As an itinerant master of the air brush, Matt Stanger has lent his steady hand and four-color sensibilities to an array of Portland canvases over the years.He has painted full-body cobwebs on dancers at Devil’s Point and created soccer-themed interior murals for 24th & Meatballs, and splash-painted the windows of Belmont boutique Naked City. Last year, he designed midway backdrops for Oaks Park, a gig he landed after higher-ups spotted his signature Creature from the Black Lagoon-themed van in traffic.
But his most visible work are his sandwich boards—sidewalk-spanning placards illustrating some of the city’s most resonant civic brands. He’s given the tiki treatment to the Alibi Lounge to classic indie panache to Jackpot Records and the Vern. His personal favorite? The schnozzled pink elephant repping Foster-Powell dive bar Lay-Low.
It wasn’t his idea, but he managed to convey the best possible interpretation of owner- ship intent with wit and character to spare.
“Commercial art bums some people out,” he says, “but having them tell me what they want takes a little bit of the edge off. I like the challenge of turning someone’s dumb idea into something cool. Or, you know, the opposite.”
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