A mural featuring basketball player Kevin Durant sporting his former Texas Longhorns uniform will soon replace the longtime mural “Le Bonheur de Vivre,” which recently was removed near the intersection of 24th and Guadalupe streets.
Local muralist Doug Jaques, who died in 2013, painted the mural featuring several surreal scenes with assistance from his Austin Community College Environmental Graphics mural class students in 1998. Scenes included a couple dancing on a hill and a naked woman lying on the hill next to them looking at the sky.
But over the years, the wall on the Drag became prone to graffiti. This summer, The Daily Texan reported that brown paint was applied to the lower half of the mural to cover up all the tagging.
On Monday, the building’s now gray exterior was being worked on to prepare for the grand opening of Shoe Palace. A new store sign was being installed above the site of the former mural. Store officials said they didn’t have any knowledge of the previous mural on the property, which the Travis Central Appraisal District lists as being owned by Cavanaugh Austin Properties. Attorneys for Cavanaugh officials did not return a call for comment.
“Needless to say, I am heartbroken to see it go,” said Lisa Linbrugger, one of the former ACC students who assisted Jaques with the mural.
Her design of the naked woman, for which she modeled in a bathing suit, was among those chosen for the mural. Other students also were depicted. The dancing couple, she said, were based on two students who later developed a real romance.
Linbrugger, who now owns a jewelry design studio, DeLisa Designs, remembers working on the project even after the semester ended as well as evenings and weekends. “The planning and time that went into it was extensive,” she said.
Shoe Palace store manager Brandon Scott said the retailer plans to work with California-based artist JCRo for the new mural aimed at melding the University of Texas spirit with the retailer’s brand of athletic and street wear shoes. The artist has created other Shoe Palace murals featuring athletes such as Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders.
Other murals for the store’s interior are also in the works, Scott said.
Although sad to see the original mural go, Linbrugger said she’s glad to have had the opportunity to work with Jaques.
“Doug was definitely a master,” she said. “It was certainly a joy in and of itself to be a part of (the mural’s) creation process.”