PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Artist Ernel Martinez was born in Belize, grew up in Los Angeles, but says he fell in love with the city of Philadelphia while studying art at Kutztown University and at the University of Pennsylvania.

“As a city, it was a totally different vibe from the West Coast, and I sort of like the edge that people have here. That’s what attracted me to the city. Everybody’s real. You have to be real,” he told KYW Newsradio recently.

Martinez, who has lived all over West Philadelphia, is an artist for Philadelphia’s “Mural Arts Program.”

“You go into people’s’ neighborhoods and you’re painting on their walls, and people won’t hesitate to tell you what they feel about what you’re doing: either encouraging, or, ‘We don’t like what we see.’ And I can appreciate that criticism,” he says.

And Martinez feels that Philadelphia is getting better every year: “It’s a hip city. For my taste, it’s the place to be.”

Hear the expanded interview in this CBS Philly podcast…

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060.


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