4.24.2013

graffiti redux: welcome to the cat bridge

"LA/Love Sunset," SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland

On my blurry-eyed half-dashes to the bus stop in the mornings not long after sunrise, I've been chuckling over the latest incarnation of the mural on the SE 9th Avenue pedestrian/bike overpass, which some might remember from a post last May. Here's what we find nearly a year later.


"Hella Kitty, El Gato Bandito," graffiti on SE 9th Avenue pedestrian overpass, Portland, OR

I have nothing much to say about "El Gato Bandito." I'm no graffiti expert, though I enjoy photographing it. But having lived in the Bay Area, I find "Hella Kitty" a funny bit of wordplay. And the smoking bobble-headed chulo cat in the buttoned-up flannel shirt is kinda cute. Plus, the use of the schwa in a couple of presumably intentionally misspelled tags is hella weird: "mprəbəbl." The signs and symbols of this in-group community of practice—taggers, gang members—are beyond me. I'm just a bystander running to catch the bus.


"Own It!" smokin' cat graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR


"mprəbəbl" cat graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR


"mprəbəbl (welcome to the cat bridge)" graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR


caped-cat graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR


ghost-cat graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR

Random non-cat-themed tags also appear here and there along the route:


SE 9th Avenue overpass graffiti, Portland, OR


graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR


"Brotherhood Is Dead" graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR


giant snail graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR


"Brick by Brick" graffiti, SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR

So I hereby dedicate this picture poem to my talented friend Carol, writer, artist, and fellow aficionado of the painted underbelly of Portland—at least as seen from a distance—who e-mailed today: "You aren't blogging. Are you sick?" She inspired me to walk down the street to take graffiti photos tonight after dinner as the sun was going down, something I've been meaning to do for the last week. I dodged a few bikers and couples on the bridge, snapped a few pictures, wrote a few lines, making myself late for bed. But I'm happy as a snail on lettuce.

(And yes, Carol, I'm faux-sick, meaning my body just thinks it's sick, having allergic reactions to all the pollen floating in the air now that the weather is warming: runny nose, stuffed sinuses, plugged ear, dark circles under the eyes, general fatigue. It's not another cold; it just feels like one. Do I love this town or what?)


"El Gato Bandito" graffiti tag,  SE 9th Avenue overpass, Portland, OR

2 comments:

  1. (Is it not crazy when we correspond via blog?) Sorry you are laid low, Brooke. Welcome to the grass seed capital of the world. These photos are wonderful. Very artistic tagging. I'm glad you captured it before it disappears.

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