- Words and Photos by The Echo Parker
Little By Little, Learn About Little Ricky Pt. 4
If you look around the streets of Los Angeles during June (and most major US cities), you’ll probably come across several rainbow flags and festive decorations adorning the streets. Spurred on by the monumental Stonewall Riots in 1969, June has served as Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community for 50 years. For artist Little Ricky, June brings him pride both as a gay man and a street artist....
Wanting to share the world of street art and queer culture with others, Little Ricky created SHEEP. The bright pink hand-made stamp has evolved into a thriving collection of shirts, totes, and more. Despite the immense growth and success, he once feared his art would not be accepted in the street art community....
Little Ricky explains:
"When I started SHEEP in 2013, I wasn't sure what to expect from the street art community. I was new to a scene that I viewed as being predominantly heterosexual males. Even though I'd been out for 25 years and very comfortable in my skin, I still wondered how they'd come to see me? Would my pink 'gay' sheep be accepted? I immediately learned that it didn't matter. I felt embraced by my fellow artists."
Like many other LGBTQ+ folks, Little Ricky struggled with the stigma surrounding his sexuality and subconsciously tried to be “more palatable” to the straight world. The horrific shooting at Pulse Nightclub in 2016 made him realize that homophobia is still prevalent, and that he could do something about it....
"After the Orlando shootings in 2016, I realized that I had my own internal homophobia to face. When I heard the news, I sobbed. It was a slap in the face. In some odd ways, I'd been censoring my own SHEEP. I didn't want them to be too 'gay.' But since that summer, I would do so no more. For the first time in my life I understood the importance of living out loud and with pride. It not only soothes my own spirit, but it's a gift I get to share with our world."
Recently, Little Ricky brought SHEEP to Fruitcake, an inclusive art fair created by Mario Diaz, much to the delight of those in attendance. Attendees excitedly admired his art and purchased unique stickers, booklets, and shirts while hearing about Little Ricky’s inspiration and upcoming projects.
Little Ricky wants his art to be part of his local community, and also be appreciated by the street art world. This want is becoming a reality and he is being embraced by everyone, even celebrities! A friend of Little Ricky’s requested a special painting for actress, comedian, and personality Whoopi Goldberg to cheer her up from a recent health scare. Goldberg, who was struggling with an extremely severe case of double pneumonia, was a huge fan of the piece and Little Ricky!
Even though there was some fear over whether or not SHEEP would be accepted, it is safe to say people are BAAA-ing for more!!!