Downtown Mars, a mural that wraps around the formerly drab 3-story Texas Direct Auto Building at 1301 Leeland, was painted by Sebastien "Mr. D" Boileau of Eyeful Art Custom Murals and Designs in 2016. A hundred gallons of house paint and 300 spray paint cans were used to create the mural. From a distance, the colorful walls look like the Texas flag, with the astronaut Jack Russell terrier on the back wall serving as the star.
In the middle of the concrete jungle surrounding Leeland and Caroline Streets in downtown Houston, one building stands out. It’s dressed in the latest mural by Houston street artist Sebastien Boileau.
“Houston is known as ‘Space City,’ so we wanted to do a little homage with a twist,” Boileau says.
The “twist” is a painting of a dog in an astronaut suit, suspended upside down in outer space, with the entire side of the 40-foot-high Texas Direct Auto building as its canvas. When the two other sides are finished in a couple weeks, they’ll be blanketed in cosmic swirls of light and dark hues of orange and blue, evoking the cratered terrain of Mars.
But some may be asking, “What does art have to do with selling cars?”
Brett Bertrand with Texas Direct Auto says they were just trying to think out of the box.
“We wanted to do something really unique, really exciting,” Bertrand says. “And we think it gives back to the community, too. This building was ugly before. And now, look at it – it’s something that you want to stop and look at and take a picture and look at the detail.”
Boileau and three other local painters – Robyn Sanders, Erick Calvillo, and Armando Castelan – began work on the mural a couple of months ago. Boileau predicts that, by the end of the job, they’ll have gone through about 100 gallons of paint and 300 cans of spray paint.
With easy visibility from the Toyota Center down the street, Boileau thinks the humorous eye candy could end up being an iconic spot for the city.
“After 5 pm, there’s not a whole lot going on here,” Boileau says. “So people understand that you have to do this in order to bring life, in order to bring excitement. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of going downtown?”