Fourth-generation El Segundo Resident George Renfro Embraces a Digital Future
Art & functionality.
- Written bySara Debevec
- Photographed byMonica Orozco
George Renfro VI is El Segundo. The previous George Renfros—his dad, grandfather and great-grandfather —all grew up there. But he admits never appreciating his town’s uniqueness until he left, first to study in San Diego and then to London … only to come back home and start again in his beachside hometown.
“El Segundo has an old-timey vibe that allows it to exist on its own and not be found out,” George says. “People who live here—like my dad—are crafty, and they’ve been good at living on their own and existing in a bubble. It’s quirky. It’s like a small town that should be in the South or Midwest, but it’s just plopped on the coast of Los Angeles.”
You may recognize George from the El Segundo Art Walk. The annual summer event, conceived in 2015 by local artist Holly Socrates, set out to capture the town’s hidden charms through self-guided art tours throughout its industrial corners. In addition to a variety of locally made art, visitors could eat, drink, meander, enjoy unforgettable performances by bands like Glue LA and Feisty Heart, or participate in glassblowing demonstrations at Revolution Glass Studio. There was something for everyone.
Growing up, George was always switching interests, so his creativity never came out in just one form. “I was never really good at skateboarding or baseball or BMX, but I always found myself in love with the graphics or merchandise,” he shares.
He found meaning in the intersection between art and functionality. After graduating with a degree in graphic design from San Diego State University, he began freelancing and eventually founded the brand and digital design studio Boundary Digital in Downtown El Segundo with his friend and business partner, Tyler Leonard.
George recalls how the idea of starting a business came about. “At the time I was freelancing, and he was taking a break from his job. We had a few beers one night in Thailand, and he said, ‘When we get home, we should pitch Red Bull.’ I said, ‘Let’s see.’ And now, five years later, Red Bull is one of our biggest clients—along with many others.”
During the pandemic, the art world is experiencing a major shift, but it’s not necessarily bad. Boundary Digital has stayed busy throughout 2020. “I think the digital world has grown altogether, and we’ve been here to help our clients figure out a lot of the changes they need to make,” George says. “Business has been good. We’ve even had to hire a couple new designers to handle the workload, which is great. It’s nice to be able to offer a salary to someone.”
When George sees a challenge, he wants to solve it and not stray away from it. “For us, it has really been all about doing good work, being humble and saying ‘yes’ more than the next person,” he says. “If the budget is a little low, try to make it work! It has paid off and opened a lot of doors.”
Currently, the business grows while working on a range of projects, and George remains optimistic about the future. “I think when a new reality is forced on someone, that’s where a lot of great art and music come from it. Once technology becomes more ubiquitous, there is going to be a lot more amazing art coming out of this.”