Gentle-Pac-man burps up a dove
May 7, 2008 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Does this graffiti art image have some well-known meaning?

I took the picture on the shoreline in Estoril/Cascais (outside Lisbon, Portugal) and I've seen the image stenciled on a few other structures in town. I like it, but I wonder if it has some sinister associations...
posted by pjenks to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
It looks like Banksy piece, but a lot of other artists work with stencils these days.

I would say the meaning is inherent in the piece. PacMan, lovable cartoon-coloured hero, has a voracious appetite and eats anything that crosses his path. The creation of him as a vampire about to eat an innocent bird is a fresh look at the character. PacMan: Monster or misunderstood mass-consumer? Hmmmm...

I am not from Portugal, so it is possible that there is a local meaning that is more specifically sinister. In my experience, Graffitti is the purest form of art, in that it is something you do not profit from or sign your name to, so my guess is that the image simply pleased the artist in the same way it pleased me, and s/he put it up all over town, because some artists see the city as a blank canvas waiting for this sort of thing. :)
posted by Elle Vator at 1:27 PM on May 7, 2008

This may be a bit of a long shot, but the first thing it reminded me of was this strip from the webcomic Eegra. The series does have a pretty surreal and disturbing vibe, so there's a chance it could have been an inspiration for this piece.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:35 PM on May 7, 2008

It's funny how differently we can interpret such a simple image. I saw this as depicting the human body as a metaphorical egg, from which the soul would fly free or some such. I've never seen Pac-Man wearing a top hat before, but then again I'm not a gamer...?
If you really want to know, perhaps you could contact the folks at Ghetto Stress, a graffiti magazine from Lisbon which this site sells (scroll down a bit).
posted by zoinks at 2:22 PM on May 7, 2008

Hm. I thought the bird was a dove and must represent peace, and that the top hat probably indicated that character represented the rich.
posted by winston at 2:52 PM on May 7, 2008

I'm with Winston. It looks to me like a figure representing the wealthy eating a dove (peace.)
posted by nushustu at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2008

Response by poster: aha ... after another clue, spotted in Cascais, I found that our artist as a blog.
posted by pjenks at 4:09 PM on June 14, 2008

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