In this week's episode I asked local artist, Julie Bender, to join me on the podcast. We discuss her experience as LA's first female Fire Fighter, her first impressions of San Pedro and her current endeavors as she beautifies this town one tile at a time.
EPISODE DATE: 10/18/2018
Julie and I sat down with our Siren's coffee in her former art studio, her artwork still hanging on the walls. She and I first talked about her initial impressions of San Pedro when she moved here over thirty years ago with her husband, then what it was like becoming one of LA's first fire women.
Julie on self-doubts during her career as a woman in the LAFD
"I'm thinkin' I'm not worthy for this job, I can't do this job because my fingernails were hurting so bad, and [my brother] goes '"Nope! It happened to me too." Because I was always in doubt." - Julie Bender
We talk about the challenges she faced early on in her career and the challenges she would face as a woman, such as doubting herself when she went through hardships even though her fellow male fire firefighters were going through the same hardships, and not getting the help she needed when she was learning. She also had to deal with false rumors about her spreading through the rumor mill.
Becoming An Artist
She credits the Girl Scouts of America for exposing her to the mosaic art form that she's fallen in love with and has since created multiple public large scale murals in the San Pedro area.
The 25th Street Mural Project
"So that was when I decided, 'okay, 25th street has got to happen' because that's hopefully going to change at least a little bit of the reputation [San Pedro has]. " - Julie Bender
Often tagged with graffiti, Julie took it upon herself to make the large retaining wall on 25th Street a work of art, in hopes of creating a more beautiful and impressionable drive from Palos Verdes to San Pedro. She spoke to the homeowners that line up against the wall and they all gave the "OK".
Julie Bender On San Pedro
Julie believes that San Pedro is wonderful town made up of artistic, hardworking good people. She hopes that more locals will buy art from local artists and spend more money in our local economy.
Siren's Java & Tea