The “i love you so much” wall at Jo’s Coffee on S Congress was vandalized once again last Friday night. Whether of not you’ve visited Austin, it’s very possible you’ve see the simple green and red mural used as a background for photos on social media. For the Austin locals, it’s become almost cheesy running inside joke on top of local tourist attraction.
The quiet mural was originally written in 2010 by Amy Cook, a local Austin musician. While on a trip in New York, Cook saw a similar proclamation in an alleyway and was inspired to bring that inspiration home. She wrote it to her girlfriend Liz Lambert (the majority owner at Jo’s Coffee) as a simple public love letter. The mural has no frills, no drawings, and no additional bells and whistles. Perhaps it’s the simplicity that has made it so popular, but its popularity has also made it a huge target for vandalism.
It was first vandalized in January 2011, not long after it was written, and it has been vandalized again and again thereafter. Each time, it has been restored back to how it was. According to CBS, Jo’s told actually gets vandalized or damaged weekly, but they just do a few touch-ups and continue on their way.
At this point, the wall is popular enough to warrant its own following. A cord has been set up for people to stand in line to take photos, and no wonder – it’s huge on Instagram. The #iloveyousomuch tag on Instagram, which has over a million posts, is thoroughly dotted in green. Even the extraordinarily specific #iloveyousomuchmural and #iloveyousomuchwall have over 1,000 posts.
The iconic restaurant wall was also heavily vandalized in March of 2017, where “F**K AUSTIN” was spray painted across it in black paint. This time, the “i love you so much” was crossed out with a black ‘X’ and “SOLD OUT” was written in black capital letters beneath. The day after, the wall was already cleaned up and returned to its previous state, a testament to its resilience as a local icon and tourist stop.
Cook describes here it as “sort of a love letter to the city, ” saying that she “wrote it to somebody, but it sort of became just for everybody.”
At the end of the day, it’s a cute picture spot for friends, family, and couples and will clearly withstand the test of time due to the dedication of those who maintain it.