One of M. Tony Peralta's earliest memories is of drawing. Of course, in that same memory, he got into trouble, as he was sketching his kindergarten teacher instead of paying attention in class. But art ultimately saved Peralta from much more trouble than it got him into, as he credits his artistic drive for keeping him off the streets. As a resident of Washington Heights, an area where the art scene is not exactly booming, he longs to find new ways of getting his work seen.

This is exactly why Peralta is so excited to take part in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. Presented in conjunction with Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, the Artisan Series is now in its fifth year, and has become a lifeline for young artists looking to showcase their work with wider visibility. At the series' conclusion, one lucky grand prize winner will be selected to receive a solo show at SCOPE NYC, and the top three contestants will participate in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Mural Project, helping to create murals in their respective hometowns. "I think the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series is a great platform for artists," says Peralta, "because it opens you up to an international audience." As a Dominican-American, that sort of cross-border reach is deeply important to him.

To hear more from Peralta about his inspirations (which range from Frida Kahlo to Keith Haring), the importance he feels being one of the few Dominican visual artists out there, and more, be sure to watch the video above. And to learn more about the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, or to submit a work of your own, be sure to visit This could be your chance to be the next big thing in Visual Arts!