DALLAS — Kristin Moore spent has spent most of her life in Texas – except for two years of graduate school in Los Angeles.
The long drive between California and home unleashed a love of western skies, brilliant sunsets and Texas mainstays.
“I think my love of Whataburger really amplified when I lived out of state,” she said. “I think that nostalgia for a specific food sparked nostalgia I have for the locations that I paint.”
Moore is a landscape painter who focuses on the western United States.
She creates acrylic paintings that are vibrant yet subtle by dedicating large swaths of space to the sky while adding tiny landmarks along the bottom.
“I do like to leave space, let the sky breathe a little bit,” she said from her studio in Dallas’s Cedars neighborhood as she worked on a piece featuring a Las Vegas motel.
She’s painted Austin restaurants, California palm trees and the Vegas strip.
But some of her favorite pieces feature Whataburger.
“I started to see the Whataburger sign as this iconic image in my brain when I’d drive home to Texas,” she said. “I think the first Whataburger is somewhere in Arizona. I remember when I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh yes! I’m almost home.’”
She said the bright orange ‘W’ and the angled striped exterior “inspired this sense of Americana, and this sense of being a Texan.”
It is not a physical museum.
The Instagram account, @TheWMOA, currently features 16 artists from across the country.
“It includes a variety of perspectives and interpretations of Whataburger fandom,” according to the Whataburger website announcing the virtual museum’s launch.
“Many of these artists had tagged Whataburger in the past, and we knew we wanted to shine a light on their great work.”
Moore is impressed not only by the talent and skill she sees in fellow Whataburger artists, but by how Whataburger is elevating them.
“It’s a really a unique way to display art because they do crop it to where it’s almost it’s on a white wall in a gallery. And they have these labels they make for each piece. They also tag every artist,” she said.
Some of the art chosen for the museum showcases the Whataburger logo alone.
Others feature the buildings, the bags, the cups, or the food.
“Whataburger is bringing all these artists into one space on your phone and that’s exciting,” Moore said. “It’s really accessible and that’s awesome.”
Whataburger said it will continue to collect submissions from artists who use the tag @TheWMOA on Instagram posts.
In case you were wondering, Moore’s favorite Whataburger meal is a jalapeño cheeseburger (not the junior size, she said), with french fries and spicy ketchup.