Surface prepped, sketched, and advisory posted
From this to the wall, a profusion of iconic San Francisco and flowers to match diversity
The block of Fell Street between Scott and Divisadero -- an essential link in the Wiggle Bike Route -- will soon greet pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists with a bright splash of color featuring iconic San Francisco sights and symbols of the city's diversity. With great timing, a new mural is being sketched and painted along the block that has been the focus of much frustration, contention, and risk. Earlier this month the SFMTA advanced a traffic plan that the agency hopes will improve safety for all road and sidewalk users. One element of the proposal is a green-painted bike lane to guide cyclists and give motorists a visual cue to share the road with bikers. Weather permitting, the mural will be completed this week to make the block a visual treat for all.
Marina Perez-Wong, 3rd generation San Franciscan and muralist
Marina: and a bicyclist too!
Marina Perez-Wong's portfolio convinced the owners of the building at the SW corner of Fell and Scott that she was the artist they wanted for their mural. Perez-Wong has been painting murals for four years since graduation from the California College of Arts. She is a third generation San Franciscan who grew up in the Mission with murals all around her. She applied to the Street Artist Program of the San Francisco Arts Commission and was selected to join a pool of artists ready to create murals at selected locations in the city.
"The owners had a few requirements," Perez-Wong explained. "They wanted the Golden Gate Bridge, a cable car, and a bike rider in the mural." The Alamo Square Neighborhood Association (ASNA)* wanted the mural to reflect the neighborhood, its postcard-row houses and its stunning park. And Perez-Wong was hoping to include a political statement. In the end, she included the owners' wishes, tried to accommodate ASNA's interests, and muted the political angle. "Most people travel this block on bike or in a car," she said. "I want the mural to be an easier read for them while travelling."
Perez-Wong decided to focus on the historic diversity of neighborhood residents. In the middle of her work she placed the Hall of Flowers from Golden Gate Park, a structure that houses a rich mix of plants from all over the world. She will also feature flowers geographically associated with Western Addition populations: African violets, dahlias from Mexico, Japanese cherry blossoms, and several native flowers too. "Now everybody is here in the neighborhood," she added.
To complete her work, Perez-Wong ("Micho P") had help yesterday from Rashad, who was doing some brush work, and from Ernesto Aguiler who laughed when Perez-Wong described him as "an assistant who saves Marina's ass."
Street art, a traffic-calmed corridor, and a green bike lane -- all signs of another more livable space in the city. But, does anyone in NOPA have potential mural space for Perez-Wong's more political vision?
* ASNA will cover the cost of the graffiti-resistant coating for the mural, according to board member Gus Hernandez. Something new: ASNA has a new website here.
You might also want to view BIKE NOPA's "Murals of NOPA" series.