One of the things that my hometown of Philadelphia takes great pride in is the thriving mural arts program (see this awesome post that Jana did last month). When I moved to Austin I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has quite a vibrant mural arts scene of its own. The street art here is definitely representative of the city itself – bold, colorful, and sometimes a little bit weird. As I’ve spent time wandering around getting to know the city, I’ve been snapping photos of some of my favorites. Here’s a little guide to the street art I’ve spotted, and some of the stories that go along with them. If you know of any other must-see murals please let me know!
S. 1st and Annie Street (Roadhouse Relics)
This large scale replica of a vintage postcard is one of the most beloved Austin murals. Located on the side of Roadhouse Relics, the mural was originally painted in 1998 by artist and owner Todd Sanders and his friend Rory Skagen. The mural was recently restored in 2013 thanks to a group of local businesses and generous donors who wanted to revitalize it after years of weather and visitors took their toll.
S. Congress & James (Jo’s Coffee)
I’m sure you’ve seen photos of this iconic mural, probably Austin’s most recognizable. I never knew the story behind it though, and it is very sweet. The message was originally spray-painted by local musician Amy Cook for her partner Liz Lambert, an owner at Jo’s. Though the wall was vandalized in 2011, the couple quickly restored it and it remains one of the most photographed spots in the city.
E. 7th & Waller
The original version of the mural by graffiti and stencil artist Federico Archuleta is located in East Austin – there is a larger replica of it on the wall of the Mexic-Arte museum on 4th and Congress.
E. 6th & Chicon
Not far from the “Till Death Do Us Part” mural, I stumbled upon another piece by Federico Archuleta.
E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd & Alamo St.
This was one of my favorites – so simple, and so cheerful and colorful. The mural was concepted by a designer at Creative Suitcase for the United Way for Greater Austin building.
Guadalupe & 21st
“Jeremiah the Innocent” was created by artist and musician Daniel Johnston on the wall of what was then a music store called Sound Exchange. When the shop closed, fans rallied to keep the mural, getting the attention of the media – including Rolling Stone magazine. The mural still stands, and the building it adorns is now a Thai restaurant called “Thai, how are you.”
Guadalupe between 37th and 38th
I wasn’t able to find the artist for this one, but I love the colors!
S. Congress & Gibson (Toms)
This simple and beautiful message by local artist Joe Swecon adorns the wall of Toms on South Congress.
1415 S. Congress
As someone who grew up watching Mr. Rogers, I had to include this mural spotted on the wall of Home Slice Pizza on South Congress.
1608 S. Congress (South Congress Books)
I love the cheerful colors of this mural that adorns the wall of South Congress Books.
S. Congress & Elizabeth
In addition to the mural, I love the shadows created when the light hits the Tesoros sign just right.
S. Congress & Elizabeth (Hey Cupcake!)
A cheerful reminder on the wall next to the Hey Cupcake! Airstream.
2426 Guadalupe (Mellow Mushroom)
I had to pull over and snap a quick photo of this adorable sleeping cat on the wall of Mellow Mushroom!
E. Cesar Chavez & Waller
A sea of blues on the wall of GoodLife Realty.
Springdale between 4th and 5th
A little East Austin humor.
E. 4th & Attayac
Not exactly a mural, but I really loved this little message spotted at 1800 E. 6th.Free People Blog
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A Tour of Austin Street Art