When Felicia (Xavier’s mom) sent me pictures, I noticed that he was always wearing a shirt of the bear, so I asked the mom about the bear t-shirts. And she said, “Oh, man, they were his favorite... I would buy them at DD’s Discount fashion store and he would wear those until they were faded."

Monica Maldonado

Amado Castillo III’s Artist Statement

My process in creating Xavier Lopez’s Mural started with collecting information about him, for example his favorite colors, his favorite T-shirt and character, things he loved doing the best, and his accomplishments. I then created the layout, then adjusted to approach the wall through the square grid method.  

One of the main illustrations I needed was a clear picture of Xavier’s face. The pictures that were being requested by the family were really blurry and pretty pixelated, but long story short on this issue I was able to get a good photo.

Another way that I collaborated on bringing this mural to reality was speaking to the mother on the phone. Late one evening while I was in the process of painting a mural here in Austin, Texas, I got a three-way phone call with Xavier’s mom and Monica Maldonado. The call was about highlighting a few details on how they wanted the mural. Some things that I did learn about Xavier’s family was their unity, their togetherness, their appreciation of me being there in their town to paint the mural of their late son, also the pain that I could feel emotionally through the process of painting a mural.   

To conclude, there was really so much to absorb at the time and to process within just a couple of days. Because I was just so busy focusing on fulfilling my mission of painting the mural, all I could remember is that there was a surge of painful emotion, anger, and a little bit of joy.