Sam Rodriguez doesn’t claim to do “street art.” He calls it what it is: graffiti. And graffiti is something he’s been doing since before he was even a teenager.

“Honestly, I didn’t know for the first few years that graffiti was art,” he says. “It was just something you did. [But] then, I was thinking to myself: ‘I want to start developing myself as an artist.’” So that’s precisely what he did.

Sam pursued something that a lot of artists don’t bother to these days: an education. Though no one in his family has ever even finished high school, Sam knows that fortune comes to those who seek it. So he sought to hone his skills with a thorough training in the arts. “It was a chance I had to take,” he says, and it was a chance that definitely paid off, as he has been moving forward ever since. Sam believes that this kind of forward momentum and dedication to taking risks are crucial for any artist. “There’s always an opportunity to grow,” he says, as long as you’re open to it.”

For more on how Sam Rodriguez found his fortune, as well as his most recent artistic collaboration, be sure to check out the video above.