SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 230: “It’s All About Us”

Rafael quotes Anne Rice, “While you are here nothing matters except to love and to learn.”

“Life has its ups and downs…” Rafael references as part of his outlook on life, “… I’m curious, it gets me into trouble sometimes, but it’s been a lot of fun.

As long as we are doing something we love in our life…as a job or hobbies or whatever, it not only gives us happiness, but it also tends to bring awesome people into our life that have something wonderful to teach us. And, so long as we are with great people, family and friends that inspire and support us while working on our passion…Happiness is never behind.

There is this little boutique that I have been curious to visit for some time, it bears no upscale address, is not stocked with designer labels, or stands large in square footage or presence.

In contrast, it is tucked away… on a lightly trafficked side street… in a not so fashionable Canoga Park district.

And although its inventory is modest, it moves merchandise more valuable than the sum whole of any highly priced outfit.

They call it “All About U”, owned by stylist/artist Ernesto and home to co-shop keep, the above-introduced friend of the day…Rafael.

Rafael talks of love and of respecting others, “We must learn acceptance in general… To everyone in our surroundings and of ourselves, without that, there is no way we can love anyone at all.”

That acceptance is core to the secret of All About U, the store emanates this welcoming voice as a beacon for community connection; a voice that Rafael carries, and a voice that Ernesto also publishes. Both are artists and advocates for the arts and a united culture.

“Are you coming to the art walk?” Ernesto asks.

It seems that every year all the local business come together in producing an Art Walk between the months of May and September to not only display their goods, but more importantly, to bring the community together.

And it is this feeling of community awareness that has drawn me into All About U this day. Its presence is as palpable as a sip of water, and this care for the world reveals itself in the attitude that fills the store.

Rafael talks of energy and of how good attracts good, “Energies fluctuate depending on the mood of a person, and I’ve noticed that similar energies attract similar energies…

… And what people do is really a reflection of who they are, a reflection of themselves.”

Rafael describes himself, “I’m a living breathing contradiction.

My likes and dislikes tend to contradict.”

As Rafael says, “I’m curious, it gets me into trouble sometimes, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

And that backed by Anne Rice’s advice on loving and to learning could possibly be a key to the fountain of unity.

Curiosity… a great genesis to listening; Love… a powerful facilitator to compassion; and Learning… the greatest catalyst to understanding.

Rafael sums it up, “In life we are all drawn to people who are similar.”

A life view that is highlighted in two of his art pieces, mannequins covered with collage and written word.

They each carry a message:

“To be or not to be… just be”


“What makes you different… makes you beautiful.”

I agree with Rafael’s mannequins. Seems they are asking us to be ourselves, to love who we are, and linking that to Rafael’s suggested perspective on the attractive energy emitted by every individual, may I suggest a shift in store title…

“It’s All About Us.”

And Rafael; keep living, stay breathing and by all means… don’t stop contradicting. That’s what makes you who you are… and that’s a good thing, my friend.