Gazing upon the Fence of Doors of Vashon Island

Doors are important in most stories. These are transitive devices, that hold the way to one world as small and familiar as one’s own home, or to another world as vast and ready to explore as our universe itself. Either side, is a new story waiting to be told.

That said, is my highlight of a favorite little spot on Vashon Island to the west of Seattle), celebrating the awesomeness of doors in pop culture, with a fence made of many to the side of a house bordering a small alley. For a visitor to find, is to either stumble upon it or be learn of it. This spectacle is not easily noticeable otherwise.

Each colorful, styled door is in reference to some iconic pop-culture staple. Here is a closer look. Try and figure them out.

From left to right, I believe (might have a couple mixed up) we have Sherlock Holmes, Muppet Show, Harry Potter, Twilight Zone, Friends, Shrek, Hobbit, Doctor Who, Winnie the Pooh, Lord of the Rings, Monsters Inc, Napoleon Dynamite, Mystery Date, Christmas Carol, and Chronicles of Narnia (out of frame).

Upon my visit with a couple friends, we had a chance to chat with the artist, and builder of these doors, John “Oz” Osborne. He is a local resident, also very friendly and welcoming toward admirers of his work. He shared a little history, which began as a plan to keep his yard less visible to the local business activity across the alley. His wife, Jenny developed the idea further, as both worked together to expand each part of the fence, one door at a time. The work is still continual, with more space left for more doors.

John explained the most curious of doors, in the picture of the above on the right (him to the right taking a break from painting his own house). This door is in reference to an old board game intended for young girls, Mystery Date. The idea of the game was to gain a desirable date, but avoid the “dud.”

For those visiting Vashon Island, the Fence of Doors is worth personally checking out. Also, see what’s been added with the passage of time. It’s open for all to see, from a small side street. Location is 100th pl SW and 174th street, behind Luna Bella’s consignment boutique.

For those who may never get a chance to visit the little obscure area of the Pacific Northwest, here’s my little video posted on Instagram…

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Picture of Today 11/17/14

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Here, is some hidden street art based on Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal movie. You’ll find it in Seattle’s Queene Anne (lower) area behind The Mecca Cafe and Bar. A local peep hanging out back told me about this, which has been up for at least 20 years and retouched fairly recently. Locals love it, even though some details are a bit off.

As to the Dark Crystal movie, it’s a good classic and among the best of the 1980s dark fantasy epics. For me, I remember being mildly terrified at the bird creatures when I first saw this as a small child. As a grown adult, they still kind of creep me out.

More Post Alley art…

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Yesterday, I posted a small portion of some amazing wall art one could see in the Post Alley opening (located under the side of Seattle’s famous Pike Market).

Now, I share a bit more. What is now seen is only what’s here for now and certain to change over time. No two visits over an extended time period are the same. I will look forward to every revisit.

But for now, explore with your eyes..

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Picture of Today 11/7/14

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In Seattle, below the Pike Market, in Post Alley, near the Gum Wall.

The little wads are gum, previously chewed from the passing peoples. You should see the other side behind me. Both walls together is an imagery overload. I think one wall will do for now..

The art of Clarion Alley – San Francisco, Mission District

photo by Orion Tippens

Yay, picture share time!

I present below, this cluster of pics from a personal favorite spot in San Francisco’s Mission District. This location is full of color, creativity, messages, diversity, brilliance, amazement. Here, appreciate fine urban and graffiti art; all open to the public on the walls of doors, fences, buildings. All, mostly done by local artists.

This is Clarion Alley. It’s all free, just find the alley and take a stroll (during the day is brighter, safer).

The work of Clarion Alley is done by various artists with full permission by the city and the adjacent property owners. This collaboration is part to the work of CAMP (Clarion Alley Mural Project). Here, is a little more from the the CAMP representative Web page, www.meganwilson.com:

“Clarion Alley Mural Project has been a grass roots project from beginning to future, organized by a handful of individuals who have volunteered thousands of hours, and with the added generosity of many, many community members who’ve committed their time and energy to CAMP over the past 20 years. Its possible that such a project could only be done by a small group of committed friends. Big institutions with paid staffs, enviable office facilities, and large materials budgets also have institutional strictures, competing curatorial agendas, levels of prestige to be maintained, ponderous decision-making processes, star power and quota considerations in the selection of artists and bottom line revenue projections to be taken into account. Could a project based on the affinities of artists, characterized by a rejection of western fine art hierarchies, with no enhancement of the market value of stored artworks, ever make its way through that gamut?

In a city that is rapidly changing to cater to the one-percent at every level, CAMP is one of the last remaining truly punk venues in San Francisco.”

I visit San Francisco often, at least twice a year over the last ten years. I come back to Clarion Alley when time allows. Some of the art stays unchanged (perhaps touched up or repaired), while other art is fresh and new painted over the old. This presentation is very refreshing, and retains hope for the ongoing troubles of San Francisco’s local art community (rising rents, gentrification, the tech industry invasion).

Below, is my collection of images over the past few years visiting Clarion Alley. Pics are from various cameras, smartphones on hand. Enjoy, appreciate, make this place a must-see for your time in San Francisco.

For more on Clarion Alley, CAMP, and the artists involved with more pictures past and present – click here, and here, and here.