Buzzing on

Bumblebee’s artwork catches much attention on its own, but followers of his work say they love that they have to scavenge for his art. “People go to work, go to school, and do it all over again,” Bumblebee says. “Growing up, you know you’re an artist, but you’re told not to be one. It’s all building up inside of you.”

Akhila Nallamilli, Staff Writer

Bumblebee is a street artist who has made the city of Los Angeles, as well as the surrounding cities, his canvas. Some of his artwork can be seen around Downtown Downey.


Bumblebee grew up in a rural area right outside of Downey. With the emergence of the Internet in the 1990s, it gave a chance for everyone, in his tight-knit community, to get out into the world. After Bumblebee searched graffiti and different styles of art, he realized that, in his opinion, his hometown wasn’t as remarkable as he thought it was, but rather dull since it didn’t have any art. He decided to change that.


Bumblebee’s street name came from the symbolism he saw in bees. He explains that the fear of bees, as a child, is similar to the fear of being criticized for expressing himself because his art could sometimes be labeled as vandalism.


“I always tell people that one day I woke up and said to myself ‘just bee yourself’, but that’s not true,” Bumblebee said, “I could’ve picked anything really, but I decided that I wanted to use this metaphor as a way to communicate a loss of innocence and nostalgia.”


Bumblebee’s recent projects include: “Bee is for…” where Bumblebee finds obvious objects in the city that begin with the letter ‘b’ and labels them accordingly.


One of Bumblebee’s recent projects is titled “Passed Out” and located around the Hollywood-Los Angeles area.


“For these [Passed Out] murals,” Bumblebee said, “I’m painting children on the sides of businesses and buildings to raise awareness of young homeless population out there that doesn’t often get talked about in the media.”


One of his murals is located in Downtown Downey, and was painted on private property, but the building owners decided to keep it since they liked the image.


“His cause that’s kind of close to his heart is homelessness or poverty with children, so a lot of his work is kind of geared toward stirring thoughts about children,” Lana Joy, of the Downey Arts Coalition, said.


Vanessa Abrego, 10, has seen many of Bumblebee’s paintings around Downey and thought his motives were powerful.


“I admire that he doesn’t paint for money, but, instead, he does it for his happiness, and a for great purpose, which is to raise awareness of the homeless,” Abrego said.


Bumblebee hopes to accomplish his book project, “The Story of How Things Came To Bee” that is being published on the street. He also hopes to continue expanding his art to Art Galleries.