Here’s one thing you didn’t need to wait in line for at SXSW: street art. This year the festival partnered with artist collective Pow!Wow!Hawaii! and locals SprATX to bring visual art into the mix of music, interactive and film. Austin is a city that embraces art almost as much as tacos, so the project made sense; and while the city's proud of its weirdness, it's actually characterized by its friendliness, so naturally the initiative included several collaborative murals. Unlike most events or "activations" during SXSW, this was a refreshing escape from wristbands and buzzwords. Artists were flown in from around the country to work alongside local artists; together they created a series of large-scale murals around the city — and the results are beautiful. Take a look:
Mural by Michael Johnston, aka Truth, an artist who lives and works in Austin.
Mural by Austin artist MOUF.
Mural by Ana Maria, aka anamarietta, a Puerto Rican artist who lives and works in Texas.
Artist Kamea Hadar.
Artist Jeffrey Gress aka Pro_Gress.
Mural by Argentinian artist Lucas Aoki, who lives and works in Austin.
Artist Yoskay Yamamoto at work.
Tati Suarez, a Miami-based artist known for her paintings of big-eyed women.
Mural by Austrailian artist RONE.
Mural by artist David 'Meggs' Hooke, who is based in Los Angeles. The mural reads "Words to the Wise."
The vibe at these walls between the artists and passersby was one of camaraderie, joy and 100% chill. When most people at SXSW are jumping from Uber to pedi cab to pack in a schedule full of shows and panels, these artists were stationed at their walls, steadily creating; watching them was an escape from the frenzy and highlighted a whole different side of the city.
Seeing how successful this year's SXSW street art venture was, it's only natural that next year's will be even bigger. Austin is about art as much as it is about music, but the visuals just haven't been center stage yet during the city's flagship festival. Unlike the convention center stands and temporary stages, once the SXSW crowd leaves Austin, these murals stay behind as the ultimate souvenir for locals. Well, until the next artist paints over them.
All photos by Elisa Rodríguez-Vila
Elisa is a designer & illustrator that writes (and doodles) about pop culture, women, diversity and all things art. She is the human behind Fusion's Instagram account and Elvis Presley is her spirit animal.