The Greater East End Management District is taking its latest graffiti-blasting weapon to the streets. In the video demo above, workers from the GEEMD’s graffiti abatement team are shown taking out the tagging on the limestone front of the Longhorn Building at 3176 Navigation Blvd. last month. The new equipment is a mobile blaster from Houston’s own Dustless Blasting, which uses a high-pressure stream of recycled glass and water to remove paint and other finishes.
The system is used primarily for refinishing cars and boats, but it appears to work rather quickly on graffiti too: Back in March, the manufacturer showed off this promotional vid for its own attack on another east-side site: the former Waddell Housefurnishing Company buildings on Sampson St. between Rusk and McKinney on the eastern border of East Downtown, slated to become the Sampson Lofts:
As polling dates roll through the country, the oft-transformedmural 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:
The recently dumped Heights Finance Station post office at Yaleand 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:
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:
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.
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 successivevandals: “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
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.
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?
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.
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:
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
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?
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?