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Long Island-Based Artist Efren Andulez Pays Homage To The Nine Victims of the January 26th Calabasas Helicopter Tragedy With a Mural at SOCIAL in Costa Mesa

Written By: Diego E. Gaxiola
Photography Provided By: Eloy De La Torre, SOCIAL Costa Mesa Kobe Mural Costa Mesa

On the morning of Jan. 26, the Southern California community was forever changed as word quickly spread of the tragic helicopter accident that took the lives of nine beloved individuals. After being informed of the devastating news, SOCIAL Costa Mesa co-owner Andrew Dorsey sprung into action, connecting with Long Island-based artist Efren Andaluz III to create a mural that respectfully pays tribute to the nine souls that continue to be mourned by millions.

When a tragedy impacts a community, especially one as tight-knit as Orange County’s, it seems as though everyone had some sort of connection to the individuals who lost their lives. The nine victims included NBA MVP Kobe Bryant and his loving daughter Gianna Bryant. Veteran pilot Ara Zobayan and Christina Mauser, a mother of three, were also passengers on board that Sunday morning. John Altobelli, Orange Coast College’s longtime baseball coach, along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa Altobelli, lost their lives in the crash as well. Lastly, longtime Tustin Unified school teacher Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton, were among the victims of the crash. Dorsey knew something needed to be done to honor those in the community who will be greatly missed. 

Dorsey discusses what first inspired him to reach out to Andaluz The Artist, explaining, “After I heard about the helicopter crash, I thought, ‘Man, I would love to do a mural to not only honor Kobe, but to also honor all the other Orange County victims who all lived so close to the restaurant.’” Dorsey turned to social media, stumbling upon Andaluz The Artist’s breathtaking art found in Brooklyn. After a phone call and sharing some ideas, Dorsey agreed to fly Andaluz out to begin the mural. Since a young age, Andaluz has lived by Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” in order to always be the best version of himself. He goes on to say, “To me, the Mamba Mentality is that drive that won’t stop till I get the job done type of mindset.” 

The mural, unlike any others that have been created so far, will include all nine of the individuals who lost their lives that morning. “Kobe and his daughter will be looking out towards the other seven faces of the victims of the accident,” says Dorsey. Andaluz has already begun painting the mural and will be working on it through Monday, Feb. 24. “I’m hoping that this art piece will inspire that one creative kid who doesn’t think he can make money doing art and doesn’t know what to do with himself,” explains Andaluz.

When asked what inspires him, Andaluz explains, “I wouldn’t be able to do it without God. The way I am able to paint and think is all thanks to God.” In a difficult time, while many are still in mourning, it is comforting to know the nine bright faces we miss so dearly will have this special place in the Orange County community. 

You can watch Andaluz The Artist paint his mural live from Feb. 20-24 at SOCIAL Costa Mesa. Kobe Mural Costa Mesa

SOCIAL Kitchen + Craft Bar
512 W 19th St 
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
949.642.2425 Kobe Mural Costa Mesa