From your first drive around Central Austin, you’ll see that this is a city bursting with creative energy. Some of the best reminders of this excitement are the murals and street art that seem to grace every spare surface in this town. Austin businesses old and new have added public art to our streetscapes. Every time I visit a lively area, like South First Street or East Sixth Street, I notice creations that I’ve never seen before. And then there’s the “unofficial” street art, which can be just as memorable. I'm still in mourning for the mural of Matthew McConaughey as his Dazed and Confused character Wooderson, which once made getting caught in Lamar Boulevard traffic a lot more bearable. Sadly, it's gone now—a reminder to photograph any public art that you love during your Austin visit. Read on for five works—from Shepard Fairey’s Joan Jett Mural to the constantly changing Graffiti Park—worth a snapshot.
Hi, How Are You
This simple mural by musician Daniel Johnston has remained intact near the University of Texas for more than 20 years, even as the building where it was painted has changed from a record store to the Thai restaurant it is today. You may recognize the image: Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain used to wear a T-shirt with Johnston’s drawing.
Greetings From Austin
Originally painted in 1998 and recently refurbished, this mural at Roadside Relics on South First Street calls to mind a vintage postcard. It’s so beloved that businesses and individuals in the area chipped in to raise the money needed for the restoration. Stop by to see it when you enjoy one of the many great restaurants on South First.
You’re My Butter Half
This sweet and colorful bread-and-butter mural is especially popular with couples seeking a distinctively Austin background for their engagement photos. Since 2012, it has graced the United Way for Greater Austin building, thanks to a volunteer project by Creative Suitcase, a local graphic design agency.
You may know Shepard Fairey as the creator of the famous Barack Obama “Hope” poster back in 2008. He's one of the most famous street artists in the word, and in 2014 his work came to the streets of Austin. Fairey’s mural of Joan Jett, on the corner of 4th and Guadalupe, was unveiled during South by Southwest.
If you're seriously into street art, pay a visit to this every-evolving showcase of what local artists are up to. Located on an abandoned building site, it’s near places you’re likely to already be visiting anyway, such as Waterloo Records, so it’s easy to squeeze in a trip. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and watch your step.