You’ve heard that the sky is the limit. If you you’re not quite ready for the sky you can always start on the roof.
Justin Wagher did.
“It was the first one I did,” he said or his 20-foot tall mural of a woman’s face. “It was a very big undertaking for me to do something that large. That’s probably the one I’m most proud of.”
The St. Petersburg native hasn’t been creating murals for very long, but he’s already making an impact on a community known for its appreciation for paint. Wagher, a senior at Gibbs High School, didn’t even pick up a spray can until his freshman year.
Now, it’s hard to tell his work from the professionals.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and he’s already on that level,” said his mentor and former Gibbs student, Derek Donnelly, who has murals around St. Pete buildings as well. “When he walked in he couldn’t draw much. Definitely didn’t know anything about painting.”
Wagher recently completed another woman’s face mural above Reno’s Downtown Joint, a restaurant near 4th Street and 1st Avenue. He won’t turn 18 until April 21 but has already been paid to create works of art around the community.
“You know, before you knew it he was trying this and trying that, and now I look around he’s got ten, giant full-scale murals,” said Donnelly. “He’s got as many murals in the city as I do I think.”
PHOTOS: Justin Wagher's murals
Wagher plans to continue art as a career after graduation this spring. He sees his future much like he sees an empty wall: as a blank canvas.
“I definitely see what that wall could become,” he said. “I can’t see myself doing anything else with my life.”