LOS ANGELES - Antonio Pelayo grew up near the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, and now he's living the dream as an inker.
As a boy, Pelayo would ride his bicycle past the studios and dream of becoming an illustrator. He worked hard and is now one of the last remaining inkers for Disney's Ink and Paint Department.
He has also become a grassroots art advocate and producer of cultural art showcase events, which features local artists of many disciplines and genres.
MORE: Casa 0101 founder opens Mexican restaurant in Boyle Heights
Originally from Glendale, Pelayo spent his formative years between California and El Palmar in Jalisco, Mexico. Torn between two worlds, he found solace in the self-expression of art.
"I remember going to Safeway, actually, and I remember taking a magazine with Superman on the cover, and I went home and I drew the cover...," Pelayo recounted.
Pelayo drew throughout his young life, and landed his big break right after high school at his dream workplace - the Walt Disney Studios. There, he was taught how to ink and airbrush alongside 25 other artists in his department. Today, that department is down to two people: him and one co-worker.
I don't know where I'd be if I didn't pursue art," he shared. "I feel privileged and honored that I'm still a part of this tradition."
Vista L.A. also interviewed other Southern California natives whose big dreams turned into reality.
Film Director Carlos Hurtado
Carlos Hurtado first dreamt of becoming a filmmaker as a student at St. Monica High School. He has gone on to win several awards, including Best Emerging American Filmmaker at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France. Hurtado has also directed powerful short films that are changing children's lives, partnering with nonprofits such as Padres Contra El Cancer and Hollygrove.
Aguila Real Tequila
After many years in the spirits industry, Miguel De Los Rios decided to make his dreams of owning his own tequila brand a reality. The Boyle Heights native moved to Mexico to learn the craft of tequila- making and launched Aguila Real Tequila.
Casa Fina Restaurant & Cantina
A new story begins for Josefina López. The award-winning playwright, screenwriter, activist and founder of Casa 0101 Theater is now embarking on a culinary journey with Casa Fina, Restaurant & Cantina in Boyle Heights.
University of the West
The path to achieving your dreams can has many stops and a college education can be an important one. Vista L.A. visited University of the West, a small affordable university in the Rosemead hills, where diverse cultures meet and dreams are realized.
Camino Real Chevrolet
Mike Hernandez of Camino Real Chevrolet dreamed big when he founded his dealership in Monterey Park over 40 years ago. Now a family business, Camino Real continues to outperform dealerships throughout the country.
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