Sometime in June of this year, a new Instagram account popped up with distinctive orange stripes, a quintessential Texas flair, and a collection of paintings.
Our familiarity with this palette of orange and white is not lost on anyone who lives in, or has driven through, Texas. Nor is it lost on midnight marauders trying to fix a night of too much revelry. The IG account belongs to the Whataburger Museum of Art, and it is for real.
Curious as hell, Glasstire DM’d the account for more information. It turns out to be official Whataburger Corporate Communications… although with more sleuthing, we determined that the account is created by Austin-based company McGarrah Jesse — and if so, may be the dopest PR campaign this side of the Pecos.
Glasstire: What is this glorious thing and whose idea was it?
Whataburger Corporate Communications: At Whataburger, we’re fortunate to have so many talented fans who have transformed their brand love into pieces of artwork — that’s pretty special, and they’ve inspired us. We wanted to support and celebrate the Whataburger fans whose artwork uplifts and connects us and created The Whataburger Museum of Art to help us do that.
GT: Where did you find the artists?
WCC: Like a true curated art collection, we looked for a variety of perspectives and interpretations of Whataburger fandom, and the artwork was sourced through Instagram and online galleries. We reached out to artists directly and asked them if they would like to be featured in The WMOA. We’re continuing to take submissions from artists through the Instagram account, @TheWMOA, and we’ll continue to feature new artists as the account grows.
GT: What has the response been?
WCC: As a brand, we’ve loved having the opportunity to shine a light on so many great artists – many of whom had tagged @Whataburger in the past. We encourage everyone who visits The WMOA to explore the artists’ accounts to support them and purchase their artwork. The WMOA online gallery launched in early June with a select group of featured artwork, and since then, the collection has continued to grow as new Whataburger fan art is submitted from across the globe.
To date, the WMOA’s Instagram account has 4,467 followers and 45 posts. Glasstire has visited the site over the past couple of weeks and have some favorites, including Raul Rene Gonzalez‘s Down the Street, which appears at the top of this page. (To learn more about Gonzales’ work, read our recent interview with the artist here).
For the curious artist, there is a link on the IG page where you may submit your best Whataburger art. Who knows: Maybe New York art critic Jerry Saltz can switch out his iconic 7-11 Super Big Gulp for a Whataburger Large, and support a Texas legacy company in the process.
“I was looking at a bag and thinking Whataburger is such a great Texas thing. And there are so many great people from Texas that go unrecognized, so what’s better than to paint Texans on it.” — Erik Seaholm
“My iconic signage work represents my home state and all those Sunday afternoons going to the drive thru at Whataburger and loving that feeling.” — Kristin Moore
“In high school, we’d always go to Whataburger after football games — it was always there. And everything I paint is something I’ve been inspired by and that I genuinely like, because that helps me enter a flow state when painting.” — Emily Sandoval
“Make art for yourself. I spent many years unhappy making art for a wider audience. I felt a disconnect. Once I started making pieces personal to me, opportunities opened up.” — Joan Leigh Horne
“My advice for any artist is to get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be scared to try new mediums. You’re only going to get better.” — Ann Fuhring
“As a kid, my mother took my brother and I downtown to Whataburger on the bay because she knew we liked to sit outside and, ironically, feed the sky rats. It was a great memory of spending time with my family and enjoying a Whataburger meal with my brother.” — Victoria Alma Villarreal
“When I am empty please dispose of me properly.”
Chuck Ramirez, “Whatacup,” 2002: https://ruizhealyart.com/artists/44-chuck-ramirez/works/11-whatacup-2002/