Newcomers to Highland Park often remark that the neighborhood seems like a young Silverlake or "the next Echo Park."
In a city of neighborhoods, like Los Angeles, residents often hold insular views about neighboring zip-codes--partly because it's so easy to zip past them on the freeway.
So, for it's common for those who have never been to Highland Park to view it as yet another Echo Park/Silverlake/Melrose.
Daniel Ruiz, a local muralist/theater actor/set designer/construction worker, is among the voices attempting to combat those perceptions.
"I like to talk to the locals to get their input and a lot of people are saying that we're the spillover. We're like Silver Lake, we're like Echo Park, Melrose and what not," Ruiz said in an interview posted on KCET Departures. Why it's very important to have the distinction of this park [on York] is to show we're not Silver Lake, we're not so-and-so; we are Highland Park. And Highland Park has its own artists, and its own vibe, and its own feeling, and its own energy."
In a long-ranging interview conducted through Occidental College's Boulevard Voices series, Ruiz talks about art, gentrification and "outsider influence" in Highland Park.