Art has the power to change the world. Art helps us express ourselves freely. Allows us to creatively share our perspectives and has the power to build bridges culturally, racially, and economically. As an artist, I am well aware of its power. I use my work to inspire people from all walks of life. Especially young people who live in urban environments. I want them to appreciate where they come from and to embrace the beauty around them but also aspire to greater things. I use vibrant colors, textures, and WORDS to inspire the viewer of my work. I use words like DREAM, INSPIRE, SHINE, LOVE, LIVE, CREATE, BEAUTY, PEACE, WISDOM throughout my work to affect emotions in the viewer. Growing up in the Bronx, I had no idea that I could actually be an artist as a profession. It was never an option in my mind. But when I was 14, my mother showed me a documentary called “I’ll Make Me A World” based on the art of the Harlem Renaissance. It was life-changing. I had never seen artists that looked like me. It made it seem real. It planted the seed in me. Now I hear this same thing all the time when I work with students of all ages. It never feels like a possibility to them but when they see me, it becomes attainable. That is always so satisfying to me. Art has absolutely changed my life. Art has taken me to parts of the country I never thought I would see. Parts of the world I never thought I would see. Art has the power to break down barriers. I recently traveled to Turkey for an art residency called NEXT LEVEL USA. Never in a million years, did I think I would have the opportunity to travel and share my work with people from across the globe. I lead workshops with local artists and the experience was so transformative. The highlight of my journey was when one of my fellow artists, Hazel, 38 years old, said that this was the first time she felt borderless and free. That is the essence of art to me.