12th and Chicon

Beloved East Austin mural painted over — artist shocked and disappointed

Beloved Austin mural painted over — artist shocked and disappointed

Revelry presents Better Block Austin: 12th + Chicon
This mural at the intersection of 12th and Chicon streets has been painted over. Photo courtesy of Revelry

KVUE — A beloved mural in East Austin has been painted over, causing a storm of criticism on social media.

The mural, which featured artists such as James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, was originally painted by Chris Rogers in 2014, according the Austin American-Statesman. But on Friday, May 12, crews were seen painting over the art.

KVUE spoke with the artist, who said that with the art's disappearance, a piece of him is gone as well.

Fresh out of art school, he came to Austin to be around other artists. The mural was his first gig.

"I got this opportunity to paint this wall on 12th and Chicon for the Romani Art Gallery that was opening up, and, you know, it was no pay but I thought that it was a no-brainer," he said. "It would be a good way to just kind of say 'hi' to the community."

The community noticed and responded. They stopped by to talk to Rogers as he worked on the piece.

"They said thank you for bringing beauty to this part of town, and, you know, that struck me," he said. "Because to be doing what I do and have that kind of reception in a brand-new area where I don't know anybody, to have that kind of reception, it meant the world to me, man." 

Friday night, a friend told him his mural had been painted over. "I was shocked," Rogers said. "I wasn't angry — just really disappointed."

"I know a lot of people in that area had a connection to that piece."

An Austin Facebook page posted about the transition, saying, "The full transformation of 12th and Chicon from what was formerly the heart of Austin's black community to another gentrified, hipster corner is nearly complete." The post has been shared over 1,000 times since it was first written Friday morning.

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