06/16/16 11:30am

HOUSTON’S ELECTRIFYING INSULT ART HAS ITS CRITICS graffiti at 1601 Alabama St.,  Midtown, Houston, 77004A roving Houston graffiti connoisseur issued a short but scathing review this week of the latest addition to the utility box at the corner of Alabama St. and Almeda Rd. via the automatic city complaint-filing app SeeClickFix. The user calls the scrawled proclamation ‘bad art’; the Midtown Management District says it’s on the case. The display, directly across Almeda from hammock-rich beer garden Axelrad, does not appear to be one of the coming-up-on-100 mini murals being placed on electrical utility boxes around the city by Up Art Studios. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of electrical utility box at 1601 Alabama St.: SeeClickFix

03/04/16 1:00pm

Whitewashed Obama Mural, Travis St. and West Alabama, Midtown, HoustonNew Reginald Adams' Mural of President Obama, Travis St. and West Alabama, Midtown, HoustonAs polling dates roll through the country, the oft-transformed mural outside of the former Obama campaign headquarters in Midtown has been spotted sporting a fresh coat of background white. Allyn West, who first noticed the political banner’s changed stripes on Super Tuesday, sends this Disillusioned Thursday snapshot of the now-blanked wall. So far, the site has featured various incarnations of Obama: in the sky-gazing HOPE poster from Shephard Fairey, in a sunglassed hip-with-the-kids pose, and most recently in the above star-spangled baby-on-banner scene that first appeared in 2013.

The past murals have been the subject of political displeasure for at least one person, judging by 2 previous acts of similarly-angled paint vandalism:


State of the Mural
02/29/16 3:00pm

Mural at former Heights Finance Station Post Office, 1050 Yale St., Houston Heights

The recently dumped Heights Finance Station post office at Yale and 11th streets was treated to a makeover this month, as demolition looms on the horizon. If all goes as planned, the building will eventually be brushed aside to make way for the younger-and-likely-prettier Heights Central Station mixed-use shopping center headed for the site; until then, it’s playing canvas for some Houston graffiti artists, including Wiley Robertson (one of the usual suspects behind giant love notes spotted around town).

A reader sends a fresh batch of lunchtime snapshots of the mural, which seems to have been wrapped up in the last few days:


Love Is In The Aerosol
12/01/15 9:00am

Mural at The Secret Group Comedy Club, 2101 Polk Street, East Downtown, Houston  
Mural at The Secret Group Comedy Club, 2101 Polk Street, East Downtown, Houston The evolving mural of Bart Simpson’s tragic fall in East Downtown (first into poorly spelled petty vandalism, and then into legal repercussions for same) has been updated several more times in the past few months, with some dark twists along the way. The mural is located on the outside of 2101 Polk St. — a building currently being transformed into a comedy club by The Secret Group, which hopes to open the space by the end of the year. The original progression is shown below:


Comedy Club Goes Dark
05/11/15 4:00pm

2101 Polk St., East Downtown, Houston

Who’s been tagging the former Malloy’s Register Company building at the corner of Polk St. and St. Emanuel St. in East Downtown with Simpsons graffiti, an assortment of wheatpaste posters, and a TABC license application? The building’s future tenants, who bear the mysterious name The Secret Group. For now, The Secret Group has been arranging and promoting a series of comedy and music performances in various spots around town. But come November, the promoters plan to open up their own native bar, comedy club, and music venue in the building at 2101 Polk St.


El Barto Was Here
03/04/13 3:00pm

THE BEST REPAINTING JOB IN THE CITY Iterative Obama muralist Reginald Adams relays his account of the 3 separate murals he designed for the West Alabama St. wall of a Travis St. building for Breakfast Klub owner Marcus Davis — and his responses to the 4 separate paint adjustments made to it by successive vandals: “It triggers some things I was raised around — if someone knocks you down you get back up. Now other people are invested so I feel obligated not to let someone’s ignorance deter my work. I’ve got a lot of paint and a lot of life ahead of me and I think I can outlast the vandal. As crazy as this has all been it hasn’t hurt my brand as an artist. I’ve gotten more PR out of this work than from 150 projects I’ve done. If the vandal wants to keep playing, I’m in it until the end. . . . the vandalism is creating new opportunities for me to think about the imagery, to engage the public in new ways, create new conversations, and to meet new amazing people. The GE corporation wants me for a new mural because they saw the Obama story. The vandal is not thinking it — but he’s enriching my art career.” [Glasstire; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

02/14/13 3:00pm

Look at the baby! Wednesday night Reginald Adams led a team of volunteers in painting this archetypal smooch in place of the ever-changing mural on the side of the former Democratic campaign headquarters at the corner of West Alabama and Travis in Midtown.

Photo: Candace Garcia

02/11/13 4:00pm

Quite a few of you have sent in similar photos of this befaced sign at Hyde Park and Waugh for Urban Living’s proposed Hyde Park Maison — that’s French for a 4-story, 3-bedroom townhouse. According to the development company’s website there will be five such maisons, ranging from $589,000 to $689,000, squeezed onto the corner lot bound by Waugh, Hyde Park, Fairview, and Upas, just north of Westheimer. Want to see them without the commentary?


02/01/13 12:30pm

Before Daniel Anguilu started redecorating Midtown, he tagged trains — and, apparently, he drives one, too, says a press release Metro released yesterday: The official housepainter of Houston Texans linebacker Connor Barwin works as a light-rail operator. (Interesting, isn’t it, that so many of his murals — including the ones pictured here, on the for-sale former Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority building at 2850 Fannin — can be found within walking distance of the Red Line?) Anguilu’s moonlighting work can be seen — you’ll have to go inside, though — at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art through February 17.

In related news, Metro says all stations will be closed this weekend for rail construction and maintenance.

Photos: Candace Garcia

01/28/13 3:00pm

Facing W. Alabama, Reginald Adams’s 2012 mural of President Obama was recently given a few extra splashes of color. Of course, this isn’t the first time the mural on the side of the former campaign headquarters at 3710 Travis has been the subject of political back-and-forth. Candace Garcia’s photos show the changes over the years, starting with a replica of Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster in 2008:


05/07/12 1:05pm

HOUSTON STREET ART IS FOR DRIVERS Sebastien Boncy wishes Houston had more street art that made sense for Houston, where the viewers aren’t walking by. Like this sort of thing (pictured) “from a couple of months ago. Post-retinal butter on a stick. I saw it from the passenger seat, driving through downtown. Once more, only seconds are needed to take in this bright rupture in the space-time continuum. One look and you have a pretty good idea how it was made. As you are taking in that visual break with the dull aesthetic of yet another Downtown building, you are also processing the bratty action that made it possible. My day brightened as I saw it, I felt a twitch in my muscles that let me know how easy it would be to be part of the vandalism. I hadn’t felt that sort of adolescent rush since the first Twilight.” Alas, he continues, “Such examples remain rare and singular. I wish I had pictures to share with you the wonders of fire hydrants dressed in Lacoste (circa 2003) or the Twombly-like mural of poop smears (2005?) next to Mai’s. I have no idea who made any of this. Were they artists? You’re right, stupid question.” [Glasstire] Photo: Sebastien Boncy

04/05/12 12:25pm

Those fishy figures in the photo above might look like just another bit of street art wheatpasted onto just another dilapidated East Downtown building, but they signaled a life-changing event for one Swamplot reader. QR code included. The images are based on the work of Spanish graffiti artist El Pez — the reader’s favorite. So what happened when she and her boyfriend drove past them on Congress St. between Hutchins and Bastrop last Sunday?


07/11/11 10:55am

A reader sends in photos of several signs posted near the corner of Spring and Goliad streets, in the shadow of the 45 overpasses not too far north of Downtown. And there they are, like halved pears, stripped skinless, golden in heavy syrup. Our tipster wants to know who the artist is. (And really, don’t you?) Also, if this qualifies as . . . graffoetry? Grafauxetry?

More First Ward sign findings below:


06/27/11 12:52pm

MARY’S GENITALS, AS THEY WERE Groinal abnormalities painted onto the recreated Mary’s mural at 1022 Westheimer only hours after it was completed were quickly removed in time for Saturday’s Houston Pride Parade, on-the-spot culture reporter Steven Thomson assures us: “The sexual playing field and artistic integrity were quickly restored on Friday morning as [artist Cody] Ledvina sanded down the unwanted addition and repainted the former crotches, true to form.” [Culturemap; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Cameron Blaylock