Street art is a great way to try to understand the vibe of any city. Starting from a very early age I found myself mesmerized by the colorful and larger-than-life murals in my hometown, El Paso, TX. To me, it seemed like my fellow El Pasoans were so quick to pass by imagery that not only told a story of their city, but added to it’s unique culture. As I grew older, and my love for photography blossomed, I documented as many murals as I could (most are lost in my long gone stacks of 110 film negatives- remember 110 film?), because all too often one day a mural would be there and the next day it’d be gone.
So, it goes without saying that no matter where I am, if I see something painted, pasted or glued to a wall, I’m gonna shoot it (er, with film)! I recently took a road trip to San Francisco with MT to visit a friend of mine. It wasn’t my first time there, but it was one of my longest visits there and I think I got to know the city fairly well (when I say “fairly” I mean not really, but at least I won’t get lost). We rode the bus everywhere. Wanna get to know the people of a city? Ride the bus. We got lost in Chinatown. We gawked at the tourists at Fisherman’s Wharf. We trekked along a coastal view of the Golden Gate Bridge. All in all, it was a pretty refreshing excursion.
It also goes without saying that San Francisco is filled to the brim with murals, wheatpastes and tags. My favorite mural has to be the Santana wall in the Mission District. It’s so bold and simple and evokes a sense of nostalgia for me. My Mum loves Santana and I grew up hearing his tunes. I’ve also been lucky enough to see Santana live, of course, with my Mum. His music is just awesome and I think this mural does the legend justice.
Nonetheless, I left the city with a nagging feeling that there’s so much more to see and document. I can only hope that another visit in my *near* future.
And one little tid-bit… I drew up a new series I call “Iconic Women” that’s on display at Broke Girls’ Coffee Bar in Normal Heights in San Diego, CA. The portraits will be up for the month of February, while prints will soon be available online. PJ Harvey’s already found a new home 🙂