Graffiti artist makes a positive impact on the community - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Graffiti artist makes a positive impact on the community

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KENNEWICK, WA - In the month of June, the Kennewick Police Department joined the Benton County Sheriff's Office to resolve a dozen cases of graffiti in Finley. But a young man in the area is demonstrating that graffiti does not have to be something negative.

At the age of 15, Joe Tristan discovered the culture of graffiti and began to spray paint on the sides of trains. Since it's considered vandalism, he realized that it was not the right thing to do.

"Damaging properties is not the way to go," Tristan said. "It gives everybody else a bad rep to promote themselves, express themselves."

So he took his artwork and began to create pieces for local businesses in downtown Kennewick. He says the movement is keeping the youth out of trouble.

"I was really excited because it's something that I can continue to visit and not be afraid to come back to it," he said. "And just to inspire other artists and to show it off...I mean, that's what every artist wants to do."

Although that's the case, people in town still view graffiti as a form of vandalism, and gang-related.

"I just hope that everybody opens up to the idea of other artists expressing themselves and being able to contribute to the local community in a different way."

For many graffiti artists, their art is a form of expression that deserves to be recognized for artists to showcase their talent. Tristan hopes he can serve as an inspiration for others to stay off the streets and out of trouble with the law.