The idea started over “cube talk” in the art department. As Emily Kimbro, our art director, and Victoria Millner, our designer, discussed how to approach Michael Hall’s cover story on Austin, they knew they wanted something iconic. Yes, the city is famous for the UT Tower, the Capitol, live music, and barbecue, but those ideas were too obvious by themselves. Previously there had been talk about photographing prominent people from the story. That led to a discussion about the popularity of South Congress Avenue and using it to re-create the image from Abbey Road (yes, we actually considered that for a second or two). Then the light bulb went off: murals have become a staple of Austin culture, so Kimbro suggested that we commission one on South Congress that would serve as the cover but also become a destination for passersby.
(Article by Brian D. Sweany, republished from http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-stand-up-desk/texas-monthly-austin-mural/)
At that point all we needed was a wall, an illustrator, a muralist, and a photographer (oh, and maybe a security guard to chase away would-be mural defacers). It turned out that art assistant Nicki Longoria spotted a wall at South Congress Books on her way in to work one morning. Even better, while looking at that space, she had the idea of leaving part of the mural unfinished to reinforce the notion that Austin itself is still under construction.
Creative director T. J. Tucker reached out to Brooklyn illustrator Aaron Meshon to work on the sketch, and he hired Mike Johnston, an Austin artist, to paint it. Photography editor Leslie Baldwin contacted the owners of South Congress Books and nailed down the permissions to actually paint the thing (one more item to add to the list: extra insurance!). She then asked one of our favorite local photographers, Jeff Wilson, to shoot it.
Read more at: http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-stand-up-desk/texas-monthly-austin-mural/