Woman charged for vandalizing popular local mural - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Woman charged for vandalizing popular local mural

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Austin has no shortage of colorful street artwork -- it's part of what makes Austin...Austin.

The Thai Spice restaurant hasn't always been on the drag near UT. But the famous "Jeremiah the Innocent" mural has been greeting people in a friendly way for quite a while on the side of that building -- painted by musician and artist Daniel Johnston.

Austin street artist Jonny Slie says the image is pretty iconic.

"Kurt Cobain wore the 'Hi, how are you?' t-shirt when he was promoting the Nevermind album in like '91 so I mean right there, that's like...I mean come on, who doesn't like Nirvana?" Slie said.

But on Christmas Eve afternoon, in broad daylight, two Austin Police officers caught 32-year-old Rebecca Guest spray painting F-bombs all over it.

According to police documents, Guest told the officers she was covering it with expletives to force the owner to remove it...because she felt the "Hi, how are you?" mural was offensive and directed toward her.

She said there were a number of murals around town she felt that way about and she'd spent hundreds of dollars on supplies to deface them too.

Thai Spice owner David Roberts says they were about to get the ball rolling on a project to restore the painting.

"It's gonna be more of an effort now. Because the lines of the frog are messed up and you know it's just gonna be more work," Roberts said.

Roberts told police it could cost between $500 and $1,000 to fix.

Jonny Slie and his group just finished painting one of the Home Slice walls on South Congress.

It took him days and he hopes the painting will be there for years to come.

"Yeah man if someone came here and like defaced it or something like that, you know, it would break my heart man. It's like you put a lot of time, you put a lot of effort, you put a lot of love into your artwork," he said.

He says it's a matter of respect.

"Jeremiah the Innocent, you definitely don't go over that! If you ever want to be friends with anyone in Austin ever again! That sucks man," Slie said.

Austin Police say Rebecca Guest was charged with a Class A misdemeanor and could be fined up to $4,000 or be put in jail for a year if she's found guilty.

In the meantime, Thai Spice owner David Roberts says they'll fix it and when they reopen in January, they're renaming the restaurant "Thai, how are you?"

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