Name: Brandon Thompson

Age: I’m 39 (‘til January)

Occupation/Business: I’m a full-time mural artist

Hometown: Bakersfield, born and raised. 

Tell us how you got into your field. Like most kids, I was interested in drawing and coloring. I took an art class in high school, and put it down when I graduated and went to the Air Force. While traveling in the military, a friend encouraged me to get back into it, and so from there, it took off. Larger and larger canvases evolved into walls. I moved back to Bakersfield and plugged myself into the art community.

What is your "why?" (Why do you get out of bed every morning and do what you do?) When I was growing up, my bedroom was covered (every single inch of the ceiling too) in magazine clippings, posters and art. I transformed my room into a personal gallery space. And today, I’m transforming the space of my collectors, businesses and my city! I was inspired by so many before me to keep with my gift. Now, I’m here doing what I love and hope others take a risk and dive into their gift.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Pay great attention to who you receive advice from!

What is the biggest challenge in the marketplace/business that you’ve overcome? The social media algorithm…. and Bakersfield’s senseless advertising ordinance. Specifically, the use of lettering in public art.

What is your proudest achievement of your career thus far? Quitting my day job and going full-time has been the biggest achievement. Now, I’m able to zero in and maximize my time.

What’s next for you in your career? I hope to grow as an artist and art instructor. I have several goals I’m working toward; however, the biggest is to reach a much larger crowd of future creatives and artists.

What advice would you give to other young professionals and entrepreneurs in Bakersfield? Recognize where you are and the potential within proximity. Travel. Even if it’s a quick drive to Fresno, Sacramento or Las Vegas. Social media is great, but get out and see people in person. Be present — this is very important.

How do you hope to help improve Bakersfield, or bring to the community overall? I hope to shatter the "Old Country Town" mindset, and make room for the young, booming, urban core.

Social media contact: IG @brandonthompson___ or www.11thandt.com

What is one thing you wish you would have known before starting your career? Information is free. You just have to know where to look and surround yourself with people who are just as ambitious as you are to find it.