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Exclusive Interview: Rialto’s WetPaint Larry Chats on Being an Inspiration and Pioneer in the Arts in the Inland Empire

By Naomi K. Bonman

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 general 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.

Bottomline: Key to Emergency Preparedness… Human Kindness!

Publishers Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

As we are mesmerized by the video visuals of the tragedy in Texas, we are also driven to tears of pride as we witness the heroic response from plain folk volunteers.  The expected first responders are needed and extremely appreciated; however, the truth is that the real first responders are often potential victims that were prepared for an unexpected emergency. The clean water and plastic bags for personal waste go a long way when strangers are herded to a safe-from-danger-spot that has room, but no accommodations for a large gathering of people. Shelters are temporary spaces, such as churches, schools and stadiums that are seldom, if ever, able to accommodate at any level of comfort.

We have seen the Texas tragedy cause people to open their homes to strangers! That is a great storyline that will probably soon be countered by stories exemplifying the other side of human nature.  There will be examples of real looting, not just the “emergency borrowing” that some did survive. There will be stories about folks who were ridiculed by people who could have helped. 

The rain is moving out of Texas into neighboring states where it will eventually normalize. Texans and the nation will feel the ripple effect of the human toll of death and property loss for years! Recovery from the coming health issues will be countered by “economic opportunity”. There will be growth and development, but the memories of pain will remain throughout the lives of some.

I pray that this evidence of unexpected devastation will cause more people to realize the importance of each other! There may come a time of tragedy when the people that you disagree with will be the same people that you will be depending on for help.

We do not have to agree with each other about how we got here, but we do need to respect the fact that we are here together!  Friends do not have to agree, they should only be friendly!

Winter Was Cool Despite the Heat

(from left to right) CEO of Black Business Expo, Jerry Green; President of the Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Empire, Tammy Martin-Ryles; Black is Lit Founder, Winter Minisee; and Host of “Empire Talks Back”, Wallace.

(from left to right) CEO of Black Business Expo, Jerry Green; President of the Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Empire, Tammy Martin-Ryles; Black is Lit Founder, Winter Minisee; and Host of “Empire Talks Back”, Wallace.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- Sunday’s “Empire Talks Back” (ETB) radio broadcast was amazing as usual.  Their special guest, Winter Minisee, 16-year old founder of ‘Black is Lit’, had no problem tackling all our world issues. Watch the video of the show live at www.ustream.tv/search?q=empire+talks+back.

ETB is broadcast each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on KCAA 1050-AM, 102.3 FM and 106.5 FM Radio, and it streams live at www.kcaaradio.com.