AUSTIN, Texas — Todd Sanders, artist and owner of Roadhouse Relics, spent his day Wednesday cleaning up a vandalized mural on his shop on the corner of South First and West Annie Street ... for a third time.
Overnight, it appeared someone spraypainted the words "Justice 4 Botham" over the iconic "Greetings from Austin" mural.
He said he's seen an increase in mural vandalisms recently around Austin.
"We love the murals, we're going to fix 'em every time," said Sanders. "So all you're doing is costing good people a lot of work to fix it. Your message isn't going to stay here ... leave the art alone."
He said he helped paint the mural with fellow artists in 1997. In all, he said it cost about $10,000 to paint and 300 hours to complete.
"It was something that we all did for fun," he said. "It was just a fun thing to show our appreciation for Austin. And now we've got tour buses pulling up all day long and people getting married in front of this thing. So it really means a lot to me and I'm going to take care of it."
Sanders said the mural has an anti-graffiti coating on it, so he spent the day Wednesday spraying solvents on it the mural to wash away the vandalism.
"It's just costing me a lot of time and, every time I fix it, the mural's a little more worn," he said. "We're going to have to restore it again. It's frustrating, but I'm going to fix it every time they do this."
The vandalism comes about a week after former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison on a murder charge for fatally shooting a man named Botham Jean when she accidentally entered his apartment instead of her own.
"I didn't have anything to do with that and Austin didn't have anything to do with that, so I don't understand why they're coming here to spread their message," said Sanders. "If they feel really strongly about that, go paint a mural about it somewhere, go make some art instead of destroy other people's art."
Sanders said that every time this happens, he will fix the mural as soon as possible.
"The very next morning I pull up, I know what I'm doing that day," said Sanders. "I'm fixing this mural before I make art again in my studio, Roadhouse Relics."
He said his rustic neon signs have been collected by art collectors and stars like Willie Nelson and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.
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