Spring Cleaning (The Stories I Never Got To): What’s in a Name? Pound For Pound The Tag Measures Up

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Oh Lord!


When I think about Lord Pound it takes me back in time. There was a different house and neighborhood and our dog Max, who I walked when I spotted most of these tags, has since passed away. The photos are from three years ago. I’m not sure if Lord Pound is active. When I knew of this entity claiming naming rights to every square inch of the Kenton neighborhood I had to admit it had a certain intrigue. I wondered about what was going on with that combination of words and why they were everywhere.

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Ground pound.


So here’s the disclaimer I issue every time I write about graffiti. This is not about promoting or condoning graffiti. I’m here to observe and document even as I risk glamorizing and encouraging works in this medium of vandalization. While it seems irresponsible it’s also irresistible. Graffiti continues. This under read blog offers scant chance of bringing fame or glory to any graffiti producer. Why would they need it anyway? Lord Pound is already royalty according to his moniker. My first assumption is that this is a guy tagger given the male dominance in the graffiti world and the “bro” feel of this tag but I could be wrong.

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Triple pounder.


Lord Pound received a brief mention in this blog in an old post. It’s hard to imagine how he wouldn’t given the ubiquitous nature of his tagging. I couldn’t walk in the neighborhood without seeing his name. Looking over photos, I’ve noticed a certain panache. I can also appreciate its small scale. There’s versions of Lord Pound in different scripts on a single pole. There’s Lord Pound with hearts on the old Comfort Inn, surely painted over by now. Then there’s Lord Pound dripping out of a double arrow on a traffic sign. These tags have flair. They don’t feel slopped and splashed about.

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Pound sign.

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The original Lord Pound?


At first glance the internet provides no clues as to who or what Lord Pound could be or where the name may have derived. There was Dudley Pound who became Admiral the of the Fleet aka First Sea Lord in the British Navy back in 1939 but this hardly seems like a nod to him. There was a mention of a Marvel character named Lord Pound—a god of money, on a database, but the site was making little sense and this would be an obscure reference. There was also much discussion on Reddit from three years ago about Lord Pound tagging the Mt. Hood National Forest. Not cool. I’m sticking with what I’ve learned reading the Pittsburgh Orbit posts written by self-professed speculative journalist Will Simmons  as well as watching multiple episodes of The Alaska Triangle show and offer wild guesses as to what inspired the name Lord Pound.

  • A British boxer with a powerful uppercut, a glass jaw who’s also a bleeder?
  • Religious? As in our Lord and Savior seeking retribution.
  • Some kind of deviant thing, a nod to old school locker room talk? Still affiliated with a bragging British guy wearing Union Jack shorts?
  • Pound sign? Hash mark? Hash tag?
  • Royalty? Money? Royal money?

 

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Impound.

I thought I had a few more entertaining guesses but I am stymied. Regardless, Lord Pound would be a rough neck of some kind. I recall hearing and enjoying the word pound often in the 80’s. It had more of an association with beer drinking as I recall. No one is threatening to pound anyone or anything these days. Then there’s that sexual figure of speech which doesn’t exactly seem gentle or loving. There was a website, something about hot shots, that was written near one of the tags, a half second look revealed it to not be for the faint hearted or anyone with a heart for that matter. As for Lord Pound he may still be out there replacing the tags that wear off from weather, time or clean up. Then again he may have gone into hiding or he’s retired.

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Hearts pound.


After one of my other graffiti posts I was contacted by someone who offered to enlighten me on this subject.At press time, I was unable to establish contact but I might be able to and I’ll add an addendum. The question remains. Why do people feel a need to create a tag and then splash it every and anywhere? Yet, why not? Who doesn’t crave attention any way they can get it? It’s that spirit of look at me that some of us never outgrow. It may have nothing to do with having something to say or it could be saying more than anyone realizes.

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Pound it down.

 

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The Reddit crowd mentioned not posting pictures because it only encourages people but the idea behind the Portland Orbit’s new Spring Cleaning series is to release old photos and ideas. We can only hope that Lord Pound has gone on to bigger and better things besides tagging nature and the Kenton neighborhood.

Antsy About Antsi

The name, or tag rather, intrigues me. It’s part of a culture that I find fascinating when I should find it repellent. As an old curmudgeon, homeowner type, I’m expected to dislike graffiti. For me, I’m working on understanding it and living with it. It’s everywhere. Antsi graffiti has seized the zeitgeist with a spray painted, nervous penmanship. Antsi, spelled with an i, may not refer to the word antsy but it feels weirdly reassuring to be reminded of these times living in the United States of Anxiety. We’re dealing with the work of vandals creating an unstoppable visual clutter as well as the mystery of who is making it.

I didn’t realize how much of a graffiti star Antsi was until I wrote a post that mentioned the tag in passing. It began to get a slow and steady trickle of readers before becoming my most read blog entry. It’s not hard, on a typical day traveling from North to SW Portland and back for work, to see evidence of Antsi. The name is out there. Sometimes it’s small, other times it’s big and bold and it includes a black outline, my preferred method. Graffiti has to rise above the tiny nuisance scrawl.

Here’s where I feel the need to offer my typical disclaimer. I come to bury graffiti not to praise it. While a third-rate Shakespeare reference will do nothing to stop this expression, I once again run the risk of glorifying graffiti. Antsi can’t be ignored. The sheer amount of tags, the word it implies and the audacity of some of the locations, especially around I-5, makes me realize that this is, in some way, a special tag that’s due consideration. It will continue in the cycle of spray painting, clean up and more graffiti. Antsi survives by staying ahead of the clean up crew. Meanwhile, additional thoughts on  graffiti will be explored in a second post. My appreciation for graffiti involves unique looking efforts, examples created under death-defying circumstances and tags that makes sense and might carry a message, a challenge when we’re dealing with a lone word.

In a sea of “rafts,” “qwilts,” and “napkn” tags Antsi stands out. The real message may have more to do with my imagination applying meaning. I know the city and highway department have better things to do than cover up graffiti. It is a waste of tax dollars. That money could find better ways to be wasted. For me, it’s become the strange entertainment of obsessing over new tags and spray paint designs on my commute to work. There doesn’t seem much else to experience trodding back and forth with other disillusioned souls. Here’s a few tales about the good times I’ve experienced through the work of Ansti.

Antsi on a Truck

It’s hard to tell if the owner of this truck gave permission to have his vehicle painted. It seems like there was an opportunity to make the paint job spiffy. It’s apparent that no effort was made to paint over the side panel which allows Antsi an opportunity to have a moving billboard promoting his brand. Not wanting to miss a chance to get this photo, I had to drive down a side street to wait for this truck to pass by.

Antsi and the Donut King

I do have to admit to playing with my phone while driving. This was one of these moments where I was hoping to catch an image of the Donut King’s house for a future story. A decent image would save me a trip for more photos. Looking at the image later, I noticed the Antsi tag on a jersey wall in the lower left corner. The red color adds a splash of vibrancy, something different from the usual black and white color scheme.

Antsi Tags Portland City Market

It’s not everyday that you get a sense of the personal experiences that come from someone having their property tagged. I’m writing about this from a memory of a while back based on what I read on Nextdoor. The feeling I recall was pure rage. The business owner had a legitimate complaint about an Antsi tag that appeared when his Lombard Avenue business was in the midst of a renovation. Antsi managed to keep the paint mostly on the temporary plywood.

Stuck on Antsi


In the Albina neighborhood, I may have found the answer to what the Antsi promotion is about: Boasting sticker sales. Going from graffiti to stickering seems like a natural progression with opportunities for cross marketing, double branding or other phenomenons of our current times that mystify me. I’m getting more antsy trying to figure it out.