Bike Touring ‘Forest for the Trees’ with the Portland Street Art Alliance

As part of the 2014 ‘Forest for the Trees‘ mural-making festival, the Portland Street Art Alliance hosted a casual bike tour of works in progress.

Thanks to legal hurdles blocking most public murals imposed by corporate advertisers Clear Channel, Portland has been a seriously blank city for sanctioned street art. PSAA and the artists of FFTT are now rapidly changing this dull status quo.

Founded in 2013, Forest for the Trees has brought together dozens of local and international artists to share their gifts on a large public scale in Portland, a city widely hyped for its creative output.

This weekend’s tour convened at the corner of SW 11th and Washington where introductions and instructions were shared. A map of the route was passed around. The tour would hit 9 of the 20 some murals going up around town – some finished, some in progress.

Interviewed by Rebel Metropolis, PSAA director Tiffany Conklin stressed the importance of FFTT: “PSAA is glad to see how much progress Forest for the Trees has made in just two years. Gage Hamilton and Matt Wagner have really helped launch Portland into the international street art scene. Portland’s a young and creative city and there’s no reason we can’t have a radical, pioneering public art landscape. The FFTT festival has gained much recognition in just a short time by following in the footsteps of events like Pow Pow, Art Basel, and Bushwick Open Studios.

Continued Conklin, “Having someone on-the-ground helping visiting artists secure wall space is essential, especially in a city like Portland where all murals need a city permit or RACC wavier. For local artists, FFTT is a great networking opportunity and a way to showcase their talents beyond the city. The larger community has the opportunity to participate in the creative process of mural making, and now have invigorated urban spaces they can all hopefully appreciate and connect with in new and interesting ways.


(Below): 1114 SW Washington | Faith47 (CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA)IMG_0868


720 NW Davis | Gage Hamilton (PDX)


1301 SE Grand | J.Shea (PDX)


2121 SE 6th | Zach Yarrington (PDX)


Midway through the tour of the new sanctioned murals, the swarm of cyclists stopped at the old Taylor Electric building which was destroyed in a fire several years ago. ‘Taylor’ as it’s known now, remains as Portland’s free wall. A chain link fence is the only real barrier to artists who want to add their mark to the block-sized space, which has been used for all sorts of adaptive uses from car parking to performance space. Plans to demolish Taylor have been repeatedly delayed.


840 SE 3rd | NoseGo (PHILADELPHIA)


425 SE 11th | Spencer Keeton Cunningham (SAN FRANCISCO)


2306 SE Morrison | Paige Wright (PDX), Blakely Dadson (PDX)


916 SE 34th | The Lost Cause (PDX)


5224 SE 26th | Nosego (PHILADELPHIA), Ogi (TOKYO)


The ride ended in the industrial district of Brooklyn in inner SE Portland at Gigantic Brewing, where the final mural of the tour was in progress.

Concluded Conklin, “PSAA chose to host a bicycle tour of some of these new murals to help the public engage with the muralists and the exciting art space they’ve created. Going by bicycle is a perfect way to see their work. It was a great bonding experience for everyone involved. We couldn’t have done it without the art and cycling community’s help. PSAA plans to host more street art bicycle tours like this one in the future.


Info on all participating FFTT artists:

More images of all the works in progress:






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