South Congress boasts murals that tell story of Austin

Elizabeth Ucles

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Austin prides itself for its variety of street art and murals. It’s one of the aspects that keeps the city at its weirdest.

Recently, artists Aaron Meshon and local artist Mike ‘Truth’ Johnston came together with the Texas Monthly to create South Congress’ newest mural at Soco Books.

The mural encompasses all things Austin: the downtown skyline, Austin City Limits, the Colorado River, food trucks, sunny days and more.

Designer Aaron Meshon described the inspiration for mural after his visit in Austin.

“I had such a fun time eating cupcakes and BBQ and meeting friends,” Meshon said. “I think I ate so much that some of the BBQ started smiling back at me before it was in my belly.”

Truth was able to bring Meshon’s design to life by enlarging it and painting on it on the side of the bookstore.

What is exciting about the newest mural is the anticipation behind it. Meshon said that the mural will be used for a top-secret thing that will be happening in the next few weeks.

With South Congress’ newest mural done, it just seemed right to explore the rest of the famous street in the search of some of Austin’s greatest gems.

One of the most well-known pieces on South Congress is one that sits close to home, and that’s the “I love you so much” piece at Jo’s Coffee near James St.

The spraypainted design comes from local musician Amy Cook, who spraypainted the words for her partner and the majority owner at Jo’s, Liz Lambert, in 2010.

Two other notable murals can be found at the Chevron Food Mart near Riverside St. and Mi Casa Gallery near Milton St., both done by Russell W. Reid.

The two-part mural at Mi Casa Gallery was painted in 2004. Interestingly enough Reid said the woman on the mural is actually his wife. The other part of the mural is called “El Caballo Rojo,” named after the red horse.

Josh Row from Show Goat Murals explained exactly what the process of creating a mural is like, using with his mural on the side of Hill Country Weavers near Milton St. as an example.

Row said that after throwing around ideas, the store liked the phrase that is on now the mural “All You Knit is Love.”

Row said that his murals “always begin with light sketching, enabling the mind to wander.”

After two weeks of designing and painting, his mural was completed.

Each mural is different in their own way, representing a different aspect of Austin.

For instance, a mural that encompasses Austin’s eco-friendly environment can be found at Hi-Tech Automotive near Annie St: “‘Don’t Drain It Let’s Save It, We Care.”

The artistic aspects of the city are captured by the mural on Tesoros Trading Company near Elizabeth St. — the painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe by Federico Archuleta — and by the painted icons on the side of The Continental Club Gallery.

Who can forget the the wacky and intricate paintings of flying pigs, vegetables and pizza on the sides of the beloved Southside Flying Pizza near College Ave?

Texas and Austin itself are both embodied by the mural at Heritage Boot near Nellie St. by Greg Jones and the unforgettable “Austin TX” mural on the side of HEB near Oltorf St. by Blue Genie Art.

The murals recount a great history on dozens of walls.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, South Congress is worth about a million.