AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the past 25 years, Austinites have walked by the ‘Hi, How Are You’ mural painted on the side of a building in central Austin.
It’s a friendly out-of-this-world creation greeting Austinites with a simple question at the corner of Guadalupe Street and W 21st Street.
“Hi, how are you?”
The mural, created by Daniel Johnston, has inspired a project that is aimed at getting people talking about mental health and checking in with each other about well being.
Co-founders Tom Gimbel and Courtney Blanton hosted their first event focused on self-care lat year.
Attendee Kristen Malone said the concert last year changed her outlook on life.
“We go through life just saying, ‘Hi, how are you? I’m fine. Hi, how are you? I’m fine,’ and no one really checks in,” she said. The event led Kristen to realize she needed to be there for her friends and most importantly, herself.
“Once you start the conversation, I found that people open up,” she said. “If you start by saying, ‘I have these issues and I’ve been there,’ that helps other people to open up.”
She now hopes the mural will inspire others.
“I’ve seen this mural growing up and it’s adorable and it’s a great place to take photos, but you never think about the message,” she said. “The message is what’s important.”
The concert Tuesday night will feature The Flaming Lips, Gavin DeGraw and Yo La Tengo is sold out at ACL Live at Moody Theater but anyone can watch the concert live online.
The Man Behind the Art
Daniel Johnston is a pop-culture legend from Austin’s music and art scene, gaining popularity in the 80s. He struggled with mental illness, and was the subject of a documentary titled “The Devil and Daniel Johnston.”
Johnston was reportedly paid $70 for the ‘Hi, How Are You,” mural in 1993. It became a nationwide phenomenon when Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain wore a t-shirt featuring the mural.
‘The Hi, How Are You Project’ offers resources for those in need of help. You can learn more by clicking HERE.