Saturday, June 22, 2013

Murals by Happenstance

I had an eye appointment that was inconveniently timed. Our family has one car (my husband commutes to work by bike year round) to serve not only the 3 drivers in our house but also Chris's parents, who are legally blind and (obviously) can't drive. On this particular Monday, we had to juggle my 8:10 eye appointment, my mother-in-law's 9:30 appointment across town, and a late morning appointment that Chris had.

Our solution was for Chris to drop me off, and when my appointment ended I would start walking the 4 miles home. We knew he'd be able to pick me up long before I got all the way home, but a walk through Portland's neighborhoods on a sunny morning sounded much better to me than sitting in a waiting room for an hour.

On my way home, I came across this mural, informally painted on the side of a garage that faces an alley way. This is the uncropped photo that I snapped from my cell phone. I like how the roughness of the photo matches the setting of this modest neighborhood and the mural's theme with the money flying off the tree.

I also came across a mural in progress. I can't find any information about it. The white spots are numbered, clearly waiting to be filled in. I'll go back in a couple of weeks to see if any progress has been made, or if this is an unofficial project destined to be painted over by Portland's graffiti abatement program. I doubt that's the case here in the upscale Alameda neighborhood, an unlikely spot for renegade street artists.

I ended up having a fantastic walk through Portland's diverse neighborhoods, then Chris picked me up and we had just enough time for coffee and fresh doughnuts at the fabulous Pips Original before I had to drop him off at home to prepare for his appointment, before I headed across town to pick up his mom at the end of hers.

Here's another brand new mural I came upon recently. A few months ago, Ben got his ears pierced, and I snapped a photo of this bee mural outside the tattoo/body art/piercing studio. As you can see, it was a little worn, with sections of paint flaking off.

When we went back a couple weeks ago for some follow-up care, we found that the bees had been replaced by pigs! I shot this photo with a smudge filter, straight into the sun for dramatic effect.

Translation: the light was terrible for a photo facing west and I had a smudge on my lens. In other words, this is a really bad photo that no self-respecting photographer would post on the internet. 

I love street art, but even more than that I love coming across it unexpectedly as I go about my day. Even if the lighting and the lens aren't perfect for capturing the moment.
See more photos, or add your own Saturday Snapshots, at West Metro Mommy.


  1. A friend told me about all the murals in Portland - so cool! There were some here I hadn't seen before - thanks for sharing!


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  2. It must be lovely coming across murals. I think the most dramatic one are the bees, so it is a bit of a shame it has been painted over.

  3. If there are any murals around here, I've never noticed them. I need to keep my eyes pealed. You can see so much more when you walk.

  4. What a fun collection! I think the first two are particularly beautiful.

  5. These are good! I love Murals...! I made one in my previous school.

    Here is my snapshot post

  6. WOW...the 3rd and 4th ones look kinda scary LOL

  7. So amazing! I would love to explore and find these works of art. What a fun adventure! We don't have murals in our little town. Thanks for sharing your great photos!

  8. I love your posts about murals and other artsy work in your area! There's not much here to photograph let alone share.

  9. Street art is so much nicer to look at then graffiti - great idea.

  10. Those bees are so cool and to think that the murals are routinely painted over would be one hard to accept if I was the artist (and it is art).
    I am also amazed at the amount of planning it must take with a one car household!

  11. These are wonderful. I admire the talent of these street artists. They say so much with these murals.

  12. These are really great. Love looking at murals around the city. San Francisco has some really good ones, too.