There’s a group of us out there on Instagram that are dedicated “mural hunters.” It started off innocent enough. A mural catches your eye while you’re sitting at a red light. Take a photo. You’re walking to the restaurant to meet your date and you see a tiny sticker with interesting typography. Take a photo.
A friend is telling you about her day and you stop her mid-sentence because you see a Wiley “Love” sign. Take a photo.
It quickly became an addiction. Instead of finding things by accident, I would seek out street art. And now, here I am, two years later, a dedicated mural hunter. And I mean dedicated! The kind of dedication where I endure Houston humidity.
When friends and family see a mural, they think of me. Sometimes I’ll get a call or a text in the middle of the day asking if I’ve seen this or that mural. And I love that! I’m glad they think of me as they are driving through the streets of Houston. There’s a beautiful give and take cycle between the artists displaying their murals and the viewer photographing the works and sharing it with the rest of the world.
The best place to see murals? Leeland and Bell just east of downtown. It is like a treasure chest of murals. There you will find at least 15 murals. This area is one of the spots for HUE Fest, an annual live painting festival hosted by GONZO247 and his organization, GASAM (The Graffiti and Street Art Museum). Another spot is the HAM, or Harrisburg Art Museum, which is curated by Daniel Anguilu. Gonzo’s “Houston is Inspired” mural is a popular photo-op spot and it’s hard to turn a corner without seeing an Anguilu mural.
Some mural hunting advice. One, wear the right shoes. There is always broken glass. Always. Two, beware of your surroundings. Sometimes you’ll see stray dogs. Three, check all sides of the building just to be sure you don’t miss anything. Four, give credit to the artists when you post photos on social media. They are always so friendly and happy that you’ve posted their work. Five, have fun. Keep driving or walking. You will find so many interesting things along the way.
In addition to murals, there are also stickers, anonymous confessions, and the Blue Tile Project. According to them, the blue tiles are the first signs of street art in Houston. How cool is that?
Part of the fun in capturing Houston street art is knowing that it’s all temporary. Buildings get torn down, walls get repainted, mother nature washes things away, so it’s nice to document them while you can. Street art is the city communicating with you. It will make you smile, make you think, give you the sign you’re looking for. I encourage everyone to go out and be a tourist in your own city, but be warned, you will fall in love.
Customer Experience Administration
Stop by the Central Library to view Celeste's Instagram photo exhibit, The Luck of the Stroll: A Photo Collection of Street Art, Architecture, and the Mundane, on display until July 28, 2017.