Meet Erik Gonzalez, the visionary founder of U Paint, an art supplies business with a purpose. U Paint is more than just a store; it’s a social enterprise that supports non-profit organizations that want to empower communities through the uniting power of art. In this blog post, we’ll delve into Erik’s passion for art, his love for public murals, and his commitment to making a positive impact in communities.

Art as a Soulful Inspiration

Art feeds the soul, brings happiness, and motivates us, and Erik Gonzalez understands this deeply. His favorite form of art is public murals, especially large-scale urban artwork accessible to everyone. He recognizes the power of public art to inspire and beautify communities, which is why he’s driven to make a difference through his work.

Art Supplies for Urban Art

When you see him out and about, ask him about why he and his team use different materials in Washington versus California. Creating something timeless is essential for Erik and his team, which is why they pay attention to even the most minute detail such as which materials to use in Washington versus California because our climate is cooler and wetter.

Within the urban art subculture, specialized and high-quality materials play a significant role. Erik emphasizes the importance of these materials, which are not easily accessible in regular stores, in the creation of urban art. U Paint aims to provide artists with the tools they need to bring their visions to life.

Art as a Catalyst for Change

Injustices and inequities present in communities break is heartbreaking for Erik. However, he firmly believes that art has the power to make a positive impact and bring people together. In 2020, his team worked with Kelsie Thurrott, owner of Rory’s Custom Fabrication, to create a power mural to promote unity within our community. As the project got underway, during a time when isolation was in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic, passers by would stop to help with the mural – showing how art can bridge gaps and inspire change. You can find the public mural aptly named “One Love” on the gate of Rory’s Custom Fabrication on Eagle Harbor Dr. 

Photo courtesy of UPaint

Empowering Youth Through Art

In Kitsap County, where youth yearn for a healthy outlet to express themselves, Erik understands the significance of art as a catalyst for positive change. With a heartfelt dedication to their well-being, he recognizes that art provides a sanctuary—a space for youth to find their voice and forge connections with their surroundings. Erik revels in the sheer joy, playfulness, and self-identification opportunities that art bestows upon them.

One particular moment stands etched in Erik’s memory—a testament to the profound impact art has on young individuals. In a mural painting project, an unexpected surge of passion engulfed over a hundred people, from seasoned artists to toddlers taking their first strokes. Together, they poured their creativity onto the canvas, leaving behind a vibrant testament to the transformative power of art in the lives of the youth.

Erik Gonzalez’s U Paint merges the sale of art supplies with a social mission to support nonprofit organizations. His profound love for art, particularly public murals, fuels his desire to create positive change and unite communities through artistic expression. By exploring the potential of art, Erik inspires others to appreciate the beauty that lies within creativity and the ability to bring people together. With U Paint, Erik and his team are making a lasting impact in the world of art and beyond, one brushstroke at a time.

Learn more about them at

Thank you to the Washington State Department of Commerce for being in partnership in powering the Growing Greater Businesses Grant and to our 23rd Legislative District Representative, Tarra Simmons, for securing it!