Destinations, Photo Essay

Finding Home in Austin: East Side Art Walk in Photos

“There’s a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas.” Willie Nelson, the erstwhile musician, author, poet, activist (and a whole lot of other things) said this about Austin one night. I came across this quote for the first time when I was trying to figure out what to do in Austin. I wanted to see this new place, but I also wanted it to remind me of home. I wanted a definitive answer to an age-old question. “How do you make a home out of a foreign land?”

I started understanding Willie’s answer a little bit when I came across this mural.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where You Find Love (‘Til Death by Federico: 1201 E 7th St)

On your strolls in Austin, you will come across a lot of graffiti. Like the ones in HOPE outdoor gallery, these intensely interesting art pieces are an intrinsic part of Austin. Strewn all over the cityscape, these murals are a testament to the city’s undying love for being an original soul and to uphold its motto: Keep Austin Strange.

The Comic Book Mural

Who Watches The Watchmen

My love for graffiti stems out of my love for comic books and graphic novels. Speech Balloons were my preferred mode of communication with the outside world. As I grew older, I understood how these books are not only a storytelling medium but also a dynamic art form where ideas are born and free thinking is encouraged.

As free as the Dolphins

Spreading Your Wings (Stencilled graffiti by Jeremy Novy)

Home is where you learnt to ride your bike. Home is where you first sighted the love of your life. Home is where you learn to learn and grow. Home is that place that eventually brings you peace. Home does not just have to be the four walls you were born in. Home can be a place which you have never seen before but where your heart believes it will feel restored. I saw these fishes on the sidewalks of New Orleans too.

Bringing Out Your Inner Animal

Bringing Out Your Inner Animal (E 4th St between San Marcos St and Medina St)

We live in a world which suffers from thousands of separatist movements. The world is where people are judged and discriminated on the basis of their appearance, beliefs, and orientations. Walking through Austin, looking at the diversity of expressions painted on the walls I realized one thing: You won’t be able to call a place home if you cannot be yourself, in all your awesome glory, there.

All the people in the World

Of all the people in the world (E 4th St between San Marcos St and Medina St)

We travel because we crave diversity. Because we desire a heady cocktail of new experiences. The world is full of new songs that we have not sung before. Food we have not tasted before and stars we have not slept under. What makes it better? All the people in the world that we will share their stories with.

Coffee Dates

Coffee Dates and Anecdotes (1405 E 7th St)

The murals tell us stories. There was a person. They had a voice to raise, to start an urgent dialogue. And they took up a paintbrush and painted what their heart had to say. Standing opposite the wall, I was the audience. As I tried to interpret, I became my own storyteller. What is home if you don’t have stories to tell about it? What is home if you return to it without stories to tell?

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

Sometimes, stories have changed the world. Sometimes, they have altered the course of history. Every story has an idea in its heart. If we try hard to listen to these stories, they will speak to us. Stories and ideas can sow seeds of change in us and we change the world as the world changes us. Sometimes we learn how to change an unfamiliar place to a home.

Psychedelic Canvas

Psychedelic Canvases – The Waterfall

Travelling is all about going with the flow. Walking along the mural-adorned walls of Austin, I felt an urgent need to embrace the changes coming our way instead of getting intimidated by them. Learning to let go and learning to accept newer perspectives, newer understanding is crucial, in life and in search of a home.

Homewards Bound

A Welcome Sign (E 6th IBIZ District: 1201 E 6th St)

Often the road will lead you to a safe place. The road will award you people, experiences, monuments or just a feeling that will let you know that all of this makes sense. Those are the simple things that a person in search of meaning looks out for. Embrace it, and you have found it, a corner that is undeniably your own in a very foreign land.


Home Is Where The Heart Beats

And sometimes, when you are lucky, you come to the realization that you have come across this moment in time; a moment poignant enough to leave a permanent imprint of warmth and happiness across your soul. This is where home is. Until the road calls us back out again.

I joined Tipster’s East Side Art Walk lead by Natalie. Natalie who is an artist herself showed us through the colourful streets and introduced us to various forms of graffiti and street art. While in the area, don’t forget to stop by Prohibition Creamery for delicious boozy ice creams!

All murals and graffiti showcased here are the creative outcomes of the ideas and visions of respective artists. All the credit for these beautiful artwork goes out to them.

Tell us about your favourite corners of the world in the comments below!! 


18 thoughts on “Finding Home in Austin: East Side Art Walk in Photos

  1. faramagan says:

    What a beautifully written post. I have just moved to Melbourne which will be my “home” for the next 3 months and it is equally as colourful with street art. It’s one thing I like to explore as soon as I arrive in a city, being surrounded by such beautiful artwork I’m sure you felt instantly inspired and how amazing to be on a tour lead by an artist aswell!


  2. Sippin Gypsy says:

    I have started to include seeking out street art in my travels to various cities! There is so much passion and talent in this world! Thank you for sharing what you found in Austin! I’m excited to check it out. Cheers!


  3. Laurel says:

    The street art is amazing, thank you for sharing this with us. I will have to pay more attention next time in Austin!


  4. “What is home if you don’t have stories to tell about it? What is home if you return to it without stories to tell?”

    Indeed. My favourite kind of street art is the kind that makes me go ‘why? why did you paint this?’ because I know, there’s something someone wanted to say. And they wanted it discovered.


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