For many artists, graffiti is a chance to say what they want and for their work to be seen. However, graffiti straddles a fine line between “street art” and “vandalism,” and has plagued the US with debates and legislation for decades.
Many cities have designated walls for artists to graffiti on; in Austin, we have the graffiti park at Castle Hill (also called the HOPE Outdoor Gallery). And if you venture far enough into the graffiti park, you may find a large bird illustration that reads “DRIB” next to it.
What is DRIB? DRIB reads “BIRD” backwards and is a little cartoon-like bird character that has suddenly appeared all over surfaces around Austin, from billboards to building walls.
I first stumbled upon a DRIB drawing while driving down South Lamar, and have since spotted DRIB on 34th Street, North Lamar, Castle Hill, and around Bull Creek and 44th Street.
According to the DRIB Instagram (@this_bird_), which was the only record I could find of this DRIB bird anywhere online, the character was created/originated about six months ago, originally going by “BIRD,” however around six weeks ago, the artist switched its name to “DRIB.”
Logically, this leaves me wondering who this mysterious DRIB artist is. The only information we have is from DRIB’s Instagram bio which reads:
“BIRD no more. This bird is DRIB. Amateur graffiti writer/skilled veggie grower. D.O.P.E draw or paint everyday. Do what makes you happy”
The DRIB hashtag on Instagram has 1,362 posts and is primarily pictures of DRIB (the one at the corner of South Lamar and Evergreen seems to be the most popular) along with some snaps of dribbling babies sprinkled in.
We may never discover who the mastermind behind DRIB really is. But one thing’s for sure, this little bird is brightening up Austin one graffiti at a time.