AUSTIN - A beloved mural in East Austin has been painted over, causing a storm of criticism on social media.
The mural, which featured artists such as James Brown, Michael Jackson and Stevie Ray Vaughan, was originally painted by Chris Rogers in 2014, according to KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman.
But on Friday, crews were seen painting over the art:
KVUE's Erin Jones spoke with the artist on Saturday. He said that with the art's disappearance, a piece of him is gone as well.
"It was the very first mural that I did," Rogers said. "I didn't know anybody -- didn't have things figured out."
Fresh out of art school, he came to Austin to be around other artists. The mural was his first gig.
"I got this opportunity to paint this wall on 12th and Chicon for the Romani Art Gallery that was opening up, and you know, it was no pay but I thought that it was a no brainer," he said. "It would be a good way to just kind of say, 'Hi' to the community."
The community noticed and responded. They stopped by to talk to Rogers as he worked on the piece.
"They said thank you for bringing beauty to this part of town, and you know, that struck me, man," he said. "Because to be doing what I do and have that kind of reception in a brand new area where I don't know anybody. To have that kind of reception -- it meant the world to me, man."
Friday night, a friend told him his mural had been painted over.
"I was shocked," Rogers said. "I wasn't angry -- just really disappointed."
His said his mind immediately went back to community.
"I know a lot of people in that area had a connection to that piece," he said.
And it showed as countless expressions of anger and disappointment swirled across social media.
An Austin Facebook page also posted about the transition, saying "The full transformation of 12th and Chicon from what was formerly the heart of Austin's Black Community to another gentrified, hipster corner is nearly complete." The post has been shared over 1,000 times since it was first written Friday morning.
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