Meet Ariel Roman

Ariel Roman passerbuys
Ariel Roman is an Illustrator and Art Director based in her native Los Angeles, CA. Influenced by an upbringing in salty water, comic books, cars and punk, her work comes together through texture, bold shapes and humor. Clients include Noon Goons, Vice, MouthFeel Magazine, EVERYBODY, Luaka Bop Records, GOOD Magazine, Got A Girl Crush Magazine, Converse, Protein UK, and Sterling Publishing. When not making something, Ariel is still usually making something.
ariel roman passerbuys

on her morning routine

My mornings generally start off with an hour of exercise or dog park, starting anywhere from 6am to 7am. I’m a night owl and I love getting up early; a bit of a paradox, but I’ll take it as long as I can. Once I’m home, it’s in the shower and a scan of the news while making dandelion chicory “coffee” and a smoothie. This usually happens in my kitchen, or at my desk in my studio, depending on the time and day’s workload. Before I get started on work, I like to look over the previous day’s to-do list, and make a new one.


In collaboration with Noon Goons, I’ve recently been able to complete a small collection of shirts, sweatshirts and pins with my father, Cliff Roman. He’s a founding member of the Weirdos, an early LA punk band. He is such a huge influence on my life and my work; I am so happy to give his often overlooked artwork a little shine through this project. There are so many similarities between the two of us-- both ones that I’ve known about, and ones that I’m still learning. Everything from our taste in inspiration to handwriting. I’m very thankful to have this relationship with him.

What she's working on now

Currently, I’m working on the next season of shirts for Noon Goons (an LA made & manufactured clothing company I lend art direction to), and a brand refresh for my favorite bowl-based, fresh eatery, Backyard Bowls. Very LA.


I love drawing. I love observing. I love thinking. It is a pleasure to do these things daily, and they are not things I take for granted.

Ariel's favorite books

Ariel's favorite books

Share what you have! Introduce people to each other! In art school, I had incredibly generous mentors who showed me the value in sharing—resources, connections, and even ideas. The returns are greater than you can imagine. Projects, relationships and experiences I’ve had just by connecting people I think should know each other, passing along a book, or offering support have enriched my work and path so so much. Freelancing can be very isolating (I work by myself 99% of the time), and the network of friends, collaborators and acquaintances I’ve built along the way makes me feel less of an island.
— on getting started
I think Alice Coltrane deserves a lot more credit than she is given. To those who know her work, she is loved dearly. Not only was she John Coltrane’s piano player and partner, but she’s a visionary in her own musical and spiritual work. The music she makes resonates. I listen to it while working, cooking, driving... it gets stuck in my head while I run... Really beautiful. If you haven’t listened to her, this is a great album to get into (and it features another legend, Pharoah Sanders).
— on music
Ariel's favorite records

Ariel's favorite records

On where she got her start

It’s hard to say exactly where I got my start; my path has been anything but straightforward. When I started working at 14, I had three jobs: lifeguarding, private swim instruction, and swim coach. These jobs were pretty beyond my experience, but not beyond my skill set. From this start, I learned how to commit to opportunities that champion and challenge my skill set, rather than banking on experience. I taught for almost seven years in the Bay Area, running a visual arts program at a small arts high school, teaching at art centers, museums and galleries along the way. I’ve organized shows, hosted artist dinner salons, and have been fortunate enough to convince people to let me DJ at their bars. My husbåand and I have had many entrepreneurial endeavors over the years, including a conceptual streetwear brand and a fried chicken business... all the things. I have made my way back to illustration, and carved out experience in art direction, because I have finally given myself the time and space to do the work that puts my creative practice first.

I find it pretty epic that at 19 I was able to start working in a classroom without a teaching credential (shhhh), and work my way up to running a visual arts department and doing professional development for arts and general education instructors. Never hurts to say yes, right?

Shirt, Vintage from People of 2Morrow

Shirt, Vintage from People of 2Morrow

on her favorite books

The Locas Anthology might be my favorite book. It’s not exactly a book; it’s more a compilation of the beginning of the “Love And Rockets” series. Never knew comic books could look or read like this. Never knew female characters could grow, mature, or evolve like these characters. And it’s a Xicanx sci-fi with luchador wrestling and some magic realism mixed in. I first read it while in college, during a period where I was really looking to literature to help me define myself. I’m a little bit of everything, and this book had me feeling grounded in who I was in that time and place.

On working out

Growing up, I was a competitive swimmer and lost touch with water in college. But I’ve reconnected with swimming, and became a runner in New York. Doing laps in a pool or seeing how far you can go with your own two legs is so personal and so fulfilling. I don’t exercise to look any particular way, or to compete with others. I do it to keep myself moving forward physically and mentally.

on her Nighttime routine

After dinner, I’ll usually go back outside to my studio and work. I should probably read more. Probably stretch. Something like that... but I always get a second wind and want to squeeze in a little more. Once I’m done, I wash my face, brush my teeth, drink a glass of water, smudge the house and hit the hay.

Ariel's favorite beauty products

Ariel's favorite beauty products

Ariel and her dog, Jacques

Ariel and her dog, Jacques

on her morning skincare routine

In the morning, I’ll rinse my face with water, or scrub my face with a coffee x cinnamon x coconut oil concoction I made. After, I spray on some toner, and Dr. Haushka’s Clarifying Day Oil, topped with sunblock. At night, I wash my face with Aesop’s Cleansing Oil. I’ve been loving this product-- I used Dr. Bronner’s for my face and body for years, reluctantly giving up my simple routing when I realized how drying it was for my mixed skin. I’ll run an ice cube over my face before toner and some night cream. Other than that, my makeup bag contains mascara for eyelashes and eyebrows, eye gloss, liquid eyeliner, blush, and red and orange-red Nars lip pencils. I only wear concealer if my hormones are doing too much. I try to keep it natural and simple... but I’m not sure my routine is simple anymore. My grandmother has always told me to trust in oil, and my mom has always told me to drink lots of water and change my pillowcases. Not so unreasonable. I also use Glossier's Soothing Face Mist, Derma E Skin, Hair and Nail Oil, and Derma E Hydrating Night Créme.

On Finding inspiration

I find inspiration everywhere. I always want to know how and where things were made, who inspired a musician or musical genre, etc. We currently live dangerously close to both Arcana Books and the Baldwin Hills Outlook. Walking breaks to either of these places always proves inspiring and gives much-needed perspective.

Photography by Lauren Moore