Atlanta artist remembers partner who helped create Baby Yoda mural

The excitement over the Disney Plus series "The Mandalorian" reached a peak with the character deemed, "Baby Yoda." To ring in the new year, two Atlanta artists decided to create a mural of the beloved character. Pals Nels G. and Chris Veal teamed to get Baby Yoda's likeness on the Atlanta Beltline. The images took six hours to complete on New Year's Day. "Been wanting to paint this little dude for a while. Perfect way to spend newyears," Veal said on Instagram.

Chris Veal vowed to keep the mural he did with Nelson ‘Nels’ Guzman ‘looking good’ for as long as possible

Chris Veal, one of the artists behind the Atlanta Beltline’s Baby Yoda mural, took to Instagram Monday to remember his friend who helped create the piece.

Veal is doing his part to remember his collaborator, whom he said is one of his best friends. He said on Instagram May 25 that “While I know it won't last forever Imma keep your piece looking good long as I can. All your other work too. What I would want.”

The accompanying image shows a before and after of the mural, in which Veal had removed the spray paint and added, “Rest In Paint.” Veal said in the caption that the Baby Yoda artwork was “My last wall with @grafilthy_art.”

Veal spent five hours with Guzman on New Year’s Day painting their versions of the character deemed by “The Mandalorian” fans as “Baby Yoda.” Veal told the AJC in January of the Beltline mural that he hopes “people enjoy the work.” The piece shows one Baby Yoda staring off and another munching on the letters of  Guzman’s name, Nels G.

» RELATED: Submissions accepted for new art along the Beltline

In an email to the AJC, Veal shared how he met Guzman, instantly clicking before beginning to paint together.

“I met Nelson when he was working at Sam Flax art store here in Atlanta and immediately liked him,” he said. “We started painting together shortly after. Under bridges, in abandon(ed) buildings and commissions jobs.

Veal said Guzman would split his time between Atlanta and Los Angeles, flying back and forth to paint every couple of months.

“Many people knew him as the guy that did the cancer memorial pieces at (the) Kroger tunnel in honor of his sister,” Veal said. “Or the guy that drove a truck with prob around 6 or 700 cans of spray paint it the back, but outside of all that he was also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. A caring guy that stood up for what he believed in and looked after people close to him. Atlanta really lost a great guy.”

Guzman's family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to support the late artist's nieces, whom Veal said Guzman adopted after the death of his sister, and his parents.

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