Sketched Nov. 5, 2019

A purple, mouse-sized portal with old-fashioned hinges, plus a welcome mat and a side window, have appeared at the Fremont Bridge — seemingly out of nowhere.

Looking for it as you stroll past? Here’s a hint: Keep your eyes pointed down.

The whimsical artifact is the trademark of Mows510 (pronounced “mouse”), a Minneapolis-based street artist who installed this door (and a handful of others) during a visit to Seattle over the summer. His tiny doors, which he handcrafts out of resin and paints with different designs and colors, are crafted to spark a minuscule moment of joy in a place you wouldn’t expect, the artist told me when I reached him by phone.

A tech worker in his late 50s, Mows510 requested that we use his artist name to maintain his anonymity — he wants to keep the attention on his work, not on him. He estimates he has set up 400 doors all over the country since he took on this creative pastime four years ago. Everywhere he travels, the artist is always looking for interesting “in between” places where a cute little door would surprise passersby.

Mows510’s doors are also popping up internationally with custom designs by artists he collaborates with. “I send them blank doors and they’ll paint them and put them up,” he says.

Street art can be hard to understand sometimes, but these little doorways are so charming and approachable. I’m glad I was able to see and sketch this one in the wild. It got my imagination going: Is this a secret passage to the center of the universe?