East Downtown Building Proposal Involves Barcelona Graffiti, QR Code, iPhone App, Lifelong Commitment

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?


I noticed the artwork as we drove home from an event in EaDo. I loved the smiling fish graffiti, signature work by El Pez, ever since we discovered it on a trip in Barcelona. Since then, the fishies . . . have been desktop backgrounds, Google avatars, and used in numerous love notes to each other. I hollered at him to pull over so I could take a photo — I couldn’t believe it, my fish traveled all the way to Houston! As I snapped photos, I asked him to scan the QR code. He handed over his phone, and as I read the message . . . he got down on his knee and pulled out the ring! So surprised! LOVE that they will stay there for a very long time!

Yes, Saturday was April Fools Day, but it also marked the anniversary of the couple, who met each other in architecture school.

What exactly was the little message in the QR code? You can try scanning it yourself if you like. “It doesn’t go to a site, but instead a message pops up,” reports the bride-to-be. “He’s such a geek!”

And probably totally irrelevant to the story, but afterwards we went out for a celebratory drink at Catbirds (our first date spot) and he organized a surprise party with all our friends. By far the most incredible day I’ve had.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

19 Comment

  • SMH and this is on swamplot because ???

  • Maybe the buff will let this ride.

  • How did he paint them up there? Or is it come kind of decal?

  • straight people are always throwing their marriages in people’s faces. Why do they have to flaunt things so much?

    Oh, but cool story, bro.

  • This is great because I know the two amazing individuals- and it’s a cool story that deserves to be shared!

    Side note: Swamplot should consider doing stories on more of the street art around town… It enchances our urban landscape and there is some great talent in our town- with or without a romantic proposal!

    Congrats N&T!

  • She lost all cred with me at the 13th word.

  • Will they get arrested for graffiti now? They just admitted to defacing an abandoned building. I am not saying they should since I like some street art of the non-tag variety and think these are cool and in a low harm way. I am just saying that they just admitted to committing a crime.

  • I wonder if she said Eado instead of Ido…

  • The crime is that abandoned bldg. Let’m live.

  • very happy for my clever friends.

  • cute idea!

  • Aw. This makes me very happy for them. It also makes me want to puke a little. Just a little.

  • How sweet! Damn the nay-sayers. Although every time I pass that building, my heart dies a little bit.
    For nearly ten years I lived within a few blocks of the three – and loved the way they stood alone there. Dreamed of buying one… Then, to my surprise – I was on the hunt to buy something, and it had a for-sale sign. Thankfully, I spent some time contemplating it b/c Ike came along, and then the building was no more. Wait, I guess that should make me happy…

  • Public displays of engagement are all the rage. They’ll have a couples shower in Vegas, a green wedding in an abandoned wharehouse in the east side, chart their fertility on Facebook and then blog their child’s existence and then overshare all of it on Facebook and youtube. It’s a thing, y’all.

    Anyway, congrats!

  • Congrats guys! I was at the after party at catbirds and let me tell you, it was the cutest thing EVER! They were so giddy and in love. I did puke a little. I wish only the best for this amazing couple.

  • actually, they’ll have a low-key, as affordable as it can get wedding; are requesting no gifts and won’t be having showers; and they share very little personal info on facebook. while i can see how this might make you think otherwise, it is, in all reality, just an awesomely sweet and creative proposal from one artistic mad scientist guy to his lovely girl.

    they are two of my favorite people, and i’m excited they shared a piece of their story with all of us =)

  • I scanned the code and, I guess this could get awkward, because, yes, yes I will.

  • those QR codes look like futuristic alien swastickers