Hustler of Culture: Souris Hong-Porretta

January 16, 2012

Nothing inspires me more than a mother who juggles work, family, and play with undying commitment, true love and passion.

Enter Souris Hong-Porretta. This awesome person is a curator, blogger, mom, and if you read the “about” section of her blog, Hustler of Culture, you will find a head-spinning list of more accomplishments. If that isn’t enough to motivate you, then you can visit the “about” section of her other blog, Tiny Iron Fists, to find that she is an advocate for all things kids, art and culture.

Get ready for some big inspiration!  …


where are you from?
I was born in Saigon, Viet Nam. My family fled to America as war refugees in April 1975, I grew up in Arlington, Virginia, attended University in Boston, have lived in New York City, and currently call Santa Monica home.

what do you do?
I’m employed full-time by a social brand management platform for public personas and work with well-known visual artists. I also write for my two blogs, Hustler of Culture, a compendium of culture, curated consumption, and community and Tiny Iron Fists, a journal about life with our benevolent dictator, Lulu.

Aside from hanging with friends and family, I spend my free time working on my passion project, a coloring book under contract with Penguin, featuring line drawings from over 100 creative masterminds including animators, cartoonists, fine artists, graphics artists, illustrators, musicians, outsider artists, photographers, street artists, and video game artists (U.S., 2013 release).

I’ve been a strategy consultant, VP of interactive media, LA Editor for Gilt City, president of an indie game development studio, operations manager/editor for Tokion Magazine, employed by Slayer (I worked for their lifelong manager, Rick Sales), an Environmental Health and Safety consultant, and a freelance writer.

I like to keep it creative.

what did you want to be when you were younger?
A pediatrician. A scientist. A dancer. I didn’t have the discipline to become a doctor. I did however graduate college with a degree in environmental science and I have been paid to dance in a handful of music videos.

what was happening at the dinner table when you were a kid?
Massive consumption of food, planning the next meal, and probably a lot of arguing disguised as discussions. Like the Emanuel brothers, my four siblings and I were raised around a round dinner table where everything was up for debate. I am still waiting for Charlie Rose to interview our family as one unit. But that will probably never happen because I spent too much of dinnertime goofing off, proclaiming I was Hulk Hogan flexing my puny muscles (WWF was big in the 80s).

what did your parents want for you?
Because my parents lost their country and loved ones to war, all they ever wanted for us was good health and to be happy. They are not the typical Asian immigrant parents, allowing us to host dinner parties and sleepovers and participate in lots of extracurricular activities.

When I went away to college I asked my parents what they wanted me to study and Dad said, “Whatever makes you happy.” It’s nice to have had supportive parents my entire life, even when my parents didn’t always understand what they were supporting, they made it clear whom they were supporting.

what do you want for your child?
I want Lulu to be happy too. And I want to be a good enough parent to be able to give her that.

what would you do for a dream holiday?
I just finished planning my dream holiday for my upcoming 40th birthday. It’s a vacation planned with zero attachments to: a family visit (although they are welcomed), an extended work trip, or lengthy travel time.

This August we’re spending nearly a week at Glen Oaks Big Sur in the woods, with a river, with no TV, but with wifi! I grew up with a forest as a backyard so I’m trying to recapture my youth with my family as time slips into the future.

where do you find inspiration for your work?
The easy answer is my little dictator, Lulu. She directly inspired my book project. The kid has dozens of coloring books from all over the world, yet she kept going back to her Moebius and Andy Warhol coloring books. Lulu seemed to dig coloring art by “real” Artists. So I conceptualized a coloring book filled with art by our friends. My creative cabal, Jane Goodall, and family inspire everything else.

if you could watch any artist throughout history, at work, who would it be?
Hmm, man, that’s a hard call. I’d like to watch someone like Kubrick work his magic, unapologetically, in the system, but as an outsider. And anyone with an encyclopedic manifesto left behind for a pet-sitter is surely worthy of observation.

what is your favorite quick and easy recipe for tiny iron fists?
Mixed-berry Scones from Clinton Street Bakery. For the real quick and easy, just click here.

what do you collect?
I had at one point unintentionally collected sneakers. But now I collect art and art-related books, National Geographics, signed items for Lulu, and friends from all over the world. I have over 66,000 photos on Flickr so maybe I collect snapshots of our lives too.

Images by Souris Hong-Porretta. Family portrait of Souris Hong-Porretta, LuLu and Silvio Porretta by Wayne Bremser.