City News

Students react to ‘Be Someone’ mural defacement

Courtesy of Abigail O'Neil

“Some” was re-painted on the “BE SOMEONE” graffiti after somebody painted over the famous art at its home above I-45. | Courtesy of Abigail O’Neil

Last week, the beloved “BE SOMEONE” mural that found a home on a train bridge over I-45 in 2012 was defaced.  Someone, perhaps another graffiti artist, painted over the “SOME” for it to read “BE ONE”.

Local Graffiti artist GONZO247 broke down some of the unwritten rules that many graffiti artists live by.

“In the graffiti world, we play by different rules…you paint something and hope for the best and that the city or property owners don’t come and paint over it,” GONZO247 said.

“When you paint over it, it’s disrespectful to leave any of the art from before showing. Typically that one artist will completely paint over it but this one was different the artist came and just tweaked it.”

The message quickly stirred up a lot of controversy around the city.

“Sometimes it can be an unfortunate situation where someone tries to capitalize on someone else’s work. They think their message is bigger than (the original’s) and they tweak it to make it their own,” GONZO247 said.

Some of the students at UH tried to interpret the artist’s new message of “BE ONE”.

“I think (they were) probably just trying to make (their) mark on something, I mean (they) knew that it was a good place to put it,” psychology senior Eric Esqueda said. “I guess (their) message was telling the Houston people to be united.”


But not everyone was fond of the new message. Kinesiology sophomore Melvin Jenkins was upset when he found out the mural was defaced.

“I think the person who painted over it was just trying to vandalize it,” Jenkins said. “I think they knew what that meant to the city which is why it’s been there for so long and they were just trying to get attention and stir up trouble.”

It didn’t take long for the mural to be brought back to its original message as someone painted a darker toned “SOME” in its original place, scrawling “I tried” on the side.

“What I think is cool is that the city rallied together. A lot of people see it driving through the city to see the people’s reaction was impressive,” GONZO247 said.

“Houston’s internet broke with that message, and I think it was cool that a piece of art could grab a hold of the city so much that they went back and fixed it right away.”


Although it took a little defacing, Houstonians seemed to appreciate the mural more afterwards.

“Tradition is very important for people,” communication senior Pablo Milanese said. “Everybody liked it in the first place. Every time you drive by it you feel something. You feel like it’s part of the city, so I guess it’s like they were taking back their identity.”

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  • Now it’s been replaced with a minty green “BE SOMEONE” spanning half the bridge.
    The effort is cool, but the novelty is just not there anymore.

  • It originally read “BE SOMEONE ELSE”. The version that everyone is so in love with is not the original artist’s intention.

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