12/13/18 5:00pm

“What, after all, is the majesty of the Hill Country compared to the majesty of the orange and white Whataburger logo?asks Texas Monthlys Dan Solomon. It’s a question that feels wrong to poseHow dare you put Texas’s natural charm on the same plane as the sprawl we’ve layered over it — but also feels wrong to ignore. “Texans often display their enthusiasm for homegrown chains without a hint of irony,” writes Solomon. So why not just embrace our freeway-side icons in good-old-fashioned oil-and-canvas style?

San Antonio artist Michael Esparza’s done just that with his work, which the internet recently discovered after one well-followed editor tweeted out a link to his Etsy shop. There, he offers prints of paintings like the ones above that range from, er . . . hyper-realist:


Texana, Reimagined
05/12/16 12:30pm

604 Westheimer Rd., Lower Westheimer, Houston, 77006

The previously white house at the northwest corner of Westheimer Rd. and Stanford St. now has an edgy new look, along with some some city permits issued to an entity called Beijing Assassin Tattoos in April. The permits mention a tattoo parlor and retail setup in the building, which was bought in 2014 by a legal entity of the Katz family (of never-closes deli fame 2 doors down to the west of Vinoteca Poscol).

A previous set of permits was issued to Beijing Assassin back in early 2015, after which the space opened for a few months as Gods and Monsters e-cigarette supply store. Then a coat of whitewash blotted out the building’s pretty-new-at-the-time murals, shown in part below:


Filling In On Lower Westheimer
06/29/12 2:22pm

A team of researchers at Rice University have created a lithium-ion battery that can be spray-painted on to any surface. The first surface they tested the 5-layer power-storing combo on was a set of bathroom tiles. Since then, flexible, glass, and steel surfaces — as well as a beer stein emblazoned with the Rice insignia — have been tested and used successfully to store small amounts of electricity. Graduate student and lead author of the team’s report Neelam Singh imagines buildings sheathed with battery-sprayed ceramic tiles that are then covered by solar cells, integrating energy gathering and storage functions on a structure’s exterior skin.


10/18/11 11:31am

No faux finishing technique — or potential painting surface — was spared in the latest redo of this 21-year-old 9,181-sq.-ft. Woodlands mansion in Grogan’s Point. You’ll count 6 or 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a study, and gameroom, all with walls carefully protected by multiple coats of carefully splotched pigment. Those finishing touches put the many wall colors of this home beyond the reach of description.


12/21/10 2:12pm

That phoenix carefully painted only a week and a half ago onto the side of the Agora Cafe at 1712 Westheimer near Dunlavy is now gone, reports the camera of Swamplot photographer Candace Garcia. Agora and the Antique Warehaus that used to be next door donned extremely realistic fire costumes for this past Halloween. In place of the firebird, which onlookers took as a sign the cafe might soon reopen: A new sign for the cafe itself, probably a clearer indication. It looks like more paint has found its way to the front of the Montrose hotspot too:


10/14/10 4:46pm

A few pix from around town, in our occasional photo feature: First, a reader sends in this view of the curious paint job now in progress on the original Ruggles Grill on Lower Westheimer.

Next, we discover the just-opened new home of I-10 refugee Las Alamedas, on the simulated Main Street of Katy’s LaCenterra shopping center in Cinco Ranch:


07/19/10 5:33pm

BRUSHING IN THE OLD EUROPE Art-school graduate, grinder, and faux finisher Michael Bise pays the bills: “Last week for instance, I found myself in front of an eight-foot tall, three-panel window (of which there were 18 total) brushing blue milk-paint (a sturdy, old-master-y kind of paint made from lime—not the kind used to flavor Mexican beers, but the kind used to dissolve dead hookers—and cottage cheese, the delicious curdled-milk treat), which requires three or four applications of slightly different blues, each layer requiring sanding before the subsequent application, with a final application which necessitates a vigorous once-over with steel wool, leaving your arms and face covered in a fine layer of blue lime and steel shavings and your nostrils crusty with black boogers. This process yields the rough equivalent of a tastefully aged barn door, on a barn next to a cottage in the French countryside, if the barn were to have a Bentley parked in it with the sounds of Aryan children splashing around in a nearby lap pool echoing off its rough timbers. The other mainstay of fauxing consists of creating an approximation of Venetian plaster on top of good old Texas drywall. This is about as labor-intensive as hanging and floating the drywall in the first place. The “Venetian plaster” is made out of standard drywall mud from Home Depot mixed with paint tint and a few secret ingredients to make it smoother and shinier. The key of course is in the application. My partner Joe and I have dubbed this well-guarded application secret “punch, punch, drag.” This is the same application process used in every Mexican restaurant in Texas, but, as in all things, the devil is in the subtlety of the details. Some clients prefer their plaster to approximate the walls of Castle Dracula while others, perhaps having read Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice (or maybe not), seek a subtler version of decay. Ultimately, whether wood, plaster, concrete, or beam, the most essential aspect of my job is making new stuff look old. It’s an amazingly stupid job when you think about it (and you don’t have to think very hard to realize how stupid it is). . . .” [Glasstire] Photo: Michael Bise

10/26/07 8:25am

This Old House by Aerosol Warfare at the Diverseworks Satellite Space

DiverseWorks gave graffiti collaborative Aerosol Warfare free reign to paint the arts organization’s satellite space at the corner of Alabama and Almeda in Midtown, and this is the result.

You remember this house, right? It’s the one that used to have giant Sesame Street characters airbrushed all over it.