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London’s Pub and Grill in Artesia Pub Will Have Kobe, Gianna Bryant & Nipsey Hussle Mural

ARTIST VELAART in front of another mural he painted in Boyle Heights. The mural on the east wall of London’s Pub in Artesia will have a similar mural-tribute to Kobe Bryant.

BY BRIAN HEWS AND TAMMYE MCDUFF

Vela, also known as Velaart on Instagram and social media, is a street artist that has been recognized from Los Angeles to New York. Vela began creating artwork from the moment he could lift a pencil. Deeply inspired by his creative Argentinean family and cultivated upbringing, his roots echo loudly in his unique style of art.

Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Vela began working with acrylics as his medium and while a teenager, advanced to large scale mural work. At the bright age of twenty-three, Vela has created hundreds of paintings and murals. While his artwork often reflects his South American roots, Vela also sheds light on what some may consider controversial and socially engaged subject matter. Fueled by strong emotion, Vela finds balance in his art, contrasting vibrant colors with dark imagination.

His artwork can be found throughout the United States, several Santa Fe locations have showcased his work, including galleries, municipal buildings, and countless businesses and homes. 

He also balances his love of art with his participation in community projects, teaching artwork to children and teenagers, and involvement with activism focused on social change. 

Through his art, Vela hopes to continue to beautify the world and touch many lives along the way. “The journey of life is similar to the prayer of dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor, it’s to enjoy each step along the way,” said Vela. 

Vela’s work can be seen at Isotopes Stadium Mural, Downtown Albuquerque, El Paso, Las Cruces, Mountain View, La Montanita and Los Angeles.

After the death of Kobe and seven others, including his daughter Gianna, Vela was saddened and then inspired, creating four larger than life murals commemorating Bryant’s legacy. 

“My first piece started in Boyle Heights, I painted two Kobe murals and it blew up on social media,” said Vela, “it was great sharing Kobe and the tribute to his life.  

Artesia’s own London’s Pub & Grill owner Raj Patel saw the murals and reached out to Vela, who was more than happy to contribute. 

Now the popular restaurant , located at 11651 Artesia Blvd in Artesia, California, will have a Vela mural dedicated to Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and Nipsey Hussle.

With his cousin Luciano Volonte as his assistant and fellow artist, the two began to map out the wall, organizing paints, setting out to work on the mural this past Wednesday evening, February 12th.

 “I can usually finish a piece in one evening, but it really depends on how much energy I have. We are going to try and push through into the night and early morning, but for sure the outline will be done tonight.” Vela says it usually takes two days to complete a mural, “if I get inspired I will continue to work until it is done.”

Judging from his other works that can be found on Instagram @velaart and his website lavelaart.com, we hope he finishes the tribute to Kobe, Gianna, and Nipsey quickly.

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