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Divided into a chapter for each medium, over 100 local artists are presented on 500 pages and more than 1,000 pictures in the book, which is published independently by Muzacz and his motley crew of art school interns. Muzacz said he believes the book will be the first of its kind to showcase local talent.
“There are no books like this in Austin – there is no wall art book, no graffiti book, there is no street art, nothing,” said Muzacz. “So hopefully this book will teach some people colloquially how to recognize these certain things and make people appreciate graffiti even when it’s illegal.”
Muzacz began his art career with graffiti in middle school, which he continued during his time at the University of Texas at Austin before turning to his current medium, mosaics. He stayed in Austin with a few stays abroad and now works at East Austin’s Something Cool Studios.
J Muzacz has been an Austin artist for nearly 20 years and has even taught urban painting classes for the city of Austin for nine years. (Laura Figi / Austria)
The book was developed in collaboration with interns Justin Ebel, a graphic designer and photographer, and Zoe Axelrod, a designer and founder of Ringtone Mag. The couple also helped organize a comprehensive art map that offers a tour of urban works of art off the beaten path, including many in the book.
The project dates back to the 1950s and tells the story of the hardships that creatives have faced with the legality of their art, gives artists a space to tell their stories, and tells the stories of artists like the mural painter “Hi How Are You “Daniel Johnston who flourished before there was social media to uplift it.
“In my opinion, this is the purest form of art because it is not about financial gain. There is no commercial reason for this, ”said Muzacz. “This is an artist who develops a craft, develops it further and respects a culture, despite the legal consequences, although he has to pay for or steal his own paint.”
“ATX Urban Art” also includes a multitude of artists who still paint the streets today, including prominent local faces such as Sloke One, Bill Tavis, Angry Cloud + Descnd, Levi Ponce and Hope Hummingbird from various media. Muzacz said he hoped people would use the book as an encyclopedia of local names.
“I want people to have this book as a Rolodex for your art assignment or if you have a business and want a mural,” said Muzacz. “Here are the pioneers, here are the professionals, here are the most unique practitioners, the most productive practitioners, these are the people who must and will shine, these names you should know.”
The book will be crowdfunded until mid-January, and until then you can grab the hefty book for $ 60 or the art card for $ 10. The book will go to print regardless of whether the group gets there, but Muzacz said he wouldn’t mind investing in their work.
In addition, the money supports his paid interns and keeps the community colorful.
“Drive around today or go around and imagine if all this murals, street art and graffiti weren’t there and think about what this room would feel like,” said Muzacz. “I would say now that nobody would want to live there. (During COVID) a lot of people said the music got down and the visual arts turned up. Part of the Austin experience is the visual music from murals. “