ATX Graffiti Tour: a Guide by West Chelsea Contemporary
It’s hard to go far in Austin without spotting a colorfully painted wall or intricate mural. From massive murals to spray painted messages, Austin is home to stylistically diverse street art created by international art legends and local creators alike. In conjunction with our exhibition Concrete to Canvas, we have compiled some favorites into our very own ATX Graffiti Tour.
The Beauty of Liberty & Equality
East Ceaser Chavez & Congress
This past March, OBEY Giant Shepard Fairey and Candian artist Sandra Chevrier teamed up to create Austin’s largest mural yet. The work is a result of a collaboration between Downtown Austin Alliance’s Writing on the Walls initiative and spans 12 stories on the west side of The LINE Hotel. The mural celebrates the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.
Black Austin Matters
Congress Ave, Sixth to Ninth St.
This past June, over 30 local artists painted the statement in bright yellow paint leading to the Texas Capitol. The mural came as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the civil unrest felt across the nation after the death of George Floyd. The message across Congress Ave. was organized by Capitol View Arts and the Austin Justice Coalition.
Blek le Rat Stencil
807 East 4th Street
Pioneering French graffiti artist and “Father of stencil graffiti” Blek le Rat’s work can be found on the outside of Native Hostel on I-35 and East 4th Street. Blek created this piece in his iconic stencil style, which is known for inspiring Banksy, and even included a nod to his namesake.
Eyes on Crate
ATX local Bill Tavis, whose work can be seen in Concrete to Canvas, has many murals all around town. One of our favorites is this shipping container fully covered in Tavis’ halftone style.
Greetings from Austin
1702 South 1st Street
‘Greetings from Austin’ is an ATX classic, drawing gaggles of visitors and locals alike to its home on South 1st. The postcard painting has been around for 20 years, long before murals became a de facto part of Austin’s landscape.
Hi, How Are You?
21st Street and Guadalupe
American singer-songwriter, visual artist, and Austin legend Daniel Johsnton’s signature Hi, How Are You? Frog, also known as Jeremiah the Innocent can be found along The Drag. The mural was commissioned by long-gone record store the Sound Exchange in 1993.
I Love You So Much
1300 South Congress Avenue
Another Austin classic and popular photo-op is the ‘I Love You So Much’ mural spray painted on the side of Jo’s Coffee. This mural was created in 2010 by musician Amy Cook who left the note as a love letter to her girlfriend.
807 East 4th Street
The walls of Native Hostel are a gold mine for graffiti art and beautiful murals. JonOne, another artist featured in Concrete to Canvas, came of age during the heyday of graffiti art and hip-hop culture in NYC. His colorful mural created by layering words joined Austin’s collection of street art in 2017.
South Congress & Gibson St.
The anonymous French street artist, known as Invader, began creating his signature mosaic Space Invaders in the late 1990s. Invader’s signature use of mosaic tiles is a reference to the ubiquitous pixels of digital imaging and information. Austin is lucky to have one of his small characters hiding on the North West corner of South Congress and Gibson Street.
Brazos & Second
In 2019, Art in Public Places (AIPP), a program of the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division commissioned artist Josef Kristofoletti to create Tau Ceti, the tallest work of public art in Austin. This dynamic piece creates a stunning optic experience as sunlight from surrounding buildings refract and intermingle with the painted gradient color spectrum.
12th St. and Chicon
The vibrant We Rise, created by Chris Rogers, depicts Black history features icons like Michael Jordan and James Brown, and for many stands as a physical embodiment of the spirit of the historically African-American community where it resides. Back in 2017, the neighborhood rallied to reclaim this important piece of East Austin’s identity after the original mural had been painted over by a new store.
Willie For President
1415 South Congress Avenue
American musician and Texas icon Willie Nelson can be found aside Stag Provisions on South Congress. The mural was created in 2017 by three local artists: portrait by Jacqui Oakley, typography by Erick Montes, and painted by Joe Swec.
Rachel Beaudoin, Art Consultant