After Painting Over East Austin Mural, Shop Owners Tap Original Artist For Replacement

May 24, 2017

After painting over an East Austin artist's mural, owners of a 12th Street property are offering the artist an opportunity to paint a replacement.

Chris Rogers said he could not express how grateful he was to be able to paint the wall again. 

"I feel like Austin wants this wall, and they're asking me to do it," he said.

Rogers' mural at the corner of 12th and Chicon streets depicted famed black musicians such as Michael Jackson and James Brown, alongside Stevie Ray Vaughan and Salvador Dali. It was painted over by store owner Veronica Ortuño earlier this month. The move angered members of the community because she did not consult with them, generating a larger conversation about gentrification in East Austin.

On Tuesday, Rogers announced on Facebook that he'd spoken with Ortuño about the mural.

“So, I just had a fruitful conversation with Veronica, the owner of the store housing the mural space on 12th and Chicon,” Rogers wrote. “She gave me her word and blessing to repaint the wall that was painted over a week and half ago.”

"I felt like I deserve the right to do the mural," Rogers said, "whether it be a re-creation of the original piece or, you know, [whether I] take some ideas and thoughts from community and throw them through the filter of my brain and kind of do my own thing with it."

He said the community is holding a meeting Thursday to discuss what the new mural might look like.

"I'm just down to paint," he said. 

Rogers said Ortuño would like the mural done by Juneteenth, and that she and other members of the community would be chipping in to "take care" of him. 

People displeased with Ortuño’s decision took to the review pages of her clothing and jewelry shop, Las Cruxes, over the past few weeks to express their dismay. Others wrote in support of her and the work they say she has done to support local artists.

KUT  reached out to Ortuño. We will update this story if she responds.

In an interview earlier this month, Rogers said he wasn’t angry about the decision to paint over the mural.

“I was just really disappointed,” he said. “That one had a lot of significance, not just to me, but to that whole area. ... Local people would come up and not just congratulate me for doing good work and say hi, but they were thanking me for doing it. A couple of them even said, 'Thank you for bringing beauty to this area again.’ That was worth it for me.”

This post has been updated.