Chris Dante Raygoza is a 25 year-old photographer, hair designer, clothing designer, painter, musician/ mc, dancer, and graff writer. Chris is a creative professional who believes that art saved his life.
He grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in San Francisco where it wasn't cool to be a light skinned Mexican gay male. “Where I’m from, people don't even make it out of the hood.” He had to hide who he was, and grow up fast. He says if it wasn’t for art, he would have been a gang banger; in jail; or worse. If art saves lives, it saved Chris.
“Since I was a kid I have always been different and into difference,” he says, “It all started with street art—graffiti. My older brother was major in the graff scene and I idolized my brother. I never had my dad so I looked up to my brother as if he was my father and he taught me to express myself always in all ways no matter what—to be me and fear no man but god himself.”
At 9 years-old Chris would trace his brother’s graffiti art and eventually developed into a graff artist with his own style. Then he found other ways to express himself—going to cosmetology and fashion school. Then he picked up a camera. He calls photography his new-found glory.
“Photography is definitely something I fell into and I am absolutely in love with it. It was actually very hard for me to try to figure out exactly what I wanted to do because I wanted to do it all. And I finally found a way that I could show the world every thing I do and that was starting my gallery, gallerySEVEN27. I not only showcase my own artistry but I give the opportunity to any local artist with a solid message to share. Any artist with uniqueness, originality, and no fear.” Chris says his gallery is everything he has ever wanted and dreamed of, and its finally coming true.
“Society is messed up and it’s our job to change it. And with my art, I will—raw and uncut, un-edited and real. I am art and I see art in everything and in everyday. You just gotta look hard to find it. That’s the best part. Open your eyes people!”
Chris started as a kid with a spray can and now he is a business owner, entrepreneur, and true creative professional. “Honestly at one point thought I'd get no where with it, and I did lose hope. I was wrong and I want to show all artists that if you believe in yourself that’s all you need. You might feel alone but you're not. Dream big, be big.”
Yep, it’s ok to be different, and be into difference. Just ask Chris.