The portraits of Benjamin.

Portraits adorn a residential fence in the Cathedral Park neighborhood.

For the three and a half years I’ve been in St. Johns, I kept seeing this installation from the bus and then managing not to make myself go down to take a closer look and maybe some photos until this past week. While this particular shot of the entire installation was taken a couple days later when the street was clear of cars, when I first stopped by it turned out that the people who live there were in the process of moving out, recently having sold the house.

Since I’ve been pretty significantly overwhelmed lately, I didn’t quite catch all of the story she told me, but apparently an artist named Benjamin would leave paintings around Portland, some of which would get spotted, picked up, and brought to be added to this fence. If I recall correctly, the portraits of people were his, but those of animals were painted by the homeowner’s sister. Supposedly the second one in from the right on the top row is Benjamin.

All of the terms I thought to use to search the web about the story of this installation were so general or common that I never managed to find anything.

In my mental state of late, I simply didn’t think to ask what’s going to become of all of it under the new owners. You can get a better look at this photo on its Flickr page. If you look closely, there’s a tiny painting of a cactus that the homeowner herself painted to add before she left.