What to do in Mexico City: Artist Inspiration

This article was originally published on Huckberry, written by Liv Combe here

This article was written based off an El Camino experience. To have a similar experience, book one of our Mexico City trips here, or let us make you a customized itinerary here

The Honest Hustle

We ask 10 photographers, designers, writers, and all-around hustlers what keeps their creative fires burning

August 26, 2016Words by Liv CombePhotos By Chad Cress

Humble beginnings make for great stories. We at Huckberry know this all too well, so there’s an instant connection we feel with other brands that have that same drive to succeed – thrive, even – when the odds might seem stacked against them. Richer Poorer is unequivocally one of those brands, and we couldn’t relate more to their belief in the Honest Hustle – that to build a brand from the ground up, you need “an unwavering spirit, some serious scrappiness, honesty with ourselves, and a lot (A LOT) of hustle,” describes Richer Poorer co-founder and CEO Iva Pawling.

To celebrate this spirit, we traveled to Mexico City with Richer Poorer and El Camino Travel to spend a week meeting Mexican designers, creatives, and entrepreneurs and learning the ins and outs of this bustling city. We weren’t the only ones invited along, of course. Just as we learned what made Mexican creatives tick, we learned from and were inspired by our fellow travelers – some photographers, some writers, some creative directors, and all Honest Hustlers, every last one of them. So when we got back from our week of street tacos, mezcal, and all-around inspiration, we reached out to our new friends to ask them more about what keeps their creative fires burning. [H]

Scott Chenoweth
Co-Founder and Creative Director of What Youth

What does the Honest Hustle mean to you?
It’s not taking no for an answer. It’s being true to yourself and blazing your own trail. It’s hitting the road with no reservations and figuring things out when you get there. It’s never stopping. It's being okay with looking back.

Describe a time when the odds were stacked against you, but you went for something anyway.
My partners at What Youth and I had our dream jobs working at Surfing Magazine – corporate credit card, travel paid for, a life on the road documenting the world's best and getting paid for it. We had it made and yet we still decided we needed to make our own mark. We quit, we were poor, we walked out with nothing – and put our vision to the test.

How does travel inspire your work?
Inspiration exists in experience. Experience doesn’t happen for me sitting at a desk staring at a screen or a blank piece of paper. The beauty of travel is that it’s an overwhelming amount of inspiration, and the hard part is bottling that up to take back to your studio and put into your work. I’ve learned over the years that it’s important to take physical notes along the way. It’s always good to plant visual reminders that trigger the feeling and emotion of a location. Then come home, sit behind your favorite work space, and paste it all over the walls. It’s amazing what that will trigger.

Adrienne Pitts
Photographer and Creative Director

What does the Honest Hustle mean to you?
It means going out there and knocking on doors and talking to people. Above all, it means maintaining the passion you have for your work. It’s the passion that drives you.

Describe a time when the odds were stacked against you, but you went for something anyway.
Moving to London 10 years ago. I’d built up my career back home in New Zealand to a senior level, only to arrive in London and be told I’d have to start at the bottom again. That was pretty humbling. But I put my head down and worked hard and was able to prove myself pretty quickly. If you treat other people with respect, show up, and work hard, then it shows who you are and what you are willing to do to achieve your goals.

What’s the most tangible memory you have from Mexico City?
The color. The color in Mexico almost has a taste to it.

What's something you took home from Mexico City?
The renewed realization that we’re all in this together. Wherever you go in the world, there are creative people working hard, people with amazing ideas and visions that they just want to put out into the world. Being a freelancer means working in isolation a lot of the time, so connecting with creative counterparts in a different country was hugely inspiring.

Bobby Kim
Co-founder and COO of The Hundreds

How do you manifest the Honest Hustle in your work? In your personal life?


I think about what results matter most. What’s important is that my family is proud of what I do. And they are happy if I am doing something that makes me happy. I begin there and make sure everything I do is something that my family can stand behind.

Describe a time when the odds were stacked against you, but you went for something anyway.
Depending on how you frame it, I have the odds stacked against me every day. I work in fashion, which is a tough business. I am a minority. My partner Ben and I don’t have outside investors in our company; we are self-funded. We had no experience and no connections when we entered this industry. But we’re here 13 years later, and all those “difficulties” were lessons that we needed to learn to get to where we are today.

How does travel inspire your work?
Travel takes you out of your comfort zone, and that’s where you find the most creativity. If you’re stuck in the same routine every day, you’re not giving your brain the opportunity to think differently. The best art comes of struggle, because you’re forced to think in new, original ways. Something as simple as driving on the opposite side of the road will make you view streets differently.

Chad Cress
Creative Director of Richer Poorer

What does the Honest Hustle mean to you?
It means doing what you love every single day and doing it to the best of your ability — and then some.

How do you manifest the Honest Hustle in your work? In your personal life?
It means creating beauty in the world through literal work but also through ethics and how you treat others. In my personal life, it means doing whatever I can to look after my family and create a space for my son to be inspired and grow.

Describe a time when the odds were stacked against you, but you went for something anyway.
Becoming a parent.

What’s the most tangible memory you have from Mexico City?
The visual dichotomy of clean and bright color against deep culture, history, and grit of the massive city and its people.

Katalina Mayorga
Founder of El Camino Travel

How does travel inspire your work?
Travel is my work and I feel super fortunate about that. I am constantly inspired by the vibrancy of Latin America, from the energy on the street corners to the beats of the salsa dance floors, to the bold colors of the markets. I pull from all of that and let it seep into the fabric of my company's culture.

What’s the most tangible memory you have from Mexico City?
Touring the Barragán houses was an inspiring day for me. It was invigorating to understand and see the amount of detail he put into every aspect of the design, layout, and structure of his buildings. He thought about how the light would filter through certain windows at different times of day and how that would impact the ambiance of the room. He was a true genius and it reminded me that details can make all the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.

What's something you took home from Mexico City?
I picked up a kilo of the most delicious molé from Doña Olivera, who you can find in Mercado San Juan. It's a secret recipe that has been passed down for four generations.

Allie Greenberg
Marketing Director at Richer Poorer

How do you manifest the Honest Hustle in your work? In your personal life?


Working 80-hour weeks sometimes, going out on a limb and asking personal favors, that kind of thing. I genuinely believe in Richer Poorer and want us to have as much success as possible. I love our product and I love the people behind our brand and it reminds me to always keep grinding.

Describe a time when the odds were stacked against you, but you went for something anyway.
Moving to LA with no real work experience and one month’s rent from my dad. I just kind of faked it until I made it, especially to get my first job in PR. Almost ten years later, it feels incredible to have a great job, wonderful friends, and a nice home.

What's something you took home from Mexico City? 
A newfound love of mezcal.

Eric Trine
Designer and Founder, Eric Trine Studio

How do you manifest the Honest Hustle in your work?
Whether working hard or playing hard, it has to be laced with a thread of joy. Joy has to tie it all together.

Describe a time when the odds were stacked against you, but you went for something anyway.
Sometimes I think just running a profitable business is against the odds, so that's good enough for me.

How does travel inspire your work?
Not knowing about things or a place is very important to my creative process. It's easy to find out information on just about anything because I have a smart phone in my pocket at all times. Travel is a way of putting myself in situations where I can enjoy my naiveté and ignorance. That's a good thing.

What's something you took home from Mexico City?
I connected with some other architects and furniture designers in Mexico City, and I loved how they talked about their work as needing to be authentically Mexican, but also needing to transcend the caricature of Mexican design.

Brecht Vanthof
Videographer

What does the Honest Hustle mean to you?
It's not only about late nights at the studio or on set; it’s about constantly absorbing the world around you through your point of view, which will inherently affect what you create.

How do you manifest the Honest Hustle in your life?
Whether I am traveling, opening up to new experiences, or simply walking the Venice Boardwalk, I am always trying to be tuned in to my surroundings. I never know what might strike inspiration within me.

What did you take home from Mexico City?
Mexico City inspired me to create a video I couldn't envision until I experienced the city. I hope the colors, the energy, and the grit of Mexico City come through in the final edit.

Iva Pawling
Co-Founder and CEO of Richer Poorer

What does the Honest Hustle mean to you?


The Honest Hustle has become a way of life to me. It’s a commitment to being the best, most honest version of yourself in what it is you chose to do with your life. Regardless of whether you're running your own business, in your dream job, or your first job – it’s a belief that working as hard and smart as you can will lead you to the next best step. Be proud of what you do and how you do it.

How do you manifest the Honest Hustle in your work?
I have a persistence that can annoy the most patient of people. I think that is my most hustle-worthy trait. If I am hell-bent on doing something, there is little that can get in the way to stop me.

Describe a time when the odds were stacked against you, but you went for something anyway.
This would be the first few years of Richer Poorer. Starting a brand is really, really tough. Most people in our lives told us we were crazy, and we got a ton of “No’s” from people. Keeping our heads up and staying focused and determined felt nearly impossible many, many days. But we kept at it, stayed consistent with what we believed in, and eventually things got easier.

How does travel inspire your work?
Stepping outside the bounds of our office is such an eye-opener for our entire team. Whether I'm learning from different cultures we're visiting or our creative team is taking inspirational trips to inform the design process for the next season, we all come back enriched in such massive ways.

Arielle Vey
Photographer

How do you manifest the Honest Hustle in your life?
Keeping a sharp focus on why I started and what got me to this point is a priority. Making it a point to embrace what I have left to learn and to maintain a steadfast attitude. Choosing happiness and keeping it real are so important.

Describe a time when the odds were stacked against you, but you went for something anyway.
Choosing to go freelance and start a business in a saturated industry. The odds of successfully being your own boss are very low, but I just knew deep down that I could make it work. It took years and years of emotional and financial struggle, learning to buck up, and pulling late nights on the regular, but it was all worth it.

What's something you took home from Mexico City?
I returned home with a passionate travel bug. This was my first real international travel experience, and it was everything I thought it would be and more. I realized there’s so much out there beyond my comprehension. I can't stop thinking about where to go next.