Since hopping astride a bicycle a couple of years ago, my perception of Houston's physical landscape has altered utterly. No longer are my eyes subject to rivers of tail-lights and ceaseless processions of giant freeway billboards. Instead, I'm watching for cracked pavement and feasting my eyes on street art. People like street stencil artist Coolidge, or Lidge for short, have become my new billboards.
Coolidge's specialty is whimsical spray-paintings of mostly cuddly animals: Boston terriers, My Little Pony characters, T. Rexes, sea turtles, robots, parachuting pink piggies, sanctified bunny rabbits with halos around their heads, Ralphie from A Christmas Story in his bunny suit. You tend to find these in blighted areas of the Inner Loop - on concrete pillars and the walls of crumbling warehouses - and they invariably bring cheer to otherwise dismal cityscapes and a smile to your heart.