Juan Pablo Reyes hopes his murals spark a conversation about culture or change.
SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Bright shades of blue, green and yellow radiate off the corner wall of a mobile store in Pacoima. Juan Pablo Reyes or "J.P.," says the mural of his mother is just one of his many works of art displayed throughout the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles and Long Beach.
"Every portrait I do, I give it my all and it's a piece of me in that space and time. Every mural of mine has at least a message," said Reyes.
And that message is to spark a conversation about culture or change. The Pacoima native says he tries to include at least one influential person in each of his murals like the one displayed at Sylmar Biotech Health and Engineering Magnet.
"We have Katya Echazarreta here. She was the first Mexican-born woman in space, an electric engineer, a model. She used education as a vehicle to kind of propel herself down to stardom," Reyes said about one of his murals.
The mural also includes Neil deGrasse Tyson, a world-renowned astrophysicist. Reyes says it was important to include minority role models in his murals for students to look up to.
"He's an inspiration of mine and I feel like Black and brown unity is what this mural should represent," Reyes said.
"A lot of the students, they don't really see a lot of themselves represented in their career path and so we wanted someone to represent them," said Myrna Gonzalez, school climate advocate at Sylmar Biotech Health and Engineering Magnet.
Reyes says he's painted approximately 100 murals throughout his career. He says when people look at the murals, he hopes they feel inspired.
"Art has the power to change mentalities and change the way people view things," Reyes said.
Reyes describes the San Fernando Valley as the "Mecca" of his murals. He painted his very first mural at 19 years old in Pacoima. And ever since then, he has turned his hobby into a full-time job and says schools and businesses are always reaching out to him through Instagram.
"I feel really accomplished, I feel really proud of myself just to see where I started to where I'm at now," Reyes said.
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