About the Artist
is originally from Houston, moving to Austin to study at UT in 2002 where he “found home”. He spent the six years out of the country and came back to Austin in 2016 to find a whole new East 6th District. He’s spent the last 14 years developing dexterity in various styles and painting around the globe. Currently on the artist grind, he has been painting murals, creating commission artwork, and tattooing. We asked J to share the story behind his name ‘J Muzacz’ as well as graffiti name, ‘GIVE1’. He told us that, “Ever since grade school my friends were calling me Jay Jay, but my real name is Jonathan, only my grandmother called me that, and there’s no other ‘J’ in my name anywhere, so at some point I was like, ‘What about just J?’ And it stuck. Though some of my old Houston fam still call me JJ. As for GIVE, I have gone through a lot of names, for meaning or letter style or both, and have honestly had identity crises about it, since, you know, in the graffiti world your name and letter flow is kind of a big deal. I chose GIVE, not to be confused with Houston’s Give Up
, since I figured I should have a decent meaning for people in the public to figure out as they’re reading. With my good buddy Coleman, we had an anti-campaign thing going back in the day regarding consumer culture with the catchphrase, ‘Need Less, Give More.’ This relates to needing less ‘stuff’ in general. Not following and buying blindly as part of the consumer sector, but rather giving your energy, creativity and more of yourself, time and resources to be a creator or innovator. The world is just more fun that way, don’t you think?”
About Encore Records
was originally formed in 1984 as a video store formed in Garland, Texas. In the late 1980s, after losing their first lease to Blockbuster Video, they moved to Austin where they decided to add music to their shelves. The latest and current incarnation began five years ago on East 6th Street
, where you can now find J’s mural in the back parking.
We had the opportunity to interview Chuck, the owner of Encore Records. He shared that Encore “has been placed in a ??? by critics and press but we do embrace all genres of music but admittedly with an emphasis on hardcore and Metal. Encore Records has a terrific selection of vintage metal tees and tunes, and the owner Chuck is a trip! When asked the importance of music in the Austin community he told us that, “it connects us to everything in our lives from heartbreak to joy. It reflects our being and haunts our conscience. Tells us who we are or what we should be. It’s fun, enlightening, stimulates action and sometimes inaction”.
Encore Records is archetypal Austin, maybe more so even than Waterloo Records, as it is a classic, niche market, old school shop specializing in content that the owner himself is passionate about. Not trying to be some catch-all of what is hip and trending, but rather a bastion of a specific and defined music subculture, most of which never gets mainstream attention. Chuck really is fighting against the grain to keep this language alive.
Chuck tells us that he is an art lover, which is like music to our ears! SprATX is dedicated to finding like-minded companies, organizations, and artists that share the love of art and creative expression. Chuck “feels that the mural scene is not only about beauty but teaches that some don’t hear that outdoor creativity doesn’t have to be an expression of self and if you create something that others will enjoy you are less likely to express frustration with your position in life through graffiti. That if you develop talent via creation your feeling of creation is much better than frustration”.
Part of the purpose of this project is in hopes that “it might offset the effect of downtown gentrification on my business. Our taxes have tripled in the 5 years we’ve been down here. Our landlord has done his best to lessen the impact and is not to blame in any way. His grandfather built this building in 1918. He once ran a used car lot on the back where the mural is located. He has been good to us. It all began two years ago during SXSW when the city first metered all the parking in our area and culminated with the sale of the lot next door for a 9 story building. The city thinks that if a structure like that can be built nearby we should pay taxes on our appraisal relevant to the worth of a neighboring property”.
About Sugar Spray Paint
Good news! SprATX now carries Sugar paint, which is “a revolutionary health conscious formula, with high performance capabilities. This is the
world’s first hybrid water and alcohol based acrylic aerosol paint. Sugar is harvested specifically to deliver the highest quality results for artists, with the lowest possible impact on your health and our environment. Our innovations in aerosol technology have lead to a unique formulation, which combines water with alcohol made from sugarcane to replace petroleum-based solvents. As a result, Sugar Artists’ Acrylic
contains fewer Volatile Organic Compounds, meaning less toxins absorbed into the user’s body and less environmental impact, while still delivering a superior product that is designed to meet the modern needs of today’s artists.”
About the Mural
When asked the inspiration behind the mural Muzacz says, “It’s a nod to the ‘Miami’ aspects of new East Austin intermingling with the last few decades of “weird” old Austin”. J has been on a low rider painting kick since last year and has “always admired the meticulous care that goes into pimping classic rides like that and keeping them clean. The colors in this piece were a palette I tend towards anyway, with teal and blushy blue complemented by bright pinks and purples like Bubblegum and Gobstopper. For inspiration and a jumping off point I used a photograph I snapped during last year’s Dia de los Muertos parade, put on by the Mexic-Arte Museum downtown on 6th and Congress. The driver actually had mannequin skeletons sitting in the backseat, so I just kept it true to form and brought them to life with a little spirit of ‘Resistencia’. The drippy ENCORE lettering was an homage to the hot rod aesthetic of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth (Rat Fink) and your token heavy metal blood fonts so frequently used in album and poster art. That contrasted with a sleek 80’s disco script and weaved into the stained glass tapestry let me craft a really dense and layered piece with big impact. The blending of colors, styles and eras is the kind of diverse melting pot Austin culture that has been evolving over the last 50 years and is an integral part of the “Weird” part of Austin’s unofficial motto that I hope to preserve”.
This particular mural is an example of his “stylized stained glass vibe, which I feel like I’ve organically found a method I can call my own, one that allows me the freedom to paint pretty much any subject without necessarily being pigeon-holed into a particular brand. Pieces can be dynamic and colorful, I have to actually think about my design and the entire composition, I can include elements of realism and abstraction, and I get to do plenty hard outlines, cuts and fades which are my favorite”. J shares that painting is like meditation and requires 100% focus and dedication to complete a worthy final product.
“I love the mural. My landlord likes it too. I feel that J Muzacz certainly exceeded any expectations that I held before he began. I feel that his image was channeled from a screenplay I’ve written about a tragedy from my youth. I call it Carlisle Park. He I’m sure hasn’t read it or learned of it in advance from myself or anyone else for that matter. In the story in the last series of events three black men are killed in a car much like the one he portrays on the wall. They were driving a 64 or possibly a 63 Chevy hardtop when they initiated a gun battle that I found myself in the middle of. Now I have a mural with 3 ghouls in a 63 or 64 Chevy Low Rider Convertible flipping off a raw deal… I love it.” — Chuck
J Muzacz would like to “give thanks and express my gratitude to all the supporters, friends, fellow artists, patrons, and wall owners who grant me the opportunity to do what I love, and to scrape out a living doing it. Thank you and Keep up the Art!”