SAN ANTONIO — Chris Montoya uses his talent to make San Antonio a more beautiful place and, chances are, you've seen some of his work.
"A lot of people don't have the opportunity to experience art. For me, I wanted to create that opportunity, and not have to force people to make their way into a gallery,” he said. “When you put it there for people, they can touch it, and see it, and feel it. It's something they appreciate."
As street art continues to be mainstream, Montoya's popularity grows - and with it comes requests for commissioned work.
"I love doing it. But when you're painting for money, it can sometimes burn you out - if your calling is to make true-to-yourself type of work," he said.
These days, the 26-year-old spends most of his time painting at home- working on a series of portraits of his grandpa, his mom or even a stranger.
"I feel like there is something more deep that I want to do. We all have that in us,” he said. “We all want to give something to the world, make it better."
And, his way of improving the world is painting for passion - not money.
"When I first started, I wasn't getting paid for doing street murals,” he said. “I would just do them just because I wanted to give something to the community, and give people a sense of identity or just make them think."
Montoya grew up tagging walls on the Southeast side and is always looking to the city itself – as a canvas – for his next project.
"I'll drive and I'll find walls that I'll see and they'll just be really great locations,” he said, adding: “I'll just think: Man that would be a really great wall."
So watch out for this up-and-comer - his masterpiece is in the making.
"I don't think I have a favorite yet. I think my favorite is still to come. What I've done so far is me stepping out – not me making a mark."