Local graffiti artists painting mural to honor San Diego Padres great Tony Gwynn

SAN DIEGO - A new project is underway to honor San Diego Padres great Tony Gwynn.

Wildstyle Technicians, a group of local graffiti artists, is transforming a wall on 16th and J streets into a custom-painted mural honoring Gwynn.

The owner of Undisputed Downtown, a boxing gym, agreed to let the artists paint the mural on the side of the building.

"The way he mastered his craft is what we try to do as graffiti artists, so when he passed, immediately in our minds we wanted to do a tribute mural," said Justice Romero.

Gwynn, who was a sports icon in San Diego, entertained fans for 20 years as a star player for the Padres. The 54-year-old died last month after battling cancer.

His loss especially hit home for Saratoga Sake, who is also battling the disease. He says that personal connection is a big reason he wanted to paint a mural so Gwynn's legend will be seen by both locals and visitors all year round.

"He's larger than life," said Sake. "Hopefully it will bring smiles to people's faces 'cause Tony Gwynn had a huge great smile."

The artists have painted dozens of murals across the county over the past several years. They hope this one will also serve as a history lesson for local kids who never got the chance to see "Mr. Padre" himself on the field.

"For the younger generation that doesn't really know much about Tony Gwynn, hopefully they'll ask, 'Who is that?'" Sake said.

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