Category Archives: Painting

Konorebi, “Stag.” (Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up)

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Good Evening:

Brand new mural in the Lower Haight, about 50 feet from the intersection of Haight & Fillmore:

Konorebi: "Stag."

Konorebi: “Stag.”

Not bad at all, but if you look close up, you will see an extreme rarity among San Francisco murals: a variation of Pointillist technique. “Konorebi” seems to be the pseudonym of a woman named Nora Bruhn, whom you can find on Instagram. Here, instead of using tiny dots of primary colors, she used white. Here are some closer looks.

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I think she used her fingertips to apply the white paint. As far as I can tell, Konorebi is mostly a photographer, but this represents a nice change of pace for both her and for San Francisco murals.

Vonn Scott Bair

Eclair Bandersnatch: A Retrospective. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs)

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Good Evening:

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What the haffbifferschlapple is an ‘Eclair Bandersnatch?!'”

Or something like that.

Eclair Bandersnatch is the pseudonym of one of San Francisco’s most idiosyncratic muralists and sidewalk artists. I feel tempted to address this person or persons as “her,” partly because of Eclair’s Facebook page, but I’ll try to avoid that; I’ve never seen the artist at work, so the woman in the pictures might actually be her/their/his representative to the public. Bandersnatch, perhaps alone amongst our street artists, uses only stencils as a medium. The artist(s?) seems to use only the Haight as a canvas; haven’t noticed works outside of that neighborhood. At first, Eclair kept the stencils pretty simple.

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Then the artists added a few new elements. For example, more lettering aside from the signature.

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Sometimes a political element creeps into the later work.

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Almost all of the recent works have included a sexually suggestive element.

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Occasionally, a local store will commission sidewalk art or a wall mural.

Eclair Bandersnatch, Corner of Haight & Masonic, Summer 2014

Eclair Bandersnatch, Corner of Haight & Masonic, Summer 2014

Store Mural, Fulton & Divisadero, Left Side

Store Mural, Fulton & Divisadero, Left Side

Store Mural, Fulton & Divisadero, Right Side

Store Mural, Fulton & Divisadero, Right Side

As is true of almost all street art, most of Bandersnatch’s work has disappeared, living on only in photo collections online. Such an evanescent medium seems inappropriate for such an original artist as Eclair Bandersnatch, but presumably the artist does not feel too “frumious” about that.

Vonn Scott Bair

San Francisco’s Newest & Biggest Mural

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Good Evening:

This one could not have been easy. I don’t know if this is San Francisco’s largest mural, but during The Magic Hour, it looks rather fairly reasonably spectacular.

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I just wish the Moon would stop shrinking when I photograph it. You can find the mural in a desolate part of San Francisco’s East Coast near Illinois and Amador (actually, it’s quite lively during work days–people only become rare on the weekends) where sidewalks disappear and the streets look like they appeared in at least one Fast & Furious movie.

At least for a while.

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In truth, the land in this neighborhood is being recycled–big environmental cleanups everywhere, followed by thousands of units of new housing. If San Francisco is not change, then San Francisco is not at all, and this is needed change. However, I can’t help but think of the effort that went into this work of art. This might be San Francisco’s biggest and newest mural, but I can’t say that it will last forever.

Vonn Scott Bair

Murals Blooming (Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!)

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Good Evening:

Spring means new murals in San Francisco, blooming everywhere. The middle of the 1100 block of Market Street has two construction sites protected by temporary plywood walls, which translated into mural-ese means close to 100 feet of blank canvas begging for a paint job. Here are three new complete ones, covering the plywood protecting a future office-school-theater of the American Conservatory Theater.

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On Sunday, three artists worked on new murals for the adjoining construction site. One was willing to take a break and answer a few questions about the short life span of San Francisco murals. He’s the gentleman in the picture below.

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Murals get replaced frequently; ’tis a rare mural that lasts more than one year, and many only last six months. This muralist works quite often with the two gentlemen who worked on either side of him, and here are their pieces, which replaced their own older work.

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I learned that there exist two primary reasons why murals get replaced so often. The first did not surprise me–graffiti. After a while, murals receive so much disrespectful mistreatment that it becomes simplest simply to paint over everything and create a new art work.

The second reason might surprise you–contracts.

Yes, contracts. Many murals last for only six or twelve months because the contract the muralist signs with the construction company (or whoever else hires them) stipulates that life span. Then the next artist comes in and paints over the old art with a mural lasting another six or twelve months, or perhaps the same artist creates a new one.

Since the artists not only photograph the finished murals, they also videotape the act of creation, they don’t mind the fact that their work doesn’t last. Their photographs and videos become more permanent versions of the original painting. This attitude of the artists toward their own art will a require a bit of adjustment in my own thinking. I have grown used to reading and viewing plays written 25 centuries ago, not to mention looking at sculptures of the same age. The notion that something like a painting designed/contracted for transience feels a bit odd right now.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Artists Leave Their Mark (Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters)

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Good Morning:

And good Heavens, your faithful correspondent has gotten old, hasn’t he? Don’t know if the people who create San Francisco’s magnificent murals call themselves artists, muralists, painters, or taggers. Do know that they do like to leave their mark, and they do like to leave it artistically. All pictures taken on 26 April 2014 with a Nikon D40 DSLR, unedited.

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Vonn Scott Bair

The Divisadero Arts Festival, 28 August 2013

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Good Evening:

A whole heck of a lot of art has erupted on Divisadero between Grove and Hayes. I have never seen such an outburst before and don’t know if this will become an annual event, but at least for this week, every available square inch of wall or door has become the frame for various works of art. Of course, we do have a vendor on the block…

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…but he’s selling used zines and poetry, not the usual T-shirts and ball caps. True San Francisco. One blues singer and mouth harpist has turned himself into a sort of living performance art by ensconcing himself in a plastic cage as he performs for tips…

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…but mostly, it’s the art. On Grove Street…

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Believe it or not, that is all fiber art, even the sculpture’s covering over the mannequins. Literally knitting. The anti-materialism theme of the works does represent a typical theme of San Francisco painters, sculptures, printers, writers, et cetera, but I feel compelled to observe that the funding for this arts festival came from a company that produces grossly overpriced imported vodka.

Some more works (some pictures are extreme closeups of bigger art).

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Corporate sponsorship or not, another eccentric outlet for interesting artwork, and yet another reason why I so bleeping love San Francisco.

Vonn Scott Bair

First Abstract Art Puzzle of 2013!

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Good Evening:

For those of you new to The San Francisco Scene–Seen!, I’ve always had a fondness for creating abstract art photographs by taking extreme closeup shots of an object (usually a mural) in order to make the object unrecognizable, reducing it to color and shape. Recently, this blog has incorporated picture puzzles: You see extreme closeups of a mural, then a picture of the entire mural; your assignment, should you choose to accept it, consists of locating the closeups within the entire mural.

Tonight, we add a little twist.

First, here is the middle section of a new mural at Mission and 8th Street in San Francisco, unless it’s located at Mission and 9th. I really need to start taking better notes.

Middle Section of "Red, Black and Purple."

Middle Section of “Red, Black and Purple.”

Funny, isn’t it; the mural itself is already abstract. Now here are six closeups.

1. Mural Closeup

1. Mural Closeup

2. Mural Closeup

2. Mural Closeup

3. Mural Closeup

3. Mural Closeup

4. Mural Closeup

4. Mural Closeup

5. Mural Closeup

5. Mural Closeup

6. Mural Closeup

6. Mural Closeup

And now I present a two-part challenge.

  1. Locate the closeups within the mural as a whole.
  2. But wait! How many of these closeups do not belong here? Remember, this is the middle section of the mural. At least one of these pictures came from the left and/or right sections.

This should not prove too hard; I doubt that any of my little games have. But I hope that they amuse you at least a little. Have fun.

Vonn Scott Bair