CLEVELAND — Brandon Graves is a local painter. You can see his work throughout Cleveland's Hough neighborhood. His very first public piece welcomes visitors into the Hough Multipurpose Center.
"We all have a God given talent and mine happened to be art," Brandon Graves said. "What I like to do is paint for the community, let them see that you're great too, you can do this."
Graves' portfolio is about to expand big time. He just received a $15,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation to beautify Hough even further by early 2020 with six brand new murals.
"You see a lot of negativity in these neighborhoods, these low income traumatized neighborhoods," Graves said.
Graves said most of the murals will be hanging on Superior Avenue so a lot of folks will get a chance to read his positive messages and see the beautiful pictures.
"I just want to paint a pretty picture for the community to see so they can feel better when they look up," he said.
Graves never considered art as a career until he went to prison.
"This guy doing life gave me a canvas and a brush was just like 'give it a shot.' [I] gave it a shot and I never looked back since," Graves said.
Graves said he went to art school while he was locked up and learned everything from graphic design and color theory to calligraphy.
"God sat me down for a reason and this is the reason, this has to be the reason, it has to be," he said.
Now Graves mentors the next generation as his art continues to uplift his neighbors.
"You can be a queen, you can be a king you can be a star you can be a leader you can do all of these things, it's all possible," said Graves.