Murals are seeing a sort of renaissance in San Francisco. Some business owners continue to wash away street art in an effort to raise property estimates. But an increasing number of business owners are seeing the benefit of showcasing and supporting the creation of murals.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally written in March of 2017 for the now defunct UpOut.com.
Notably, cocktail bar Trick Dog has fully embraced the mural culture. Over the last two months, the bar has featured a menu dedicated to street artists. The bar has covered the costs for 13 mural artists to paint new murals in the city. They’ve even released a book which features 14 mural artists alongside a menu that features cocktails named for each muralist.
This week Michter Distillery has purchased 50 copies of the book and everyone who buys the RonnieBuders cocktail will receive a copy. Michter’s whiskey is a component of the cocktail. The proceeds from sales of the book go to Precita Eyes Muralists and Creativity Explored.
It’s always nice to see business owners investing in this ephemeral art. You never know when your favorite mural at the corner of Olive and Larkin will become something new. Or if this is the year a building owner decides to renovate and washes off that decade-old piece of art on the garage door. Every fading mural makes room for a new artist to find inspiration.
And, as for those fading murals, thankfully, we have Instagram, which acts as a sort of heat map for current murals capturing the attention of the public.
Below we’ve pulled up some of the most interesting murals being photographed around the city. Whenever possible we’ve tagged the artist. What are murals in the city catching your eye?
2200 Bryant Avenue
Artist: Sirron Norris
What better way to start off than an example of how fleeting a mural can be? These side-by-side shots are taken from the Instagram feed for artist Sirron Norris. Norris, who’s blue bears you’ve most definitely seen around San Francisco, painted Bob’s Burgers Bob and Linda Belcher at the request of Rhea’s Cafe. Unfortunately, the landlord didn’t appreciate the artwork and only a few weeks later painted it back to Karl the Fog Gray. Norris, for what it’s worth, was a lead artist on the hit television show.
Egbert Avenue used to be a desolate stretch of boring white walls. Last year, IMPRINT.CITY hosted the inaugural BayviewLIVE! Festival which saw nine of those bare walls turn into shocks of color and joy. Hoodline has the full story and below are Instagrams of three of the nine murals.
Artist: Ricky Watts
Artist: Max Ehrman
Artist: Clinton Bopp
The Mission District
The Mission is Ground Zero for easy touring of mural art. Nowhere in the city is there a greater concentration of murals.
Historic Clarion Alley is, of course, the focal point of anyone seeking out a high concentration of compelling graffiti. Below is one of the most recent additions in progress. Artist unknown.
Exit Clarion Alley and take a right onto Mission. Walk until you reach 24th Street and take a left. Two small streets past Folsom you’ll take a right into Balmy Alley. This is San Francisco’s most concentrated collection of murals and also the oldest consistent alley gallery. The earliest mural dates back to 1977. Balmy’s murals were originally united by a common theme of celebrating indigenous Central American culture while protesting U.S. military intervention. Over the years the theme has expanded to include a five-year mural project about Hurricane Katrina and murals about gentrification. Sirron Norris has made the recent contribution.
Artist: Sirron Norris
Valencia Street 923 Artist: Nora Bruhn
400 Valencia Street Artist: Caratoes
312 Valencia Street Artist: Eclair Bandersnatch
Olive Street between Polk Street and Larkin Street has a high concentration of graffiti as well as one of the highest mural turnover rates in the city. Murals on Olive don’t typically last longer than six months before they’re painted over. The corner of Olive and Larkin is an especially popular location.
Olive and Larkin
Olive and Polk
Hastings Law School
Artist: James Reka
Van Ness and Market
Artist: Joshua Coffy
2201 Bryant Street
Artist: Sirron Norris
Bernal Heights Summit
Artist: Casey O’Connell
1665 Folsom Street
Artist: Nigel Sussman
Rowland Street Alley (off Broadway)
Artist: David ‘Meggs’ Hooke
426 Brannan Street