Austin’s iconic ‘You’re My Butter Half’ got NSFW makeover this week

Austin is a city that loves its murals. (You could even say, “We love them so much.” Zing!) One of its most iconic pieces of street art got a bit of an, ahem, makeover this week.

For nearly a decade, “You’re My Butter Half” has attracted locals and tourists to the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Chicon Street in East Austin. Its bright colors and whimsical design are the mural’s dreams: memorable, Instagrammabel and cute.

But alas, nothing can become gold, and once this week the mural was destroyed.

Although the reactions are mixed (“I mean … on the one hand it’s a shame to spoil a cool mural, but on the other hand this is a spectacular modification,” wrote one Redditor), the new mural has a fan: the original artist , John Rockwell.

“I learned about the changes through a text message, actually,” Rockwell tells MySA. “My old boss, who somehow keeps everything ‘Butter’s, sent me a picture of the work in a text. My first reaction was’ oh no!’ But then I laughed out loud.”

Oh my.

Oh my.

Katie Friel / MySA

The original mural was a project developed for United Way for Greater Austin, which still receives revenue from the sale of “Butter Half” merch. According to Austin’s NBC affiliate KXAN, it was actually a United Way employee who discovered the vandalism Wednesday morning.

Within hours, the new mural reached Reddit, where it evolved into a meditation on the state of Austin, as things usually do. Rockwell also came along and identified himself as the original artist and gave it a very friendly review.


“Of course it shows[ed] up on Reddit! The comment section felt a bit split between ‘Oh, that’s some shit’ and ‘This is great’, so I felt it would be fun to weigh in, “Rockwell says.” The vandalism that was done did not appear to be malicious or evil towards me. It felt pretty light-footed. So to keep things light-hearted, I thought it would be fun to post a critique of the work, a kind of tongue in cheek. “

When Rockwell’s comment was posted, an anonymous user said they were actually the brains behind the new look, though this obviously cannot be confirmed. They offered their own explanation and said, “It just so happened that the letters worked perfectly to tickle my immortal inner child. A lot of my work lies to Austin culture … this was another possibility.”

“It was cool to see Mr. Butthole write their thoughts,” Rockwell says, using the artist’s nom de plume. “I thought they were a good sport to play along with my stupid comments, and I think we can all relate to their general attitude that they would keep Austin weird. A company gets mad at something like that, doesn’t it? a person who wants to move on to the spirit of what makes the city special. “

Although it is unclear how long the new mural will be up, Rockwell says he does not expect it to last very long before “Butter Half” returns to its original state.

“I do not want to personally redo the mural,” he says, “but it will soon be repaired.”



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