These Incredible Murals are Amarillo’s Hidden Gems
I'll be honest. I never thought I would see the day where murals and street art were not only accepted, but even encouraged in Amarillo, Texas.
I'm not sure how this snuck up on me. But it wasn't until a couple of months ago that, as I was driving downtown, I realized that I was surrounded by gorgeous displays of art in the form of murals. About 10 years ago, this would never have happened. You would have never caught the City of Amarillo dead having dealings with "lowly taggers", outside of pressing charges in court.
Now, every time I head home from picking up my son, I am able to take in and marvel at street art by the likes of local up-and-coming legends, Malcolm Byers as well as other internationally renowned artists. .
Now, my group texts with friends who long ago migrated to Dallas, Austin, and other parts of the country, will randomly send a photo of the newest mural and a question that goes along the lines of: "THIS is in Amarillo? No way. It's gorgeous! I'm obsessed!"
It reminds me of a time, just 10 years ago, when I was the editor of my college's biannual student magazine. I conducted and published anonymous interviews with local graffiti artists I knew personally (after swearing up and down, left and right that I would take their identities with me to the grave). Not too long after the magazine was published, I received a call from our local police department. They wasted no time in demanding that I disclose the identities of the young men I had interviewed.
They were not happy.
I refused to answer any further calls.
Today? Seeing a kid with a can of spray paint downtown is cause for curiosity, rather than arrest. What piece of beautiful art will materialize next?
It is amazing to see how Amarillo has embraced art in all of its many different forms. Not only was the 2019 Hoodoo Mural Festival a success, there will be another one this October. Malcolm Byers is busy painting the outsides and insides of local businesses all over town. And all the beautiful pieces of art that appear are admired, rather than removed.
A decade ago, I affectionally nicknamed my ragtag group of graffiti artist friends the "Lords of Yellow Town". They had to move quick with their cans of paint--and be gone in a flash. No one knew this city better than them. Every rooftop, every alley, every abandoned building--they knew all the escape routes. They were there and then gone.
They paved the way for the likes of Malcolm Byers and student art groups like Blank Spaces. And I like to think that they recognize this fact, and I hope they take a little pride in their part.
For all of its many flaws and my initial skepticism, the city of Amarillo and it's Downtown revitalization has momentum that's headed in the right direction. And I cannot wait to see what beautiful art the Lords of Yellow Town have in store for this city.
In the meantime, here's a small sample of the phenomenal artwork to be found in the streets and walls of Amarillo.