Pulling out of Whole Earth Provision Company on N. Lamar Blvd. the other day, I spontaneously turned west, heading uphill on the alley-sized road behind the store, which dead-ends onto Baylor Street just below the “castle” that Castle Hill neighborhood is named for (originally built in 1869 as headquarters for the Texas Military Institute). On the concrete-walled slope below it, I was astonished to see a graffiti wonderland.
Graffiti covers every vertical surface—and most other surfaces as well, like the culvert pipe and red couch in the foreground. As I pulled over to gawk, I noticed other visitors strolling around, looking at the colorful images. Two teens sat on the highest wall, legs dangling, enjoying a first-rate view of downtown Austin as well as the spray-painted scene below.
Googling it that afternoon, I learned that this place was once slated to be a condo development, but the project died and street artists took over. Sometimes called Graffiti Hill, sometimes the Foundation, it attracts well-known graffiti artists and unknown taggers who continually remake the fantastical wall art.
I wondered if the place might be a homeless or drug-users camp, but from what I’ve seen online, all kinds of people visit Graffiti Hill, from families to young couples taking engagement photos here. I think I’ll come back with the kids one afternoon. They’ll get a kick out of it.
By the way, does it inspire anyone to want to add a little street art to their garden, a la the Blue Lotus Garden in Dallas?
Next door, a private home perched on a hillside seemed to be getting into a similar spirit with their own recycled “foundation” garden, complete with a couple of bronze giraffe statues on the top level, one overlooking the deck and the other the garden. Wild, huh?
All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.