Editor's note: After publication, neighbors, Austinites, and artist Chris Rogers gathered to restore the mural.
Just a week after its debut, an Austin mural depicting Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke as Superman has been vandalized. The sprawling piece, located next to the candidate's East Austin offices in between Cesar Chavez and East Second streets, went viral, garnering media coverage across the country, attracting countless visitors, and even the attention of the O'Rourke campaign.
Austin artist Chris Rogers completed "Beto for Texas" over the course of 40 hours, debuting the piece on October 22 in time for early voting. In a press release announcing the piece, Rogers said the theme for his latest work was “out of the darkness comes the light.”
Sometime in the early morning hours of October 27, someone vandalized the piece, using red and white spray paint to scrawl words including "imperialist" and "El Paso gentrifier" as well as a hammer and sickle.
The incident was reported to the Austin Police Department, along with a comment on Facebook that allegedly took responsibility for the act. (As of October 29, the comment had been removed, but a representative said APD had the information.)
In a statement, Rogers said he was “deeply saddened by this destructive act of hate” and hoped it will serve as motivation for voters to get to the polls. A few hours after the vandals struck, a white sheet had been draped over part of the mural reading, "Vote now, love trumps hate."
The artist will host a community cleanup event on October 30 from 4-8 pm. As a thank you to volunteers, Rogers will sign photographs of the original mural for those who help restore the artwork.