Graffiti saved his life. Here’s why art, creativity and imagination are SO important.

April 10, 2017

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Sometimes in life, we can pinpoint a moment, a time, a place, or a thing that changed us. That truly changed us. Fundamentally changed the way we think, how we view the world, what we want, our hopes and dreams.

That time when we grew up.

Vincent Alejandro had that moment, but it took a while to get there.


Vincent is an amazing artist, who happens to love to paint graffiti.  He said it all started, believe it or not, as a way to impress the ladies, “I was in 4th grade and a friend showed me how he made these cool letters “that the girls would like” haha. Early Hip hop movies also had me hooked on the art form. I started on paper and when I became brave and rebellious enough as a teen I took to the trains. That didn’t last though ha ha.”

It’s against the law, of course. But, there was something invigorating about tagging. For Vincent, the artwork was an outlet, “I was mainly a loner when it came to graffiti. When I went out to do it, I was by myself. A lot of people I knew were getting into trouble and doing worse things than graffiti and it kept me out of most of that. Later on in my life when I was working as a mechanic and my job was taking its toll on me, I painted a mural with spray cans in Joplin, Missouri after a tornado had destroyed the town. That event and the mural changed my views on life. My art became more important to me.”

And that was the moment.

The time and place that changed how Vincent sees things.

Now, he’s on a mission to beautify our gorgeous city, “As far as public art goes, I have a few murals in the University Heights neighborhood by Main and Northrup. The largest there being just off the corner with a little girl sitting on top of buildings.”

But, says Vincent, he does have a favorite, “The Amvets Post 13 on Review Place has one of my larger murals on it. A 2000 square foot military themed mural. That is one I am most proud of being a Veteran myself.”  Vincent is a former Army specialist who served in Germany from 1993 to 1997.  This amazing mural shows the armed forces through the years. It took about 50 hours and – get this – 100 cans of spray paint to complete the project, which includes the seals of all five branches of the military.

It’s amazing how an outlet such as art can shape your life, can help you find the good in the world, and help you to make good in the world.

For anyone out there who wants to create, adults or children, here’s advice from this very talented artist, “Try all mediums. Art has so many different ways it can be created. Graffiti has always carried a stigma due to its attachment to a crime but what can be done with a spray can goes far beyond that. I don’t do illegal graffiti anymore but I still push the limits of a spray can when I can.”

Vincent does teach the art of graffiti to kids and also paints portraits – you can find more information at 


About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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