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Street artist Gamma is laying out Longmont's history, one spray can at a time

Finding a wall in the city and making it his own is how Gamma Acosta began his career in art. Since then, he has become one of the best-know street artist in the Denver/Longmont area. But it didn't happen overnight. "It was just through word of mouth," he says. "I just started painting and people just started talking about it."

See also: - A father tattoos his three-year-old son in an eye-catching new mural - Gamma Acosta on Street Cred, graffiti and the importance of street art - Cheba Hut downtown has new murals by Gamma Acosta

In fact, when the city of Longmont was looking for someone to paint a mural laying out the city's history on the side of a building, they turned to Gamma, who was up for this larger than life task. The mural will be two hundred feet long and six feet high when it is finished. But the bigger challenge is the fact that it's twenty feet off the ground on a wall near the 300 block of Main Street.

"I have to have it finished by the end of August," says Gamma. " September is the deadline." Which isn't much time to cover 150 years worth of history.

Street artists like Gamma are slowly changing the stereotypical idea of what can be done with spray paint. In the past, it has always been associated with vandalism and graffiti, but now it is the tool of choice for major murals in Colorado.

With the help of Colorado Crush, an organization dedicated to changing the perception of street art, graffiti and use of spray paint, Gamma is showing how his artwork can help build community, tell a story and change old ideas about spray paint.

"When I do paint, I like to paint locals for my murals," he says. That is exactly what he did for Grow Big Supply in Denver. Gamma won first place in the graffiti competition hosted by Colorado Crush.

Almost all of his work comes from his head, and he does his murals free hand. "It is hard for me to pick which murals are my better ones," Gamma says. "I usually leave that up to other people and the public."

With a can of spray paint in his hand, Gamma is ready to paint anything that inspires him. From politics, like the Duck Season mural, to memorials, like the Sandy Hook mural, he ready to take on any project and put his own Gamma spin on it.

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"To be a street artist it is like creating public art with a little more of an edge to it," says Gamma.

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