BELMONT, the Bronx — A local artist who painted a mural for late rapper DMX in the Bronx has responded to a request from the mother of slain teen Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz and created a new mural honoring him Wednesday morning.
“After I painted the DMX mural, Leandra Feliz reached out to me,” Efran Andaluz, known as Andaluz the Artist, told PIX11 News, referring to his tribute to the late rapper that was recently completed in the Bronx.
Regarding Guzman-Feliz’s murder at the hands of gang members, Andaluz said, “When this happened three years ago, I was planning to do a mural in the Bronx, but someone else did it first.”
There were actually at least three murals painted in the teen’s honor in 2018, after the high school sophomore was chased for blocks by Trinitarios gang members and fatally stabbed outside a Bathgate Avenue bodega, in a tragic case of mistaken identity.
The existing mural at the corner of East 183rd Street and Third Avenue — diagonally across the street from the hospital security booth where Guzman-Feliz took his last breath — was fading. It showed Guzman-Feliz wearing an NYPD jacket, a nod to his participation in the department’s Explorers program.
The new mural will show Guzman-Feliz in his uniform from Dr. Richard Izquierdo High School, where he was popular with fellow students and deans.
“I feel amazing,” the late teen’s mom, Leandra Feliz, told PIX11 News after seeing the progress Andaluz had made on the mural Wednesday morning. The artist had started working at 5 a.m.
“I feel like Junior is alive. It’s beautiful,” the mother said of the project.
Andaluz said he was using aerosol paint on the artwork. “They call it 94 Montana,” he noted.
Efran Andaluz said he rearranged his schedule to accommodate Feliz’s request. He had already been booked for four months.
“It meant a lot to me to do this, being that I’m half-Dominican,” Andaluz said. Guzman-Feliz’s parents were both born in the Dominican Republic.
Guzman-Feliz was a big New York Yankees fan, so the foundation established by former Yankee Robinson Cano, known as RC 24, agreed to pay for the artist’s services. The Cano Foundation performs charity work in underserved communities.
The mural is being created on the side wall of Total Care pharmacy, which is up the block from the E. 183rd Street bodega where Guzman-Feliz was attacked.
Andaluz said the mural would say, “Honoring Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz. Explorer.”
The mural will also have bible scripture from Psalm 33:4.
“I’m a heavy believer in God,” Andaluz said. He had asked Leandra Feliz if he could include scripture.
It turns out Junior’s mother also has a deep faith in God, and she chose the verse.
“For the word of the Lord is right and all his work is trustworthy.”