San Gabriel Valley artist honors victims of Monterey Park mass shooting with lifelike portraits

ByShayla Girardin KABC logo
Monday, January 30, 2023
Artist honors Monterey Park shooting victims with lifelike portraits
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For artist Jonathan Chang, the mass shooting in Monterey Park hit close to home. He's hoping to raise awareness about who the victims were through his art.

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- San Gabriel Valley artist Jonathan Chang is honoring the victims of the Monterey Park mass shooting with lifelike portraits.

The artist is hoping to raise awareness about who the victims were through his art.

For Chang, the shooting last week hit close to home.

"Monterey Park is an area where I grew up around. I went to kindergarten in that area. I've driven by that location countless times," he said. "It's like a very sacred place for the Asian community."

RELATED: Monterey Park shooting victims honored at special Mass, vigil

Those killed by a gunman who opened fire at a Monterey Park dance hall are being remembered by friends and family for the zest for life that brought them out that night to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Chang has been using his art for social causes for several years.

"We all have something to contribute," he said. "I design, I do art for a living. I felt I could contribute something to enact positive social change."

As victims' names started pouring in last week, Chang set out to share their stories through his artwork.

"I'm usually drawing and reading about them at the same time - a news article or some tweet I heard about talking about who the person was."

He's painted six of the 11 victims and plans to paint them all.

"I really wanted to center the story around the victims and the families to show people, after the news and the media has comes and gone, a lot of these families have to deal with this for life," Chang said.

His artwork is gaining attention on Instagram, where he shares the painting, a brief bio of the victim and links to their families GoFundMe accounts.

"I wish my art could share more of these stories and have a glimpse into who these people were," Chang said.