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Texas artist drawn to Omaha for Olympic Swim Trials

Muralist recreates Caleb Dressel’s tattoos on a custom car that will be auctioned off
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 8:25 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Caleb Dressel is a two-time Olympic champion. His tattoos can sometimes grab as much attention as his accomplishments in the pool.

Those tattoos brought Brittany Johnson, an artist from Austin, Texas, here to Omaha. She’s painting images of Dressel’s tattoos on a 2021 Toyota GR Supra, which can be viewed in the AquaLounge at CHI Health. Officials from Toyota said they picked Dressel for this project because his core values as an athlete and as an individual align with their values as a brand.

Johnson is thrilled to be part of the project.

“It’s pretty much a dream job,” she said. “I’m a muralist in Austin, Texas, so any good excuse to travel and paint is great. I love being here right now.”

Dressel has been a little busy lately, so word of his tattoo likeness on the car took him by surprise.

“I had a coach in Wave One send me a picture. I had no idea they were doing that,” he said. “The artist did a really good job. I saw she made her own post on Instagram, and it was really cool.

“I’m not sure how many hours it took her, but she did a really, really good job.”

When 6 News caught up with Johnson, she was putting the finishing touches on her work.

“This is day four,” she said. “Pretty much about 10 hours every day, so I’ve been working out here a lot. I’m super excited and honored. I’m ... it’s just a really cool experience to be here, and I feel honored.”

Dressel said he hoped to take a few minutes away from the pool to check out Johnson’s work.

“I haven’t seen it in person, no,” he said, “so maybe I’ll wander over there and check it out.”

The car will be auctioned off at the 2021 USA Swimming Golden Goggle Awards this year. All of the proceeds will go to the USA Swimming Foundation, which supports swimmers at all levels — providing funding to teams, athletes, and programs.

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