As you drive around Southern California, you can’t help but to notice graffiti. It’s on the freeway bridges, ramps, train cars, abandon buildings, and just about every flat surface that is in attention to the public.
Graffiti frustrates many because they feel as if it destructs the city unless it is done in a tasteful manner. Over the recent years, we have seen more graffiti artists who have turned their art into something more positive and of value, such as Rialto, California’s own WetPaint Larry.
“I’ve been painting for a long time,” he states on what inspires him to paint. “Everything around me inspires me to go harder. I have a lot of things that I paint that makes me feel good.”
WetPaint Larry started off doing graffiti but now he paints murals for small businesses, cities, and schools. He is known well regionally and has built up an impressive social media following with over 15,000 followers on Instagram. Larry’s accomplishments recently earned him recognition in the “Under 30 Awards” that was presented by Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes.
“That was a good highlight for this year,” WetPaint Larry discusses his recent achievement. “That was something huge for me because when I went in there and looked around I seen high rank [city officials]. As I sat there, I thought ‘[Man], I’m among great people that are doing great work. So, for me that’s huge from being a graffiti artist to getting that award. I look at it all the time.”
Since his latest city achievement, WetPaint Larry has been on the grind with trying to secure more jobs for himself in the schools. He is looking forward to expanding beyond Rialto and has had school officials from Fontana and San Bernardino call him to do some work for their schools.
You can check out WetPaint Larry’s work on his Instagram page @wetpaintlarry and if you want to collaborate with him on a project send him a direct message via the platform.
Naomi K. Bonman is the founder and editorial director of Purposely Awakened, a digital media agency for millennial activist and change agents of color. A digital media maven at heart, Naomi is also a journalist, screenwriter and digital content creator. Originally from Southern California, Naomi received her B.A. in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism from Clark Atlanta University and her Masters of Public Administration from Keller School of Management of DeVry University.