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History of the mural's preservation by the Baja Fresh Restaurant


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 building.

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 Magazine.

We will update this page on the past and future of the SOUND EXCHANGE and the mural as it develops.

click to enlarge pictures