Bort Is Austin's Trans-Feminine, Graffiti Trash Queen
A look into one of ATX's most iconic street artists
By Courtney Naquin,
2:00PM, Fri. Jan. 27, 2017
Walking around town, it’s easy to stumble upon a large-eared, wide-eyed, animal-like image, doodled onto the sidewalk or stickered onto a stop sign. Or perhaps a small, abstract line drawing of a cat.
Many people know these images as the legacy of Bort, the trans-feminine, graffiti “trash queen,” who’s quickly become one of Austin’s most iconic street artists.
“[My] stuff typically deals with my history of addiction, anorexia, self-harm, and mental illness,” said Bort, explaining that her art is an expression of the struggles and challenges she faces in her own life.
“My art has two different focuses, the street work and the studio work. The street stuff focuses on my imaginary friend Bort, using repetition of imagery and variation in the character.” These are the kinds of images found on the sidewalk or under a bridge, or at the HOPE Outdoor Gallery graffiti park.
“My studio [art] deals with my own problems; it helps me kind of understand them if only in hindsight. I hope representation of these experiences can help others who are having them feel less alone.” The studio art includes photo-to-transfer pieces, wood panels, and canvas paintings. Unsettled Culture, an up-and-coming creative organization, is sponsoring "Bort’s Living Room," an art and music showcase featuring a selection of Bort’s “trash art” pieces. The event will be all-encompassing with audio, visuals, and space working together. Unsettled Culture’s goal is to create a cozy, living room-like space.
When asked what people should expect at the event, Bort said, “[Unsettled Culture] came up with an idea to set up the venue to be homey. The show is basically dressing up the venue all cute with cute bands, and my trash art. … The setup hopefully makes you sad and comfortable.”
Local acts Monte, Little Thief, Crxmbs, and BFF, along with California's 1nce will be performing. And in addition to some pieces of art, Bort will be selling zines, stickers, art prints, and patches. “Come out,” said Bort. “See stuff, hear stuff, get sad, and support art stuff because we’re all broke, typically.”
Bort’s Living Room takes place Saturday, Jan. 28, at Shirley’s Temple and is open to all ages. 7pm. $5. For a peek into Bort’s art follow her Instagram @bortart.