On Feb.28th, Eric “Mural” Martinez, the founder of Black Book Sessions, a non-profit organization committed to inspiring young, creative minds, came to Next Up to talk and brainstorm with our participants. “Mural” broke the ice by describing his childhood growing up in San Pedro,CA with drug-addicted parents. Left to his own devices, Mural found art to be his outlet in a troubled world…but not without a good deal of mischief. Eventually, Mural would come to terms with the consequences of his poor choices and started to transform his life for the better. He continued painting, trading in “bad” friends for an inspiring crew that shared a passion for art. Motivated by a dynamic art scene in Los Angeles, his murals started getting attention across the city. Black Book Sessions began as a way to empower young artists with resources, supplies, and opportunities s that they could break away from relying on crime to fund their artistic endeavors. The biggest lesson we learned at Next Up from Eric Martinez is that any challenge or adversity can be overcome.