Artwork on Austin’s east side honors teenage bombing victim

Austin

At the corner of Webberville Road and North Pleasant Valley Road, an electric housing box is now adorned with a vibrant artwork honoring the life of 17-year-old Draylen Mason, one of the victims during the Austin bombing spree last month. 

The artwork was created by Austin artist Mike Johnston, who is known for his colorful and pop-culture-driven art. Johnston, who lives on the east side, said he chose the location for Mason’s picture because it’s close to Mason’s church, Corinth Baptist Church on 16th Street. 

Johnston said he and his wife were brought to tears after reading about Mason’s funeral and how he lived his life. 

“I felt compelled to do something for his family and community, to honor his life and his spirit,” Johnston said.

With that in mind, Johnston used a photograph circulating of Mason playing the bass as inspiration for his painting. In the span of five hours, Johnston transformed latex paint on butcher paper into the artwork that you now see on the east side. 

“As I painted his image, I thought about my life at 17, wondered what his life was like, and that Draylen is half my age, yet he touched so many lives,” Johnston told KXAN.

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