Dec 14, 2021 - Business

2 new murals arrive in downtown Austin

A photo of an artist spraying a wall.
Candy Kuo painting the mural at 721 Congress Ave. Photo courtesy of Downtown Austin Alliance

Austin artists Candy Kuo and Gabriel Portillo have completed two new downtown murals, commissioned by the Downtown Austin Alliance as part of an effort to promote creative works in public spaces.

Details: Kuo, a Taiwanese visual artist and muralist, painted at the construction walkway at 721 Congress Ave. Portillo's mural is at the Republic Square holiday container.

For the Congress mural, Kuo said she chose a color gradient that would transition well with the seasons and included design elements and plants "to aid in that cohesiveness of the changing of the season in Texas."

  • That project weaves vibrant red and orange lines through the walkway.
  • "I wanted to create a theme that is versatile enough to stand throughout this winter through next year," Kuo said. "In my home country of Taiwan, construction walkways are often covered in nursery plants that are put into the ground after construction is complete. With this in mind, I wanted to replicate that idea of growth, rebirth and change in this walkway."
A photo of an artist spraying a container box.
Gabriel Portillo at the shipping container at Republic Square. Photo courtesy of Downtown Austin Alliance

Portillo designed a mural to cover a shipping container at Republic Square.

  • He said he had a rough sketch of the design but freestyled the shapes of the thin red and green lines that cover the entire box to generate a "psychedelic" effect.

"I just kind of had fun with it and played with the shape of the actual container," Portillo told Axios. "It's tough to paint corrugated metal — it's not completely flat — so I was just having fun with the design."

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