WHAT: A mural of King George that captures the troubadour in all his regal glory.
WHERE: The St. Mary’s Strip, just north of downtown San Antonio.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: George Strait’s music is iconic and immortal, and thus it makes sense that it be immortalized on the side of a building just thirty miles north or so from where he was born. There are many ways to depict the troubadour—in starched Wranglers and a cowboy hat, onstage strumming his guitar, maybe peering out the window of a pickup truck—but Tumlinson gives the King of Country the true regal treatment instead, outfitting him with a crown and a scepter. (And check out that cape!)
The mural in San Antonio isn’t the first time that Tumlinson has depicted a legend of Texas music on the side of a building. Out in the West Texas town of Rankin, Tumlinson’s depiction of Willie Nelson as a saintly figure smoking a joint, clutching Trigger, and beaming toward passers-by welcomes all to the town of fewer than eight hundred people.
The portraiture doesn’t stop at Saint Willie and King George. Elsewhere in Rankin, in an oil field, you’ll find a portrait of Matthew McConaughey as Wooderson, his Dazed and Confused character, as well as a local building emblazoned with the image of non-Texan (but famous portrayer of Texans) John Wayne. And another San Antonio wall got a depiction of an unnamed woman dressed like Davy Crockett, swinging her rifle as a club.
All of Tumlinson’s mural work is fun to look at, but there’s something especially great about his pieces featuring Strait and Nelson—he captures the musicians in a way that looks like how we think of them, with Willie beatified and approachable and George balancing a royal distance with a friendly grin. Let’s hope Tumlinson does Bun B next.