If you're ever in Austin and want to see
something pretty cool, check out the side of
Sound Exchange on the corner of Guadalupe ("the Drag") and 21th street.
There's a picture of the frog of innocence ("Hi, how are you?") and a flying
eyeball that were both done by Daniel.
This art was thought to be protected by law
in Austin as a public landmark until locals noticed construction crews
beginning to poke holes in the wall for a window on January 6, 2004.
What ensued escalated to broad media
attention as local fans spurred by updates on a community news board took to
the streets and manned to phones to contact local news, papers, and
institutions that could be pulled into preserving the mural.
The new tenant John Oudt for the Austin
franchise of Baja Fresh responded very quickly in a press announcement that
the wall would be preserved and the mural incorporated into the design of
The previous tenant, SOUND EXCHANGE had
been there for 22 years. The record store was a center of early punk
rock and was a starting point for bands like Big Boys, Dicks, Poison 13,
Motards, and others.
The mural was commissioned by store owner
Craig Koon in 1993. He offered Daniel Johnston $100 and as many
records as he could carry out of the story. He gave him a ladder
and a can of paint, Daniel eked out what has stayed on the wall for eleven
years. When the store
closed a year earlier the landlord was supposed to have communicated the
significance of the mural to the next tenant.
When that didn't happen, local fans took to
the streets with picketing signs and protest - making the local news that
night and the next, and major paper spreads in Houston, Austin and probably
other Texas Cities. An article appeared in Rolling Stones
We will update this page on the past and
future of the SOUND EXCHANGE and the mural as it develops.