Iconic Bettie Page mural gets new paint, new addition after vandalism
SEATTLE (KOMO) -- "I'm trying to get it as close to what the original artist did," said Seattle pop artist Matthew Brennan while standing atop a ladder.
He’s working with a tiny paint brush on a mural that covers the side of a house.
Brennan carefully and slowly paints over each section of the Bettie Page house mural after vandals defaced it with buckets of paint.
When he is done, he insists she will be as good as new.
The Queen of Pinups will reign again.
The famed mural covers half of the side of the Ravenna home. It's been part of Seattle's cultural landscape for 10 years.
"I feel like this house is just a piece of Seattle," said Brennan.
I-5 commuters can't help but rubber neck on their way by.
"It's almost like the Fremont Troll, everyone knows it, people come up and talk to me," he said.
It's his job to bring back her trademark thigh highs and those curves barely exposed under a rain gutter.
"I feel like (the vandals) were terrible people that did that, "said the pop artist and owner of Two Thangs. He specializes in custom pop culture art.
In June, the homeowners told KOMO the vandals also spray-painted the wall of their home with a nasty message, signed 'some-feminists'.
"It made me feel very sad and disheartened 'cause I consider myself a feminist", said homeowner Jessica Baxter.
At the time of the discovery, Baxter told us the mural was a 30th birthday gift for her husband.
The couple said had the vandals disagreed with the mural, they would have been happy to have a conversation.
Now they’re reclaiming their beloved Bettie.
It's a tricky fix
"The biggest challenge is steady hands,” said Brennan.
The paint can't be removed, and the original artist doesn't do murals anymore, so Baxter and her husband found Brennan.
They are borrowing his trademark style, putting two pieces of pop culture in one painting.
When he is done, Bettie will be re-furbished and she'll share the wall with another pop culture character -- Drag Queen 'Divine', made famous in part by John Waters movies.
"In my mind I think they both go together real well. I think they both represent very different types of aggressive femininity," said Brennan.
He hopes the new mural will be considered part of the cultural landscape once again.
Brennan already thinks it will reflect part of the local culture.
"Putting this here and now is something that Seattle is dealing with very much," he said.
The original artist did the mural in a graffiti style using spray paint and stencils. Brennan is free handing it and using acrylic paint, the only way to cover the parts vandalized. He thinks it will take about a week to complete.