who are some of your favorite local bands? Also what are your favorite spots to go see music in the Bay Area?
There are so many. My friends band, Provoke, amazing hardcore form Oakland. I really love the band The World, also form Oakland. There’s PARENTZ, Spellling, Otzi, there’s so much. Too many to mention.
Bottom of the Hill, I still love seeing shows there. The New Parish in Oakland, is really great. I like The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland. (L)

Anything else you want to say?
Keep supporting us (local artists). There’s always a million events and a lot going on, but in order for there to keep being a lot going on people need to go support these artists. Buy art, buy records, buy shirts, buy merch, Don’t ask to be on the guest list, just go. A lot of places are doing ‘no person turned away for lack of funds’, take advantage of that. We just need support. (L)

To listen to the episode of Casually Crying that features L., go here.

All Photos ©L. Herrada-Rios
Find L. on Instagram here:

Teresa Cullen