Local muralist Tess Parker truly outdid herself this time.
The young East Islip painter — who has beautified dozens of walls and other facades in South Shore communities and across Long Island — crafted a spectacular painting of Blue Point native Gabby Petito and gifted it to Petito’s father and family in Florida this month.
In her azure-toned piece, Parker, 31, captures Petito smiling widely while positioning a pair of sunglasses atop her head of blond hair. Three blue butterflies float around her.
Wickman Petito, a Commack native, lives with Gabby Petito’s father Joseph and their children in Vero Beach, Florida.
Petito’s disappearance and murder at the hands of her boyfriend and traveling partner Brian Laundrie in August 2021 captured the attention of the nation and even the world. The 22-year-old Blue Point travel blogger had been documenting a cross-country trip with Laundrie that summer.
Photos and videos she had posted on social media of her trip went viral, in wake of the news of her disappearance, with internet sleuths successfully working to assist authorities in finding her body. Her remains were found in a national forest in Wyoming. Laundrie, also from Blue Point, later committed suicide.
In October 2021, Parker painted a mural of Petito on the east facing wall of the building in the Mazzei & Blair Plaza in Blue Point. It’s located just east of Nichols Road.
“I was nervous that I’d struggle to capture her, but I did it,” Parker said at the time. “This is for the Petito family.”
Below is an Instagram post with Parker and Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt.
Top photo: Facebook