Chalk Art from the Heart for the Heart

Meet the homie  and CDH Chalk Dad, Jose Frias II.

I came across his work on IG and knew I wanted to give him some shine.  He combines his street art with a heart for families who live through the challenges of congenital illnesses.

Check out our interview below and show some love by following his page.

1. Tell me about your family.

My family consist of my wife Liz, our two young boys Zechariah(2yo) and Luis(7yo) and our angel Mateo.

2. Where were you raised and how did that impact your worldview?

I was raised in the Bay, as well as San Diego CA. This was during the 80’s/early 90’s. The bay was a melting pot. There were filipinos, hispanics, Samoans, Chinese, Vietnamese, African Americans etc… at the same time I would visit my father, who lived in San Diego, for holidays. San Diego at that time was completely different then the Bay. San Diego was predominantly Hispanic and African American, and each group stayed separate. San Diego at this time was also the meth capital. It was interesting growing up this way. The Bay seemed to be a fairy land where families had no troubles. San Diego seemed to be a struggle. I would go through neighborhoods overran by crack houses. I remember a police officer getting beat in our alley behind our house, addicts passed out in the middle of the day on sidewalks, pimps beating their women nightly. It was a harsh reality for a child. Although life is beautiful there is also a very dark side to balance that beauty.

Life is what you make it. You are not a product of your environment. I could have easily gone down the path so many of my homies did but I chose not to. I believe some people just don’t know how to access or use the tools given by society for self improvement.

3. How did you become an artist?

I remember riding through hoods in San Diego and seeing hit ups on the walls and thinking “I want to do that but better!!” I started bombing abandoned buildings in my hood. My father lived on Menlo ave in East side San Diego at the time, so there were plenty of canvases to choose from.

 

4. How did becoming a Dad change your life.

Becoming a dad was/is the highlight of my life. All the partying had to stop. It was good because I wasn’t living the healthiest lifestyle. This was the reason I had been waiting for to shape up. In order for your children to be good hardworking, loving people they have to be shown. And if you don’t live it, you can’t practice it.

5. How did the chalk art start?

Started the Chalk Art a few months after we lost Mateo. I was angry and my wife was broken. We didn’t really communicate our feelings. She would withdraw into our room and I would escape to outside and just sit. Then one day it just hit me. We lived on a busy street in San Jose at the time. I went to the 99cent store down the street and bought some chalk.

I returned like a mad hatter, I remember just going at it on our driveway. My hands began to bleed but I didn’t feel any pain, just anger. I began to cry thinking of all the pain my son, Mateo, had gone through. I remember thinking of all the activities I would not be allowed to do with Mateo. When i finished that first mural I remember standing and feeling a heavy weight being lifted. It was as if this was my therapy. I then did a mural every weekend. Kids began to stop by, cars would stop in the middle of the road. People would take pictures. It was perfect My therapy was spreading a message to many people. I also began to enter chalk festivals. My murals/message would travel the world!!! it was/is a great feeling knowing our sons legacy lives on.

6. How did the skateboard project start? What’s the goal? How many do we have to sell?

CDHdecks was born from trying to find a new way to represent our son as well as CDH. There are other organizations who have shirts wrist bands etc… but none of these items seemed to be geared toward a younger audience. The kids are our future so I thought what better way to get them interested in CDH then playing into their likes. Maybe one of these kids will be so intrigued that they will become a physician with a passion to figure a better way to treat children with CDH. My goal is that everyone will be educated in the causes as well as the effects of CDH. We don’t have a monetary goal. We just want to educate and raise awareness. All funds are recycled back into the program to create more decks and provide meals for Mateo’s Meals.

7) How can people get involved?

There are organizations who have hospital packs which include basic toiletries, parking passes for the hospitals etc.. We ask that people research CDH organizations in their areas to see how they can personally help. There is Nayeli Faith Foundation, Breath Of Hope, Cherubs, and Project Sweet Pea to name a few. Each of these organizations helped us through our journey. For us we ask people to spread our cause. We ask people to share our story so our sons memory will live on.

3 Simple Ways To Support Your Kids’ Big Ideas For A More Fair World

Kids are often confused by the injustice they see in the world, and many have an impulse to do something about it. As responsible parents and engaged citizens, it’s our responsibility to support these big ideas by seizing, believing in and evangelizing our child’s big idea for a more just society.

This is something my wife Angie Covarrubias Aguilar and I learned while helping our 6 year old-daughter, Maya, start The Cozy Collection. The Cozy Collection is a project that gathers donated socks and blankets for the homeless in the I Grew Up In The San Gabriel Valley, CA.

So, what counts as a “BIG” idea? A BIG idea is one that tackles a global challenge at the local level. Focusing on BIG ideas helps your kid understand the connections between the larger world and her community.

Issues like poverty, access to water, clean energy, civil rights, access to jobs and war all have both local and global faces.

1. Seize

Listen for what excites and/or concerns your kid and then grab hold. Listening is passive but SEIZING AN IDEA requires a layer of attentiveness that prompts the listener to ask questions.

The Cozy Collection was started after Maya noticed a homeless person at a freeway exit. She wanted to help by giving him the $$ she had set aside for my birthday gift. Angie Covarrubias Aguilar seized the moment and asked Maya what she might do that would have more of an impact than a one time gift. Maya decided she wanted to help the homeless stay warm during Winter and The Cozy Collection was founded.

Our kids will surprise us with their kindness and concern for others. Let’s seize that.

2. Believe
True belief is act of both mind and body, faith and works. In order to give your kids’ big ideas some legs, you’ll have to provide the foundational support. C’mon, they’re just kids, after all.

You need to believe your work will have an impact. And you need to back that up with some action. So, your kid wants to start a project to clean up the pollution at his school. Now, it’s on you to put something together to keep the ball rolling. Don’t let it die with you, Dad. Who will you email?
What goal can you set? What’s the deadline?

Our first order of business was to decide on a name and Maya jumped right in with The Cozy Collection. We found an organization that we could support with the donations, The Mercy House in Ontario and set a date for delivery.

We reached out to family, friends and local businesses. The Cozy Collection gathered over 1k pairs of socks in the first year, 3k pairs in the 2nd year and we’re hoping for 5k pairs this year.

Don’t let doubt ruin this opportunity to have a life long service project with your family.

3. Evangelize

Tell people what your family is up to. They want to help. Let them surprise you. Start an FB page, attend conferences like United We Parent, tell the local AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization), tell your kids’ principals and teachers, neighbors and businesses.

Open your self up to the joy that a big idea can bring to your family.

In early September, Maya will receive the Claremont Community Hero Award at the LA County Fair.

Joy, joy, joy.

Join along.

Carlos
Big Brown Dad

Why Organic Products Matter When it Comes to Your Baby

New parents want the best for their babies, which is why they often turn to baby lotions, creams and other products that promise it. But, many times, the companies that make these skin care items don’t actually intend to source the best. Sometimes, they don’t even know what it is.

Baby product ingredients on a bottle or jar shouldn’t be synthetic or harmful and still be referred to as “best for a baby.” Yet, that’s what’s happening. Organic and natural baby care products, on the other hand, really do have baby (and baby’s environment) in mind.

What’s In Non-Organic Baby Skin Care?

Non-organic baby skin care often contains artificially fragranced and colored petroleum gel, mineral oil, mineral gel and even detergent. It frequently has antibiotics and antiseptics in it, and sometimes it incorporates disinfectants like pure-chemical boric acid. All of these typically do one thing: entice a parent to combat fears of dirt, germs, rashes and other not-always-harmful things with a product that’s effective on the surface but actually too harsh for a little one’s body.

It Comes Down to Chemistry

If you’ve spent any time in a chemistry lab, you know that prolonged contact with the chemicals we’ve mentioned, even with an adult’s skin, is damaging. On a baby’s skin, which is new and not able to protect itself as well as a grown person’s, these ingredients can be even more toxic. The skin is our largest organ. It breathes and soaks up what we put on it like a sponge. If we load it with chemicals, it becomes clogged and poisoned, causing a myriad of health conditions.

Organic Skin Care Ingredients

With organic skin care for your baby, you have a safe and gentle product made with natural and safe ingredients, such as hydrating pure water, soothing plant oils, healing botanical essences and calming nut milks. Nothing is made with dangerous chemicals because it can’t be if it’s going to be called organic, and because it shouldn’t be.

Baby Mantra only makes organic baby skin care. We formulate all of our products with the intention of giving you something that’s gentle, safe, effective and enjoyable to use. That’s all you need and that’s all your baby needs.

Happy Birthday To Us All: In Play LA

This place is a winner, there are hundreds like them in LA, but none have the honest ownership, friendly staff, and creative venue that IN PLAY LA puts together.  Call them, talk to the owners, tell them what you want and work out the price as you go, very flexible and affordable.  This is the place stop looking.

Look this is simple, a lot of these in door play rooms are just that, rooms with stuff to play with and a couple paid adults to make sure little Sarah doesn’t choke down too much pizza or ask for another pre paid juice box.  BUT THIS PLACE IS DIFFERENT!

In PLAY LA takes care of your whole experience.  I’m a father of two boys (3) and (4).  We have been patrons of these indoor play arenas for the last 2.5 years: birthdays, baptismals, or random Friday afternoon fun.  So let me run down the essentials and then tell you why driving to the Valley for your toddlers next birthday party is worth it.

Is it safe?

Absolutely:  Every corner padded and every child proof mishap accounted for.

Is it clean?

Check: 7 generation or whatever non scented non toxic pro hippy cleaner they use to spray it all down- works.  The balls in the ball pit where fresh and brand new, the toys were picked up and prepared for 3 year old destruction, the bath room (one large restroom very family friendly) was sparkling  and also had a changing table, a stool and age appropriate sinks/towels/and mirrors so every one there felt at ease while using the lavatory.

Is it fun?

Nailed it!:  I have been to this place as a guest and I liked it so much I brought my son back for his third birthday.  Both parties displayed the space’s capacity to  hold you and all your guests.  The front room was designed to host the cake cutting and offered seating for that one aunt who shows up late and doesn’t want to see any children.  A quaint playroom with a large chalkboard for your smaller guests to play in is just past the main entrance and then it opens up into a pretty awesome play area with a jumper a playscape complete with slide that lands you in a ball pit.  Pretty legit.  From there kids can ride toy cars and play indoor basketball and run off all that energy.  For hiding between store fronts in the middle of Lankershim this place is a true diamond in the rough.  This place was so great I thought about what it would take to open up my own similar business, they made it seem so easy.

ADULT SWIM!

Here’s the cool part and what sets them apart from other indoor play rooms: Parents and adults have their own space to chill! That’s right I said it, you can literally let your son/daughter have a great afternoon while you hang out in the back yard set up with shade and lounge chairs and venue for serving food. You are allowed and I encourage it, to bring your own food for your guests to enjoy…and…now this next part I’m going to say in my dad whisper voice, so the kids can’t hear…(you can bring your own adult beverages and offer your 21+ crowd an afternoon drank).  Talk about covering all your bases.  Everyone is happy and no clean up, c’mon…

They can decorate the venue with any theme and custom fit your needs with any flexible package, just ask, they will work with you.  Stop looking, this is it.  You’re welcome!

Lovely Beards: Why Beeswax Is An Essential Beard Care Product

When you are looking for the right beard care products for your everyday needs and budget, Lovely Beards has you covered. Their organic beard oil and beard balm include top-notch ingredients such as beeswax. Beeswax can be the perfect supplement to ensure your hair grows evenly.

Beeswax Plays a Vital Role in the Health of Your Beard

When you are looking for organic beard balm, check out Lovely Beards balms that include beeswax. Beeswax in a balm can help your beard with hold and styling. The typical beard balm that includes beeswax will lock in moisture when combined with other natural ingredients.

Using a beard balm is the perfect supplement to your beard grooming routine. You do not need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to have a healthy beard. Products that you already have, including a trimmer and comb, can stimulate hair growth and even straighten your hair.

How to Find Products for Your Needs and Budget
Lovely Beards’ line of organic beard oils is perfect for any type of facial hair and skin type. The beard oils include ingredients such as Hempseed Oil, Grapeseed Oil, and Jojoba Oil. You can easily use these products on a damp or dry face.

When you are growing your beard, make sure to be patient. Typically, facial hair needs at least five weeks to grow out. You will also want to make sure you know your facial type. This will help you pair your face with the right beard for growth. Washing your hair regularly will help your hair grow quicker.

When you need to have affordable and reliable beard care products, check out Lovely Beards’ line of balms and oils. They have excellent ingredients that can protect your facial hair from everyday wear and tear.

Check out https://lovelybeards.com/

Finding Neverland @ The Pantages in Hollywood, CA. 

As most Dads will confess, any activity involving low-light conditions requires help. 


Finding Neverland was playing at the Pantages. 

Garage parking immediately adjacent to theatre is $15.  Street lots approx 200 meters from theatre $10. 

We were excited. 




In a nutshell, the play is a metaphor for man’s existential angst directed at a God for being absent in the face evil.

Man doesn’t get answers. He gets a story about  fairies and flying and stunted adolescence. 

Shit was bomb tho. 

Hip Hop Pops: Elias

11722070_10205439693406800_6994212550139178714_o

Elias wins Big Brown Dad’s “Cooler Than Coolio’s Polar Bear’s Toe Nails Award” with this one.

Hip Hop Pops is a series of interviews with Dads who’ve staked out careers in hip hop while raising their seed(s).

As you know, hip hop is heralded for its excesses.  Rappers are expected to flout convention, law, even common sense.  Parenting, though, involves restraint, restriction and reflection; managing that tension isn’t easy but some hip hop pops have found a way.  Today, BBD sits down with Elias Wallace, the LA based vocalist of the Copenhagen based hip hop group,  DaFuniks.

I met Elias many moons ago at The Foundation Funkollective open mic in the 909. We share a mutual interest in theology, social justice and wackness-aversion.

1378446_10201303656568464_974076515_n

 Tell us about your family.

My wife is named Monica. We have 3 children. One girl and two boys. My daughter is 11 and getting tall and long like her mother. She’s already 5’4″ and looking like a runway model. Scared son. I’ll avoid the sexist cliches about having a baseball bat or gun, but I will say I’m trying to raise a confident, strong woman who will make her own choices and choose the RIGHT kind of boy when she gets to that point. My 2 boys are 9 and 5. They are handsome, bright, and above average in everything. I know, all parents think this but it’s crazy, they excel in sports, music, and art and they are all social. All of my children are bilingual, speaking reading and writing Spanish and English. They are half Mexican and half American Caucasian hybrid–meaning they are Irish, Scottish, Dutch, Syrian, and Native American.  They also study Mandarin Chinese on Saturdays so they can add a non European language to their lexicon. I want them to have that Nas state of mind and think the world is theirs–but with the language skills to make it happen.

What does the ideal Sunday morning look like for the fam bam?

An ideal Sunday morning for my family consists of waking up, me making breakfast for everyone while my wife sleeps in. I’ll make sure everyone has eaten and gotten dressed for church. Then my wife will come out looking radiant and make sure the kids have put lotion on. “Si poniste crema?” shouts go out in 3 directions. The rest of the day is spent together and it doesn’t really matter what is being done. Being together and spending time with one another is a big part of our family’s happiness.     

Family Amusement Park Trip: Disneyland or Six Flags Magic Mountain?

Right now my kids are pretty small so Disneyland, as much as I personally abhor it, would be a better choice than Magic Mountain. Nothing worse than taking kids to a park where you have to drop down a couple days wages just to get in, and then have to tell your kids, you can’t ride that one and then do the parent relay games—you stay with this kid, I’ll stay with them, tag team at the ride exit in half an hour.

What would your kid’s say is the best dish you make?  How did you learn how to make it?

My kids would probably say my Carne Asada is great. It’s not healthy so I don’t make it too often but there are enough UFC fights and boxing matches on for me to have it every couple of weeks. My first time having carne asada was when I was 16. My future mother in law made it for me and I immediately fell in love. I figured if there was a God in heaven, there would be a taco man at the heavenly banquets. I plan to be standing with a Cerveza in my hand right by the taco man. Later I learned to love adobada, pastor, and many others but I prefer to grill up some Asada.

Did you ever consult a parenting book or website during the child rearing years? Or, was it more go with the flow and tradition?

I never consulted a parenting book or website but I have a BA in Education so I have read a lot of child psychology already. I do not rear my children in the same way that I was raised. My parents were great but my father was from the South and there is a lot of ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ thinking there. I was whooped a lot. I don’t spank my own children and prefer positive reinforcement and cognitive coaching. I want my children to be sophisticated thinkers not resentful authoritarians. That isn’t to suggest that all people who were disciplined in this way turned out like that, I just think that you are trying to discipline and correct behavior not coerce behavior via threat of violence.

Favorite Hip Hop group?

Favorite hip hop group—wow. I don’t have one Favorite hip hop group honestly. Hip hop has a timeline and I’m on it. ATCQ was my favorite for a long time so I guess they could be there. Today I have so many different groups that I love. I really dig what Killer Mike and EL P do with Run the Jewels. I really like the Roots. In terms of most influential I see groups like Freestyle Fellowship and Organized Konfusion as really important. It really depends on my mood.

Favorite Hip Hop experience in France?

I have had a ton of amazing experiences on stage in France. I’ve toured there the last 3 years and met some amazing people, artists and fans. I’ll share a small show of about 300 at a place called Run ar Puns in Bretagne, France. It was a small ancient venue surrounded by beautiful countryside. The venue wasn’t much to look at and looked a bit worn out. In France, sometimes that is a great sign—it means people come there.  We played that night around 11 or so the crowd seemed pretty ‘iffy’ based on the really good band that went before us. They didn’t really seem ‘into it’. But when we got up to rock the whole place jumped off hardcore from intro to the constant screams for more songs. We played our whole set. They cheered for 5 minutes for extra. We played 15 minutes extra. They cheered for 10 minutes fore more. We came out and played even more. We just had to stop after that so that we wouldn’t make the promoter or venue operator mad at us but the crowd was off the chain.

10372283_10204339465581792_4213243796444770198_n

703581_4345296305629_2108063479_o

What’s the family up to this Summer?

We’re taking a tour van and driving to a bunch of national parks and camping. Pray for me…and them.

 

If you’re taking a road trip this Summer,  play music from Elias’ newest project, Otis Stacks.  Big Brown Dad is digging the West Coast vibe on this one.

BBD

Hip Hop Pops: Judah 1

11130043_10153251359272173_167692912_n

As the name implies, Hip Hop Pops is a series of interviews with Dads who’ve carved out careers in hip hop while raising a family.

That shit aint easy but some of us be bout it bout it. Peep my Hip Hop Pops interviews with Propaganda and Red Cloud, for examples.

Although some might be tempted critique hip hop culture as morally negligent (if not worse), one of the first verses I committed to memory was 2 Pac’s poignant critique of sexual abuse and unintended pregnancy.  25 years later, this cut still hits hella hard:

“Brenda’s got a baby but Brenda’s barely got a brain/

damn shame the girl can’t even spell her name/

‘That’s not our problem, that’s up to Brenda’s family’/

But let me tell you how it affects our whole community”

After listening to this cut again, I forgot how much of an impact it had on me as a youngster.  It’s another example of the conscious hip hop that was taking root in the early 90’s.

Today’s Hip Hop Pops, Judah 1, is an extension of that early hip hop consciousness.

11160305_10153251359557173_1402019551_n

Judah 1 hosts the monthly LionLike MindState in Downtown Pomona, CA and is re-releasing his second book, Child of the Sun and Man of the Moon.

Peep the divine science.

BBD: Tell us about the birth of your daughter.
Her crown was too heavy. We were at 3cm of dilation for 3 days. So, we opted to induce labor. We prayed, we were ready, we entered boldly, I think. Alas, Aariyah crown was too great so we delivered by C-Section. That when the most glorious scream happened. A star scream, truly. Bless God.
11178387_10153251359302173_1566713561_n
BBD: How did you decide on a name? 
Until the day before the ultrasound we were convinced we were having a boy. We just knew it. She wanted to named him David Jr.  I wanted to name him “Amun” or “Djeli” “Jonah” “Judah” I had so many names. Me and her Mom argued. It was not joyous. The night before her Mom said, maybe she’s a girl…and that thought had been resonating in my Spirit. She said “If it’s a girl, let call her Oriyah” and I agreed but the name sounded familiar. Ariyah is a name of a Fela Kuti song. I suggested, “Aariyah,” in Hebrew “Ari” is Lion and “YAH” is God or the air.
BBD: What’s the best piece of advice your Mom/Dad gave you about parenting?
My father really didn’t have much to say. My mom proud I finally had a child and overwhelmed that it’s a girl. Just love her and make the time for her. They are both convinced I’ll be a great Father with good lessons.
11104058_10153251359672173_1117689404_n
BBD: What’s your view on spanking? 
 
We will not spank our daughter because spanking is not necessary.  I’ve never had to hit anyone my entire life, my voice should be enough.
BBD:  What type of music does she like?
 I play classical for her and hip hop instrumentals and freestyle over them. She loves it. FELA! And her Mother plays Little Dragon for her.
11173671_10153251359587173_2023199226_n
BBD: How has your poetry been impacted by Fatherhood?
 I have yet to find words to describe the joy in my heart. I sing to my daughter. She literally takes my words from my lungs. I couldn’t say much more than “Hey You” for the first 2 months. Literally can’t talk. Strange. But we sing. Her eyes cause such a stillness in my spirit. No words. We hum.
 11160156_10153251359282173_668617666_n

 

Play Date: Palm View Park, West Covina

images

Before Maverick and Goose were slapping together uncoordinated high-fives, the San Gabriel Valley had squadrons of Mexican-American kids strafing imaginary flight towers from the grounds of Palm View Park in West Covina.

photo 2

You might be surprised to learn that the plane at Palm View is an actual F-86D Sabre Jet, the backbone of American mainland defense in the 50s.  During the Korean conflict, the F-86D made the MiG 15 its yeoja.

sabre23784

The Palm View Park Plane in service circa 1955

In the early 60’s, enterprising civic organizations from West Covina coordinated the relocation of the plane to Palm View.  They’ll be happy to know, kids from far and wide have been pissing in it, on it and around it for decades.

But sunlight and time are  disinfectants, so I let Joaquin have at it.

The park is good insofar as it has 2 distinct play areas for kids of varying dexterity.

Play Area #1

Play Area #2

photo 5

it’s empty bc Joaquin doesn’t play that baby shit.

While the park provided plenty of options for fun, we were appalled by the amount of trash littering the playground.  I took pictures.

I started to see a story emerge in the trash.  Someone got faded, ate lunch then dessert and then bounced.

As concerned as I was by the litter, I wasn’t bout to pick that shit up.

The Lord knows I wasn’t bout to touch this:

photo 1

But this?  Wait, what is…that…

photo 2

Presidents found dead at Palm View Park

Now that’s some trash I CAN pick up.  I asked Joaquin if we should take the money to the park office or blow it on ice cream and  he asked what time Baskin Robbins opened.

photo 1

 

Big Brown Dad

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: