Often, words are hard to muster when our hearts are filled with pain.
As El Paso begins to heal from the heartache of the Aug. 3 shooting that killed and injured our families, friends and neighbors, we’ve found a bit of solace in hearing the sounds of prayers of all faiths, “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes or “Amor Eterno” on mariachi violins.
Across social media, on billboards and walls, we’ve seen drawings, sketches and murals that depict what our minds and hearts cannot yet process.
Michael Nuñez, an El Paso graphic and sketch artist who produces Bosco’s
Daily Doodles, said he was moved to draw after not having done so in some time.
“I usually try to be uplifting in my work, but this was the mood that day,” Nuñez said about his drawing depicting the El Paso mascot Amigo Man, Chico of the Chihuahuas and UTEP’s Paydirt Pete grieving, as seen on the B Section cover.
“I felt like these characters, these representatives of El Paso, were crying with the rest of us that day and offering each other comfort.”
The healing power of art is not restricted to the artists who create as a form of self-expression, but is for all who connect with the imagery, sentiment and emotion depicted in the work.
El Paso Inc. gathered a handful of those images from area artists who shared their work, their grief, their healing – and their love for the borderland – with the public.
1. Christina Gonzalez
El Paso artist / Cosplayer / actor
@christinadarkcosplay on Instagram
“I was carrying so much sadness over what happened to my beloved city that I just had the urge to draw. I remembered Blue Beetle, a superhero from El Paso, and drew him as a female mourning for those who lost their lives.”
2. Brittany Ochoa
El Paso artist / art therapy student
@Biniy_ on Instagram
(graphic recreation by Jackson Alexander)
“It’s been beautiful and overwhelming how this symbol has brought complete strangers some comfort. … Despite any fear, despite any sorrow, El Paso remains steadfast and strong.”
3. Francella Delgado
El Paso artist / tattoo artist
@artbyfrancella on Instagram
“All of my life, art has been what helps me heal, release, grieve, to allow myself to become vulnerable, gain strength, resilience and rise again. … I have always tried to send a message of positivity in everything I do because when you think, believe, and put positive in the world, positive things happen. I grieve with you El Paso. I LOVE you El Paso.”
4. Terrance Flores
El Paso artist / carpenter
@Terrance Flores on Facebook
“This is a tribute to victims, to the community of El Paso that is my home. … The 22 stars in the sky above the image of Walmart represent the 22 victims, and you also see everything iconic and beautiful about El Paso – the mountains, the star, the bright sun.”
5. Patrick Gabaldon
El Paso attorney / artist
“We were so overwhelmed with sadness, than anger. I didn’t know what to do and felt so helpless at that moment that I started sketching, wanting a way to let out all this hurt. … They were created to remember those stolen from us because of where we live and what we look like.”
6. Gabe Vasquez
El Paso artist
@GabeReal on Facebook
(Mural at Cotton and Arizona
streets in Central El Paso)
“This is my city, and this is my tribute to it. We have to keep sending out this message, that we are El Paso strong, and I wanted to do it in a big way.”