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Houston Matters

The Story Behind Chuy’s ‘Fish With Attitude’

Artist Mike Quinn’s ceramic fish have been sold at the Tex-Mex chain for years.

A ceramic fish by Houston artist Mike Quinn.


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Mike Quinn - Yellow FishYears ago, Houston artist Mike Quinn sculpted ceramic fish for a class project. Then, when he saw a call for artists at a Chuy’s Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin, he submitted some of his work for a rotating art show there.

The restaurant chain ended up selling his hand-painted Fish With Attitude pieces for more than 17 years.

These days, Quinn still makes his signature fish, along with other sea creatures, like sharks, turtles and octopus. He’s even created some other creatures and characters, like a large razorback hog and a tribal mask planter.

A ceramic piece by Houston artist Mike Quinn.

Now, Quinn has a free, educational YouTube channel for kids called Have Fun Make Art With Mike Quinn. He says he hopes it helps kids who might not have an art teacher or other resources to learn art.

In the audio above, he tells Houston Matters about his education outreach efforts, how he got into art and how his fish series came to life.