Manny drinks his vitamins...Salud!!!
Manny Velazquez's "Mother Earth" painting (acrylic on canvas)
Most people know me from my vibrant Los Angeles murals. My passion is youth violence prevention and community outreach through art and music. By embracing art, music, and youth culture as powerful intervention tools I have involved thousands of marginalized youth and families in the creation of 30 murals, youth art exhibits, positive graffiti art projects, and live music concerts in schools and disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
I was born and raised in Pacoima (a barrio in Los Angeles) and I have painted dozens of murals in the Pacoima projects since high school. At the age of 13 my life intersected with a group of Chicano Studies college students who formed the art gallery and youth center “El Jardin de Flor Y Canto” in Pacoima; by age 14 I had painted my first mural and earned $500 as part of a summer project. My experiences at El Jardin provided me with an important alternative to the streets; the guys always emphasized that art was my strength and my reason not to get caught up in the neighborhood gang lifestyle. At the same time they understood how important it was for me not to forget the friends I had grown up with.