Death, abuse, gangs, drugs, alcohol, and vandalism surrounded me throughout my childhood and young adolescence. My name is Milton Coronado, also known as Milt-one, or Pr. Graff to some. I was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 4, 1980 from Mexican immigrants, the fourth of ten siblings.
At a young age of five, my family accepted the Christian faith and though growing up in a “Christian” home, my life was a gut-twisting roller coaster. My mother died when I was five years old and this led me to question God and His motives as I grew older. Angry, I found art as my dark escape and pursued a life of solitude and rebellion. My father then remarried months later and unfortunately, because of the negative relationship between my step-mother and I, and my father always working, my life became bitter, lugubriousness, and combative against my home, church, and school, especially during my teenage years. The offers and invitations I received growing up in a big city drove me into a moment in life of drugs, alcohol, gangs, and graffiti vandalism. By the grace of God I was able to graduate high school in 1998, and a couple months after my parents separated and my father remarried for the last time.
Just then thinking that life was going upright, the worst happened. In September of 2001, almost three weeks after the attacks in New York, my father was fatally shot in the head by the same gang I was affiliated with, dragging me into a deep physical, mental, and spiritual desolation where I saw no hope. Through the Holy Spirit however, and help from great friends God put in my path, I was able to get my life back on the veracious path.
In 2002 I graduated college accomplishing a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the American Academy of Art. Since then I have worked with city mayors, presidents, and governors, been published in several magazines, books, and editorials, sponsored for numerous art venues, co-authored a book entitled “Changed”, gotten married, fathered two “minnie-me’s”, and been part of an amazing street art ministry.
Today, as a pastor, I travel the country speaking to parents, youth advocates, teachers, community leaders and youth, enabling them about the power of the arts in transforming lives and motivating them to use their gifts to honor God through tangible, real life, God-given rewards.