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The Stories Behind Austin’s Best Street Art Murals

Our hometown of Austin, Texas is known for its live music, scrumptious food, and happening art scene. With so many local coffee shops, food trucks, landmarks, and unique boutiques to choose from, a day spent hanging out in Austin is sure to be jam-packed. On your next day out on the town, be sure to stop by and see some of Austin’s most prized landmarks – our vibrant art murals, which can be found painted in alleyways and on the sides of buildings all over town. If you’re looking for some good Instagram-worthy shots of Austin, here are five of the most iconic Austin street murals to check out:

Greetings from Austin

Inspired by a retro 1940s postcard, this iconic mural can be found on the side of the Roadhouse Relics building at the intersection of South First and Annie Street. Owner Todd Sanders originally bought the building when it was practically in shambles, long before South First transformed into the hot spot it is today. In 1998, he and friend Rory Skagen painted the “Greetings from Austin” mural hoping to brighten up the declining neighborhood. The mural was more than well-received – people loved it! In 2013, the community raised funds for a $10,000 restoration of the mural in less than a month, demonstrating the depth of Austin’s love for this cherished work of art.

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The Greetings from Austin mural was recently given a facelift thanks to neighborhood fundraising efforts. Photo credit Philip Kromer on Flickr

If you decide to stop by for a selfie with Sanders’ mural, you might just want to pop your head into the Roadhouse Relics shop. Inside, Sanders designs fabulous vintage neon signs that harken back to the 1950s. These glowing works of art were recently featured in the Macy’s American Icon Series, and the current inventory includes everything from a rocket ship to a cowboy hat and boots. If you’re looking for design inspiration, one of these hand-crafted signs would really light up that blank wall you can’t figure out what to do with.

You’re My Butter Half

You can find the playful “You’re My Butter Half” mural on the side of the United Way for Greater Austin building on East MLK. Artist John Rockwell of Creative Suitcase painted the mural in 2012 as part of a rebranding effort for the United Way. Rockwell, who was inspired by his teen years working at a dairy in Wisconsin, hopes the mural exemplifies the values of the United Way and spreads positivity throughout the neighborhood.

I Love You So Much

Located on the side of Jo’s Coffee on South Congress, this simple mural features the words “I love you so much” scrawled in red cursive handwriting. Austin musician Amy Cook spray painted the words for her then-girlfriend and Jo’s Coffee owner, Liz Lambert.

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Grab a coffee from Jo’s, then pose for a pic with someone you love next to this SoCo icon. Picture credit Ms. Akr on Flickr

“I can’t remember if she was mad at me, or if we were in a fight, or if she was having a bad day. Most likely she was mad at me, and I knew it would make her happy,” Cook told the Austin Post. The mural has since become one of the most popular landmarks for locals and tourists alike and is the setting of countless couples’ photos.

Jeremiah the Innocent

Better known as the “Hi, How Are You?” frog, Jeremiah the Innocent made his debut on Daniel Johnston’s 1983 release, Hi, How Are You: The Unfinished Album. The Sound Exchange record store commissioned Johnston for a mural of the frog on the side of their store at 21st Street and Guadalupe in 1993. The mural inspired numerous protests after the building’s new owners scheduled its removal when the Sound Exchange closed in 2003. However, the city’s love for the mural successfully stopped the frog’s removal, and you can still see it adorning the outside of the building when strolling along the Drag.

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Thanks to protesters, Jeremiah the Frog was saved from demolition.

South Austin Music

Home to SXSW and Austin City Limits, Austin has long been known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Novice and accomplished musicians alike flock to Austin for a chance to play at one of the city’s many live music venues. And when local musicians need new gear and equipment, they head to South Austin Music, an Austin institution. Since 1986, South Austin Music has served artists with everything they need to make great music.

In 2006, the store commissioned local artist Aaron Sacco to create a mural featuring the images of over thirty local Austin musicians, including Kevin Fowler, Guy Forsyth, Patrice Pike and Alejandro Escoveda. You can see this awesome mural for yourself by moseying on down to the store’s long-time location on South Lamar, right next to the Saxon Pub.

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