The Portland mural extravaganza Forest For The Trees wrapped up last week and the whole city is roughly 3% cooler because of it. I absolutely love this project. It feels mischievous and whimsical at the same time, which I enjoy. I especially enjoyed it because I was out of town for the week of the painting so I just came back to more hairy serpents and warring cartoons on buildings around town.

My only suggestions to the organizing committee for future iterations (aside from "Please have future iterations") is more. Specifically, more outreach to people who didn't hear about it and wonder why this cool new painting is gracing their buildings. It would be great if every mural had an informational plaque giving people more information on the artist and the whole FFTT project.

Take, for instance, this mural from last year's festival.

In process mural from the 2013 FFTT festival.
  • In process mural from the 2013 FFTT festival.

This sad woman staring into the middle distance was painted by an Australian artist named (?) Rone. Rone's thing is painting large pictures of sad women on the side of things. He painted his name nice and readable next to her so I could see that he does that, but not all artists did that. And without that info, it's not clear why this woman is here and what I've done to upset her.

This year, another piece appeared on the same block as her (done by South African artist Faith47, who is artistically coy about any biographical info).

New mural by Faith47
  • New mural by Faith47

Now this whole block has the theme "pensive women who refuse to make eye contact with you." Did the FFTT people intend that?

I'd also love it if the website did a much better job showcasing the work. While the bike tours of the new murals are great, it's been 90 degrees outside and I'm made of like 80% ice cream, so there's no way I'm gonna do that. If there was a virtual tour I could take that included before/after photos and links to more work from the artists, my ice creamy center and I would view the shit out of it.

Both of those suggestions come from the fact that I think it's an awesome thing we're lucky to have. And they both cost money. So if they put up another Kickstarter next year, I'll gladly contribute. Keep up the good work, guys. There are lots more buildings that could use paintings of sad women on them.