Austin Welcomes Street Art
The public murals around Austin include a mix of commissioned work and unsanctioned drawings that survive because of widespread support. When property owners announced plans to paint over Daniel Johnston's Hi, How Are You mural, a loud public outcry helped save the friendly frog cartoon. The Hope Outdoor Gallery was originally just an unfinished building covered in graffiti, but neighbors and local artists have turned it into a thriving public art space that supports aspiring artists.
Hi, How Are You
One of the most beloved murals in Austin, Hi, How Are You? was created by Daniel Johnston, who is also a musician. The frog is a variation of the image he drew for the cover of his 1983 album of the same name. The artwork gained worldwide fame when Kurt Cobain wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the image during a 1991 promotional tour.
Location: 2100 Guadalupe Street
I Love You So Much
This simple mural on the wall of Jo's Coffee on South Congress Avenue has become a popular spot for people to take photos. The wall was covered in graffiti in 2017, but the image was quickly restored. Musician Amy Cook originally spray-painted the wall as a love letter to her girlfriend. Now, people from around the world can feel that Austin love.
Location: 1300 South Congress Avenue
Puerto Rican artist Ana Maria painted this jaw-dropping mural as part of SXSW in 2015. The artist, who also goes by Ana Marietta, often depicts humans and bugs in mixed-up forms. She studied animal sciences while attending the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus. Her in-depth knowledge of animal biology and anatomy can be clearly seen in the painstaking way she depicts her humanoid creatures. See more of her work at anamarietta.com.
Location: 1209 Red River Street (behind Brick Oven Restaurant)
Spaceman with Floating Pizza
A former school teacher, Mike "Truth" Johnston paints everything from street art to commissioned works such as the mural on the side of Google Fiber vans in Austin. When he's not painting on vans and walls, he's often creating posters using wheat paste. See more of his work at www.mikejohnstonartist.com.
Location: 1209 Red River Street (behind Brick Oven Restaurant)
Til Death Do Us Part
Created by Federico Archuleta, Til Death Do Us Part was made using a combination of stencils and freehand spray painting. Also known as El Federico, the artist has painted murals throughout Austin. See more of his work at fe-de-rico.com.
Location: Corner of East 7th Street and Waller
Hope Outdoor Gallery
The Hope Outdoor Gallery is part of an educational project run by Hope Events, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting art and music. The "community paint park" gives up-and-coming street artists and muralists a place to display large-scale work. The site has become a community gathering spot and is used for everything from dance classes to outdoor dinner parties. Anyone can stop by to see the artwork, but advance registration is required for organized events.
Location: Corner of 11th Street and Baylor Street
First painted in 1974 by artist/comedian/musician Kerry Awn and a few friends known collectively as the Austintatious Artists, the mural depicts highlights of Austin's history and culture. The mural was vandalized in 2014, but the original artists weren't ready to let their work fade into history just yet. They raised funds, rented a power washer and repainted the mural themselves. The mural serves as the backdrop for the 23rd Street Artists' Market, an outdoor area with booths selling locally made art, jewelry, clothing, leather goods and various oddities.
Location: Near the corner of 23rd Street and Guadalupe.
Greetings from Austin
Adorning the southern wall of Roadhouse Relics, Greetings from Austin is a supersized re-creation of an iconic postcard. The adjoining building is now the studio and gallery of artist Todd Sanders, who makes amazing neon signs. Sanders and fellow artist Rory Skagen worked on the mural together when it was created in 1998. After more than a decade of Austin weather, the paint was starting to fade, but the original artists and a few friends helped restore the mural in 2013 and made those colors pop again. This is a popular spot for taking pictures, but be wary of the busy street that's only steps away from the mural.
Location: 1720 South 1st Street
Varsity Theatre Mural
Another true survivor on the Austin street art scene, this mural has seen the attached building go from an art house theater to a hip record store to, sadly, now a Wells Fargo branch. The original Varsity Theatre sign still hangs over the entrance, however. Artist Carlos Lowry painted the mural in 1979. It features major figures in cinema and music history, including Orson Welles, Greta Garbo and Jimmy Cliff.
Location: 2402 Guadalupe Street
Jim Morrison Mural
Featuring Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and other musical greats, this black-and-white mural was originally on the side of Cheapo Records. The stunning mural can be easy to miss because it's along the side of the building and toward the back of the parking lot. The record store is long gone, but the mural still adds a special touch to the side of the GW Boutique, Austin's fanciest Goodwill store.
Location: 914 North Lamar Boulevard
Rhapsody Mural in East Austin
Located at East 11th and Waller Street in east Austin, this tile mosaic mural, titled Rhapsody, was created by John Yancey. It is part of the Dr. Charles E. Urdy Plaza. Still a working artist and teacher, John Yancey is the John D. Murchison Professor in Art at the University of Texas at Austin. He focuses on community-based murals and mosaic public art. For more examples of his work, see his UT bio page.
Location: East 11th and Waller Street
Joy of Life Mural
Titled Le Bonheur de Vivre (The Joy of Life), this mural near the UT campus and The Drag was painted by Doug Jaques. He died in 2013, but his work can still be seen all over town. He also painted the iconic underwater backdrop at Esther's Follies, a comedy club on 6th Street. To see more of the artist's work, visit www.dougjaques.com.
Location: West 24th Street and Guadalupe.
Artist Erin Bower painted the mural as part of Dario's Last Rodeo show and the East Austin Studio tour. By day, the up-and-coming artist works at Showgoat Mural Works, where she produces large-scale signs and other commercial imagery for clients throughout central Texas. See more of the artist's work at www.erinmbower.com.
Location: Cesar Chavez Boulevard
Is it Superman, James Dean, the Fonz maybe? Originally created during former Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s ill-fated Texas senate campaign, this mural in east Austin has been updated with “2020” for O’Rourke’s presidential campaign. The artist, Chris Rogers, created it as a tribute to his unifying message, saying it wasn’t really intended to be overtly political. While O’Rourke’s presidential campaign has floundered in the initial stages, the positive, ever-gesticulating, skateboard-riding politician is still a big hit among the hometown crowd. Location: Between Cesar Chavez and East 2nd Street east of Waller Street.