This story is part of Image issue 18, “Mission,” an anthology of fantastic voyages — from L.A. to the world and back to the epicenter. Read the whole issue here.
“My goal is always to have something timeless, rather than a design that’s gonna relate to what’s in trend,” says artist Jake Garcia. He kept this intention in mind when designing a commemorative tote bag for Género Neutral, the concept clothing shop in Echo Park, that just turned 2 this spring.
“I also think of making things feel grand,” he adds, explaining why he positioned the pink El Camino driving toward us, the words “Género Neutral” airbrushed on the hood of the car “like a lowrider mural.”
If you’ve been by the shop lately, you might’ve seen the El Camino parked outside. It belongs to Ashley S.P., who owns the store with Jennifer Zapata. When you see the car, you know they’re there, you know they’re open — “it’s become a little fun extension, of the shop, of me,” says S.P.
S.P. grew up with El Caminos — her dad had two, one black and one burgundy, that he used to drive her to preschool in. So when she saw one with a “for sale” sign in the Arts District, she knew it was time to buy the only car she’s ever really wanted.
“I also think it’s so badass, because this is a very masculine-presenting car,” she says. “You drive by me, and you see I’m driving it, and people get all excited. It’s just all very Género.” Especially when you consider how male-dominated the fashion industry is, Zapata adds.
The Garcia-designed tote was made just in time for Género Neutral’s two-year anniversary party, a block party that overtook Sunset Boulevard. The El Camino was parked outside, ice and drinks packed into the open trunk.
In S.P.’s words, “You don’t have to have an ElCo, but you can have the tote. You can enjoy this little piece of Saturday.”
Jake Garcia is a 25-year-old graphic artist based in the Inland Empire, heavily influenced by traditional airbrush practices, with an emphasis in both clothing and commercial spaces. @byjakegarcia