Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘To create something from nothing is a gift, and why not utilize it to show the world?’

East Northport

“Since I was a little kid, I loved coloring books and drawing superheroes. I didn’t take art classes until I was at Walt Whitman High School. I would get into a lot of fights because I moved to Huntington from Queens at 10, and the places were so different; I was all about graffiti, street art and hip-hop. I always felt like an outcast, but I let that be my drive. In high school I went to Six Flags and some guy was airbrushing t-shirts. It intrigued me because it looked like a pen, but there were no paint strokes and he could blend colors.

“I saved up to get myself an airbrush and air compressor, so in my senior year I started airbrushing t-shirts. I also wanted to be a rapper, but my skill was in creating paintings. Later I went to F.I.T., I found the G-Unit offices, and I started doing custom airbrush shirts for 50 Cent and all of the rappers.

Everyone tells you art doesn’t make money. When I relied on my own thoughts and my faith in God, I realized that I can do whatever I want to get done.

“In 2010, I opened my own store in Huntington. At first it was a clothing brand, Andaluz Designs, and then it became a branding and marketing store. I was doing custom sneakers and canvasses, but I really wanted to be a street artist and do music. The first mural I did was Robin Williams at Painted Pieces. When Pokemon GO came out I saw it as an opportunity to do something huge. I painted 151 Pokemon on the side of my office building because you have to go large or go home. It went super viral. The next wall to go viral was a Kobe Bryant mural in front of Barclays Center. I just did it out of love.

“During quarantine, I created live art auctions where DJ Scram plays music and I will paint somebody in one hour. On the anniversary of Kobe’s death, I painted Shaquille O’Neal. Out of nowhere, Shaq popped up in my Instagram Live. I was buggin’ out. He ended up purchasing my painting! I just shot a music video from the album I dropped in March, “Welcome to the Quarantine.” It’s uplifting, Christian hip-hop. I’ve learned that it’s hard to be an artist. Everyone tells you art doesn’t make money. When I relied on my own thoughts and my faith in God, I realized that I can do whatever I want to get done. It’s just a matter of working hard. To create something from nothing is a gift and why not utilize it to show the world?”