Wesley, who lives in Far Rockaway, Queens, is a sophomore at the Urban Assembly of Music and Art in Brooklyn. When Groundswell created a mural at the school last year, he wanted to get involved. Joining TEMA, he is currently working on a mosaic for BRC, a Senior Citizens Center in Manhattan. Wesley is inspired by working with a group of like-minded people. “What I like about Groundswell is that they bring people who normally probably wouldn’t even talk to each other together. When I worked with the team on the mural last year, we had to work with each other for the entire year, and next thing you know we had an ongoing back and forth dialogue which is really cool.”

Wesley also likes the group dynamic in terms of the mural design process. “It would be hard for one person to do a project like this. One person can also only do so much as far as creativity goes. When you have so many people contribute to the same thing, it always comes out better.”

Wesley is also an aspiring cartoonist, who works on creating characters and developing narrative storylines for them. “I do my own comics. I’ve run into different people who do the same thing and I’ve found how to get things done; how to publish or learn how to make things that actually grab peoples’ attention. When I came to Groundswell, and over time as I got to know people, I met people who have so much in common with me as far as being interested in and doing the same thing.”

“Being at Groundswell also helped me be more open to people. Before, I was like a closed door. If anybody asked me a question I’d find it hard to respond. If you asked my name I wasn’t going tell you my real name. The only people who actually knew my real name in my school for a long time were the people in my class. It’s helped me open up to people, trust people and actually try to keep contact with people.”

Groundswell has also helped inspire Wesley to think about going to art college. “It’s helped me a lot with my interest in going to college because, to be honest with you, I didn’t have an interest in going to college. To me it was just expensive and unnecessary, but I’ve talked to my parents and the artists, and college seems to be another opportunity to get to meet more people, open yourself up and really open your mind. “

“It’s very exciting being part of Groundswell. I learn something new every day.”