Artist fills Minneapolis with tiny doors; joyless villain destroys them

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Mows

Keep your eyes to the ground, especially now that Mows is in town.

A few months ago, the whimsical street artist relocated to the Twin Cities from the Bay Area. Since then, he's been been creating tiny doors all over town, especially in Northeast and North Loop neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

Unfortunately, some dude calling himself the “graffiti task force” has been taking them down the past couple of days -- even the ones that were installed with permission. On Monday morning, the culprit began boasting about his desctruction via @urstreetartsux on Instagram.

"A flat head and my great grand pappys hammer is all it took to clean up the rat infestation," the vandal wrote in an Instagram post displaying a pile of dismantled tiny doors.

(One of the art destroyer's sophisticated threats on Instagram)

Mows doesn’t think the vandal is a city official, since the destroyed doors are left in shards on the ground.

“It’s some kind of vigilante thing,” the artist says. “I think he’s just on his own scavenger hunt to destroy them.” 

It’s not keeping Mows down, however. He plans to keep making mows doors, maybe with less identifying geographical information in the future.

Pieces have included a mini door filled with lady bugs, a door with police tape, and a door that appeared to be floating away via a bunch of balloons. There was an opera door, a Pac-Man door, an Easter Bunny door, and a Prince tribute.

The mini installations work as a treasure hunt of sorts for pedestrians, bike groups, and other adventurous folks, and though he'll be more careful in the future, people can still check out Mows’ Instagram for clues as to where the little doors are -- or were -- located. Recent spots have included Spyhouse, Glam Doll Donuts, Modist Brewery, and the Riddle Room.

So far, Mows (that’s pronounced “mouse” by the way) has put up about 60 doors in town (minus the dozen or so the angry hater has taken down). He’s also sent about 300 doors to other artists to place elsewhere around the world, and 120 doors can be found around California.

He mostly engages in a kind of guerrilla-style art, putting the doors in disused spaces, but sometimes he’ll get permission or even take requests.

Mows became fascinated with street art in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“I was in Paris, and I saw a stencil mural by Moscow and Associates. It was a big, purple hippopotamus,” he says. He started researching the group. “Every time I’d go to Europe, I’d take pictures of the street art.”

Eventually, he wanted to participate. In November of 2015, Mows was on a plane ride home from London, and he came up with the idea for tiny doors. He liked the concept because, unlike a painting or stencil, it was less destructive. 

Though Mows’ co-workers know about his street art, he prefers to keep his identity secret. There have been times when he’s been recognized, however, including during a recent installation at Can Can Wonderland.

“That kind of surprised me, that they knew who I was,” he says.

As you might expect, the reaction to the Mows doors have been wildly positive. But he apparently pissed off at least one person. Luckily, Mows has no plans to quit doing what he’s doing, though he’ll change his methods from now on, and he plans to spread out to different neighborhoods.

“I won’t be as open on Instagram,” he vows.

All images courtesy of the artist, except for the middle-finger one -- that's from the @urstreetartsux Instagram.


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