Recent Projects




A friend poses with toadstool art by Christen Mattix.  Stay up to date with Christen’s art at

The toadstool painting project was an attempt to beautify downtown and bring joy to people during a difficult election season and the anxiety caused by terrorist attacks around the world.  I didn’t ask permission because it was such a fine idea, I didn’t want to risk getting it shot down by City Hall before the public had a chance to see it.  I live in the entertainment district with a lot of low income people, and our front “yard” is a parking lot…I felt that a few colorful toadstools would enhance everyone’s view…Many of my neighbors don’t have cars and/or have disabilities that prevent them from getting out of the urban center.  So many people–taxi drivers, students, baristas, seniors–stopped to thank me for the toadstools that I felt I was doing a community service…

I worked in plain sight between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm with police cars regularly cruising past me.  Unfortunately, as I was painting my 9th toadstool in front of Bank of America on Cornwall, my luck turned and someone called the police.  It only takes one complaint to destroy a gift that brought happiness to so many people.  I have many regrets about the permitting process–I made many mistakes especially since it was my first attempt and I was working backwards, asking forgiveness for what I’d already done.  I offered to undo my work, since I felt it was my responsibility and didn’t want tax dollars to be wasted, but my offer was declined by the arts commissioner.

The life span of a mushroom is 7-10 days in the wild…The toadstool bollards lasted close to 2 months total…and now the spores of this idea have been released, and I look forward to seeing lots more bollard art, with permission, that is.

More of the story in the Bellingham Herald


More Projects…


2 thoughts on “Recent Projects

  1. dave says:

    I love your bollards.
    And I would have loved your painted ones too if the CoB didn’t think gray was a proper color in the public palette.

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