MOTOGP-THEMED MURAL CREATED IN DOWNTOWN AUSTIN
If you’re driving in Downtown Austin in the coming weeks, you’ll see a splash of color that didn’t exist before.
In preparation for the MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, Circuit of The Americas has commissioned a MotoGP-themed mural at AF1 Racing, a motorcycle dealership at 304 E. Cesar Chavez St.
The mural was designed and created by local artist Aaron Darling, who is part of a coalition of street and graffiti-style artists called SprATX. Darling, who moved to Austin in 2002 from southern Louisiana, said he’s been wanting to paint this wall ever since he arrived in town.
“Me and every other muralist in Austin,” Darling said last week while putting the finishing touches on the mural “This has been a sought-after wall. I’m very honored and privileged to be the one to paint on it.”
The mural features four MotoGP riders locked in competition, with splashes of black paint coming out from behind. The COTA Tower is on the right, and the Austin skyline is in the background.
“I feel really good,” Darling said. “This is one of the largest murals I’ve done, one of the more intentional murals I’ve done. The motorcycles were a lot of fun – just the size of them, the way they worked in with the splatter. I really like how the COTA Tower turned out.”
Darling began working on the mural two weeks ago, starting by laying down large swaths of black and creating a rough outline of the riders. He used a projector to add details to the riders but the majority of the work was done free-hand.
Temperatures on the first day of painting hovered in the 30s with periods of freezing rain and drizzle after the sun went down.
Darling said the texture of the wall kept it from getting soaked in the rain, allowing him to paint under harsh conditions.
“I thought the weather itself was going to be a challenge, and it wasn’t at all,” he said. “I think the biggest challenge was to know when to stop that splatter because that could’ve gone down the wall, and I’m still tempted to carry a few way out there.”
Darling said the reaction to his mural has been overwhelmingly positive, and throughout the painting process people could be seen snapping selfies and other cell phone photos of the work.
In fact, the mural caught the attention of No. 19 Alvaro Bautista – one of the riders whose likeness is featured on the wall.
Darling said he shared a photo of the half-completed mural on Instagram, which was noticed by Bautista, who rides for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. He was contacted a few days later by Bautista’s helmet company, asking him to create a street-art helmet for the Spanish rider.
“I’ve never been to a MotoGP race. It’s coming in April and I really want to get out there. I think it would be really awesome,” Darling said. “I have a lot of friends that are into MotoGP and they’re all kinda flipping out over this.”
The MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas will feature three full days of racing, along with festivities throughout the campus, including the world’s largest collection of Evel Knievel memorabilia, BMX and motorcycle stunt demonstrations, an aerobatic demonstration from pilot Kirby Chambliss and a post-race concert Sunday from legendary rockers Cheap Trick.
Children 15 and under are free with a ticketed adult.
Tickets are on sale at circuitoftheamericas.com/motogp.