Austin teacher honors Daniel Johnston with chainsaw art

If you drive past St. Andrew's Episcopal Middle School during off hours, chances are you will see a teacher with a chainsaw. 

Tony Barnes moved to Austin over a year ago. When he's done teaching students for the day he turns his attention towards creating art out of scrap wood. 

Since moving from Michigan, Barnes has been looking for a way to use his saw.

He says Austin's rich culture inspires him to use the tool to create. “All of the festivals and all of the things going on, it’s like a carnival. And, it always just makes me happy going out and experiencing all the different parts of the city." Barnes said. 

One of his favorite Austin creations is the Daniel Johnston "Jeremiah the Innocent" mural on West 21st and Guadalupe.

When Barnes heard of Johnston's recent death, he wanted to honor his legacy and work in mental health awareness. Inspired by Johnston's mural, Barnes created his own version of "Jeremiah the Innoncent" out of wood. “[Johnston] had such an influence on the city through his art and through his music and raising awareness specifically for mental health issues.” he said. 

Barnes will auction off his peice at the Holders of Hope gala on October 17th.

The proceeds will go to the "Hi How Are You and the Austin Center for Grief and Loss." “[Johnstons] legacy is strong in just finding out how someone is doing and if they’re having trouble, being there and supporting them what more could you ask for.” Barnes said.