Upon relocating to Austin you might begin noticing that there is artwork almost everywhere you look. From stencils, to murals, to giant outdoor exhibits, there really is something for everyone. In-line with the city’s mantra of “Keep Austin Weird”, local artists have produced some funky and quintessentially “Austin” works of art. Scattered throughout the urban sprawl, we have compiled a list of iconic pieces that are a must-see for Austin newcomers.
By Austin Scott
HOPE Outdoor Gallery
Otherwise known as the Graffiti Park or Castle Hill, this outdoor art gallery is a three tiered, constantly evolving compilation of spray-art. This site was originally intended to be new housing, but zoning laws prevented further development. Since then, this half-developed concrete jungle has attracted artists and visitors alike to appreciate and create art on its many walls and layers. Established in 2011 as the HOPE Outdoor Gallery, in part as a tribute to artist Shepard Fairey’s 2006 HOPE campaign (Helping Other People Everywhere) to aid Darfur, Sudan. In edition to the extensive gallery, a short hike to the top will greet you with stunning views of downtown Austin!
Jeremiah the Innocent
Located on the ‘Drag’, across the street from The University of Texas at Austin, Jeremiah adorns the south-side wall of restaurant Thai Spice’s building at the corner of 21st and Guadalupe Street. Known to most as the “Hi, How Are You?” frog, this unassuming bullfrog was thrust into stardom in 1983 on Daniel Johnston’s album cover Hi, How Are You: The Unfinished Album and was then commissioned in 1993 to become the street side mural we all know and love.
I Love You So Much
Gracing an exterior wall of Jo’s Hot Coffee on South Congress Avenue, this adorable Austin classic has become a staple for locals and visitors alike. Originally painted by a local musician as a love letter to her partner, this simple work of art offers the perfect photo-op, attracting a seemingly never-ending stream of visitors- much to the delight of Jo’s and surrounding businesses. “I love you so much” has even inspired (somewhat snarky) spin-offs, such as the “I hate you so much” spray painted on the walls of Bungalow, a Rainey Street favorite.
Greetings From Austin
Created in the image of a vintage post card, this street side mural was initially created in 1998 by local artist and owner of Roadhouse Relics, Todd Sanders. Tucked away at 1720 S. First Street, you can check out Sander’s indoor art gallery and then step outside to snap a photo in front of the recently restored “Greetings From Austin” mural. And an added tip: photo requires photographer to step into the road or across the street – beware of traffic!
You’re My Butter Half
Installed by design firm Creative Suitcase in 2012 as part of its bi-annual 2-day volunteer effort, “You’re My Butter Half” adds a quirky flare to the walls of the United Way for Greater Austin building at 2000 E. MLK Jr. Blvd. This vibrant, breakfast inspired mural provides the perfect backdrop for your couple photos, best friend shoots, or really any photographic occasion. This piece really begs the question: Who’s your butter half?