Being an illustrator, it's not hard to be reminded constantly of your influences over the years. One of mine was Joel Loya, who was a good friend during my teenage years. He had an incredible artistic sense that was a bit contagious and made me really revisit and revise my work rather than settle for less. We worked together on a couple of zines that dealt mostly on our musical tastes at the time.
Joel featured a comic strip in every issue. The first strip was called Boing which featured skinheads and rockers battling it out in a post-apocalyptic setting, and traveling around on large hippity hops. The second strip was called Chuck Henrey- Dishwasher For Life. It was a pretty brilliant strip as it featured his character, put into the basic storylines of Charles Bukowski.
Joel was also the first one of my friends who actually had done professional work. At age 16 he illustrated an album cover by legendary Santa Cruz punk band Bl'ast. Some of his artwork featured a character named Uncle Meatknuckles, who served as a sort of mascot for us.
Joel went on to do numerous illustrations over the years for other magazines and some album artwork as well. I'm not to sure if he pursued it professionally full time, but, there's a large collection of his art scattered here and there, and, he continues to be a huge inspiration to this day.