Bort Is Austin's Trans-Feminine, Graffiti Trash Queen

A look into one of ATX's most iconic street artists

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.

Bort's graffiti (Photo provided by Bort)

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 (Photo provided by Bort)

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Courtney Naquin
Austin International Drag Festival Closes Out Year Four in Style
Austin International Drag Festival Closes Out Year Four in Style
With greater diversity, this year's fest set a new precedent

Nov. 19, 2018

Tidbits From Austin International Drag Fest
Tidbits From Austin International Drag Fest
Queens, kings, and clowns from near and far wow at Drag Village

Nov. 19, 2018


Bort, Unsettled Culture, Hope Outdoor Gallery

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle