Cindy Schwarzstein, Founder and Publisher
For Cartwheel Arts founder Cindy Schwarzstein, work, passion, curiosity, and lifestyle are all one and the same. As a committed Arts District resident, her company’s curated experiences, tours, cultural publishing, event production, and international curations are all expressions of the same love of DTLA’s vibrant street art scene that inspired her to not only move to the neighborhood herself, but to establish a multifaceted service dedicated to sharing that love with audiences from around the block and across the globe.
Cindy’s introduction to art began at an early age in Haiti, where her parents owned an art gallery, as well as in her native New York and her youth in Laguna Beach’s hybrid arts and outdoor tourism environment. Her interest in art expanded while working in the surf/skate/snow industries, where she met many artists who were also illustrators, along with graffiti and street artists. Now Schwarzstein brings together her two decades of experience in Hospitality and Tourism Management, event planning, trade show production, hotel operations, and publishing to fuel the full-service, multifaceted, cross-platform, art-experience resource that Cartwheel Art is today.
Since its founding in 2012, Cartwheel’s immersive neighborhood explorations and topical tours on various cultural and historical subjects, including art, food, beverage, theater, architecture, and the hidden history of Los Angeles — all rooted in the compelling history and visual drama of the Arts District itself — have reached tens of thousands of people. In 2017 Cindy was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the City of Los Angeles for “exemplary commitment and outstanding service in bringing the April 15th, 2017 World Art Day to the City of Los Angeles.”
Schwarzstein received her BS degree in Hospitality Management from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and honed her knowledge of various art markets through years spent as Production Director in publishing for Action Sports Retailer and Surfer Publications (Surfer, Skateboarder, Bike and Powder Magazines). Frequently hailed in the cultural media as a “savvy insider” and local leader, most recently awarded and featured in Aspire Magazine September 2017 cover story as one of the top six leaders in Downtown LA, she is also a frequent guest speaker on institutional panels, an in-demand art competition juror, and a busy curator. Schwarzstein is an active Arts District resident, serving as a Board member of Los Angeles River Artists and Business (LARABA), as a Land Use & Urban Planning Committee member.
Billy Bennight, Contributor
Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity events and red carpets for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair. He’s very engaged in life.
Angelina Coppola is a third-generation Angeleno and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She received her B.A in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She has previously worked as an Editorial and Marketing Assistant at Rare Bird Lit, an independent publishing company based in Downtown LA. Her first published short story, Desert Mermaid, was recommended for publication by Joyce Carol Oates, her former professor. Her own writing has been covered in LA Magazine, The Washington Post, and CNET Australia, among others. She currently lives and writes in Los Angeles.
Lisa Derrick, Contributor
Lisa Derrick, honed her writing skills at Larry Flynt Publications and while covering nightlife for New Times Los Angeles. She branched out, co-creating Grammy Magazine as an editor and writer, and co-created, designed, and launched Sacred History Magazine, where she focused on cultural and artistic aspects of religion.
Along with writing for and editing Cartwheel Art Magazine, Lisa contributes to The Huffington Post. Her art has shown at Coagula Curatorial and Illuminoidist gallery in Long Beach, and she curated the acclaimed “Two Johns and Whore” which opened January 11, 2014 at Coagula Curatorial. Since then she has curated nine other shows, including two fundraisers for Homeboy Industries, a booth at Photo Independent for Coagula, and the successful “Dark Progressivism: Devil’s Town” at Red Pipe Gallery. She is an associate producer of the documentary Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion, and co-curated the Cartwheel Art’s LA Art Show 2015 booth “Dark Progresssivism: Metropolis Rising” with the film’s writer/director Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre.
Shana Nys Dambrot, Contributor
Shana Nys Dambrot is an art critic, curator, and author based in Downtown LA. She is Los Angeles Editor for Whitehot Magazine and a contributor to KCET’s Artbound, Flaunt, Fabrik, Art and Cake, Artillery, Palm Springs Life, Riot Material, West Hollywood Lifestyle, Jenkem, ArtReview, Vice, and Porter & Sail. She studied Art History at Vassar College, writes essays for books and exhibition catalogs, curates and juries a few exhibitions each year, is a dedicated Instagram photographer and author of experimental short fiction, and speaks at galleries, schools, and cultural institutions nationally. She sits on the Boards of Art Share-LA and the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Advisory Council of Building Bridges Art Exchange.
Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre, Contributor
Rodrigo, is the author of Urban Politics: The Political Culture of Sur 13 Gangs, The NAFTA Blueprint, and A Grave Situation. Last year he co-curated the LA Art Show special exhibition, Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising. He is the writer/director of the upcoming feature documentary film, Dark Progressivism, an urban studies film that follows the trajectory of Los Angeles gang graffiti, murals, and tattoo art, and their impact on contemporary art. He writes extensively about art and culture in Los Angeles, with articles published in the Huffington Post, Cartwheel Art Magazine, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and he is currently a graduate student in the creative writing department at Mount Saint Mary’s University. (photo by Jim McHugh)
Julie Faith, Contributor
Julie Faith is an urban art photographer who focuses primarily on graffiti and street art, the very nature of which is fleeting and therefore must be documented. Her passion and joy are in capturing the unexpected, the spontaneous, the magical. She spends countless hours searching for art hidden in plain sight on the streets of LA and beyond. “There is simply nothing better,” Julie says, “than going into a situation unscripted, eyes wide open, camera in hand, and discovering something glorious.” Julie is captivated and inspired by the work of photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Vivian Maier, Martha Cooper, HollowDoubt, and the Lady Art Mafia.
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Steve Grody, Contributor
Steve Grody, is the author of Graffiti LA: Street Syles and Art, historian and photographer. In 2011 his photographs were in the MOCA “Art of the Streets” show and catalogue, and he was co-curator of “Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas” at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. He is also our Cartwheel Art Tours graffiti expert. More about Steve.
Michelle Homami, Contributor
Michelle Homami is an artist, writer, and consultant born and raised in Los Angeles. She is passionate about the cross cultures between art and psychology, and the intrinsic effect creativity has on individuals and populations at large– from pockets of gentrified U.S. cities to countries around the globe. Versed in four languages and an avid world traveler, her diverse cultural inspiration fuels her to connect the dots between individuals, businesses and communities to help each reach their fullest potential. Michelle was an instrumental leading force in the development of the UTI 30th Anniversary Mural painted on the Westbrass building.
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Dahlia Jane, Contributor
Dahlia grew up feeling out of place in the conservative North Shore of Chicago. Frequently alienating others with her head in a book or up in the clouds, Dahlia found relief on frequent trips into the city to look at the Impressionist paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago.
She started her blog, Upon a Midnight Dreary, in 2009 as an outlet for her fascination with the macabre and memento mori. Through creating content for the blog, she discovered a world of up and coming dark artists in Los Angeles and felt at home with other people for the first time. She loves dissecting the truth behind a work of art. Her goal is to help artists reach a wider audience and since summer 2013 she has also been contributing Artist Spotlight features to Auxiliary Magazine. Her art collection includes original works by David Van Gough, Krystopher Sapp, Stefanie Vega and Dan Harding.
Lee Joseph, Contributor
Immersed in music and art around the clock, Lee Joseph works as a visual arts and pop culture event publicist, runs the underground indie label Dionysus Records, plays bass for Joshua Tree’s Jesika von Rabbit, and is a DJ.
Lee collects illustrative artworks, many of which have already made perfect album covers. Numerous pieces in his collection — by Damian Fulton, Heather Watts, Rockin’ Jelly Bean, Shag, Lisa Petrucci, Winston Smith, and others — were created for (or later became) feature art for Dionysus LPs and seven-inches. He also collects records. Lots of them!
Lee plays bass with former Gram Rabbit leader Jesika von Rabbit. As a DJ, Lee’s “Over Under Sideways Down” show can be heard on LuxuriaMusic.com, Wednesdays, 5-7 Pacific. Lee is half of the Desert Soul Club Palm Springs DJ team and also has a bi-monthly DJ residency at Clifton’s Pacific Seas, downtown Los Angeles.
Paul Koudounaris, aka Dr. Paul K., Contributor
Dr. Paul K., is an internationally renown author and photographer. He has a PhD in Art History and his publications in the field of charnel house and ossuary research have made him a well-known figure in the field of macabre art and art history. He is the author of Empire of Death, Heavenly Bodies and Memento. More about Paul.
Lauren Over, Writer, Contributor
Lauren Over is an artist/photographer/writer from a medium-sized town in Pennsylvania. Her earliest influences: book illustration, album covers, national geographic magazines and classic cars. She’s interested in the surreal, symbolism, collage and the use of text. When she’s not wandering the streets of L.A. with her camera, she does illustration and participates in shows. Lauren graduated from Tyler School of Art with a BFA in Drawing and Painting, and her MFA at California State University, L.A.
Melinda Sanchez, Contributor
It was in 2007, a trip to New York, that Melinda Sanchez knew she wanted to devote herself to art, specifically the culture of street art. Melinda felt it was important that she had a background in the business of art in order to grow as an artist herself. Working as a Gallery Assistant at Upper Playground in Downtown Los Angeles, she had the opportunity to learn from gallery staff, photographers, and prestigious street artists. As her knowledge of galleries and artists grew, her own talents as a photographer developed.
Melinda is driven by the idea that ease of access to social media and technology is a positive force in the democratization of street art. Melinda describes a common theme in her own work as finding “beauty in the breakdown.” She understands the universal hardship every individual faces, and feels that art is an integral mechanism in the process of healing.
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Stephanie Wiegert, Contributor – Berlin, Germany
Stephanie moved to Berlin in 2008 for her B.A. in dramatics and English language and literature at the Free University of Berlin. Being a creative soul ever since she wanted to experience Berlin’s unique cultural scene first hand and is still exploring it up until today. So no wonder she always knows what’s happening in the city, whether it is an interesting exhibition coming, a new restaurant opening or a cool party happening.
At the prestigious Renaissance-Theater, she’s responsible for press and public relations, and she is also a tour guide at the biggest opera house in Berlin, the German Opera. What she enjoys most while doing this is getting to know all sorts of different people that share her passion for the arts.
Stephanie is an absolute music enthusiast, with favorites ranging from everything from Punkrock and Electronic Music. She is trying to see her favorite bands live as often as possible. Apart from that, she enjoys taking photos, is interested in all different sorts of street art and loves animals. Right, when she first visited Los Angeles in 2015, the city, its people and the vibrant art scene charmed her and she returns regularly ever since.
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Dale Youngman, Contributor
Dale Youngman is an art curator, fine art dealer, marketing consultant and writer working to facilitate the flow of art in Los Angeles. A former DTLA gallery owner, she currently curates pop-up exhibits at multiple venues and does marketing and PR for artists and galleries. Dale is a recipient of a “Certificate of Recognition“ from the City of LA for over a decade of Arts Advocacy. She has been writing about art and artists since 2006 and has no plans on stopping.
Lara Dildy, Contributor
Lara Dildy is a photographer and graphic designer whose passion for art, especially street art, has led her to work with organizations like the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk and LA Art Show. Her ongoing quest to capture the ever-changing urban aesthetic is what fuels many of her creative efforts including documenting street art and graffiti. Dildy describes herself as a “passionate, almost obsessive, collector of details.
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