Artist Gabe Vasquez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. After Saturday’s horrific shooting in his hometown, which left 22 people dead and many more injured, he sprang into action in a bid to show love and strength to his community.
Starting work at 7 p.m. Monday, Vasquez labored through the night and day to create the powerful mural.
Photographer Gaby Velasuez shot images of the artwork on Tuesday morning. She told HuffPost the artist had not stopped since he started.
“I think he said that he didn’t even go home, he stayed there all night working on it and he hoped to finish it today.”
Vasquez told local media he hoped the piece would empower his city.
“You have a timeless piece like this where people can come and take pictures of and embrace it, and it empowers the city. There’s also another part of me that wants someone to see this and be like, ‘Heck yeah, brother, that’s my city.’ We are El Paso strong. I am a Paso strong. This isn’t just blessing a wall, this is blessing a whole city.”
KFOX14 reported that the mural, in central El Paso, had drawn a great deal of attention, and people were stopping to take images and yell out encouragement.
The artist said in a video that the owner of a local business reached out to him and gave him the idea and the permission to paint that piece of wall.
The design shows the words “El Paso Strong” with a depiction of the city within.