LAKE STATION | A colorful owl with the message "Where Are You Going?" decorates the wall outside the counselors' offices.
The mural and other airbrushed artwork throughout the hallways at Edison Junior-Senior High School are the product of Airbrushmonsters.com artist Diego Gonzalez.
"My goal is to inspire students to be creative. Art is one of the neglected things and often takes second place to sports," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez, 26, of Hobart, said the project at the school was initiated on a small scale by math teacher Chris Elizondo.
Elizondo said she asked Gonzalez, whom she knew through her son, to airbrush colorful but meaningful murals inside her classroom.
"It seemed like I had empty walls in the classroom I had been moved to, and I thought of Diego," Elizondo said.
The project then mushroomed, thanks to the support of Vice Principal Angela Ruiz, and Gonzalez was asked to do other murals throughout the school.
Gonzalez, a graduate of River Forest High School and Purdue University Calumet, knew when he was 16 years old he wanted to pursue a career in graphic arts.
He said he was inspired, while still in high school, to start a business called Midwest Graphics.
Earlier this month, that business was incorporated into the Gary-based Airmonsters.com, Gonzalez said.
Although money to pay for the colorful artwork is beginning to run dry, Gonzalez said he plans to do a final mural at the entrance of the school.
"The walls are like my enemy," Gonzalez said.
The mural, which on Tuesday he painted freehand using a special spray can, will include the Lake Station water tower, a welcome to Lake Station sign and the school's mascot, the Eagle.
The murals have received notice from the students Gonzalez hoped to inspire, including eighth-grader Alyssa Ellis.
"It adds more to the school. The murals are unique," Ellis said.