Sunday, September 21, 2014

Capax Infiniti

The next public mural in our ongoing project is another very new one, having appeared on the side of the Carlyle Building at SW 11th & Washington about a month ago. Capax Infiniti was created by a prominent South African street artist who goes by the name "Faith47" (aka @faithfourseven). I'm just beginning to learn about the world of street art, and I wasn't familiar with her or her work, but apparently having something of hers here is kind of a big deal. The mural was created for this year's Forest For the Trees event, an annual public mural-painting project, now in its second year.

Until quite recently I had an unwritten policy that I wasn't going to bother with murals. The ones around town all seemed to adhere to a small set of themes: Local history, neighborhood boosterism, positive messages for kids and teens, and thinly veiled wink-wink-not-quite-advertising. But I really wanted to do something new and different here, so I junked the old policy, and here we are. Murals were a short step from the City Repair painted intersections I've been covering for a few months now, so I suppose this was a logical progression. In any case I seem to have picked a good time to take an interest, as it looks like we're starting to get a wider range of artists and subject matter here.

Another attractive aspect of this new project is that, from what I can tell, the mural and street art world isn't totally dominated by old white men, for a change. If you write about "traditional" public art in Portland, you inevitably keep coming back to the same small group of people, a bunch of elderly or deceased white guys who peaked while JFK was President. It's gotten so I can identify the work of several of these guys just by sight alone, and I almost never guess wrong. Which is a very esoteric and tedious superpower to have, and one that isn't particularly useful outside the Northwest.

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