Sometimes I fall irrationally in love with certain buildings. Like this one on 17th and Texas in San Francisco. I understand wanting to cover up graffiti and tamp down on blight but really? Magenta, silver, and peach paint on a brick building? That is a travesty of building preservation/restoration.
But at the same time, what a beautiful contrast! The layers of paint, the overgrown bed of poppies, the boarded up arched doorway, the double layered signage, the off centered balance. I find it quite aesthetically pleasing even if it’s tragically neglected. I wonder what it looks like inside…
Instagram by ihazrabies
The latest Urban Camo Seed Bomb. Well, actually this was the first one I painted – I just didn’t get around to documenting it until now. Now it lives on an onramp embankment in East Oakland. A sad little spot full of weeds and trash; it seemed fitting and perhaps a more fertile locale than a sidewalk tree well.
Right now I’m working on some non-bottle cap Urban Camo Seed Bombs. I’m not sure how I feel about this particular one, it’s not quite working for me. Perhaps it’s because I “cheated” and used watercolor pencils and gouache to achieve the metallic quality? Also, I’m not a classically trained painter – I actually hadn’t painted in over nine years when I started this series – and this particular seed bomb was difficult. There’s something simple about painting logos and text. Having to accurately render non-graphic objects was a challenge.
Anyway, I’m constantly seeing condoms and condom wrappers on the ground in my neighborhood so I figured this was a fitting addition to the series.
I know this happened awhile ago but I’m still angry. This was one of the best storefront murals in the Mission; reduced to nothingness by a few subpar taggers. While 24th Street my be impoverished by his absence, in my mind’s eye Mr. Burbujas still lives on. In my mind’s eye he was never tagged, never whitewashed, never erased. In my mind’s eye he continues to smile down on the corner of 24th and Florida while enthusiastically feeding dirty underwear to his equally enthusiastic friends. Whimsy is dead! Long live whimsy!
On second though, perhaps “whimsical” isn’t the best term to describe Mr. Burbujas. Continue reading
I find this silly mural on the side TriMark Economy Restaurant Fixtures infinitely entertaining. Why is the chef taking his pile of dirty dishes to the oven? And why is he mustache height to the range? Talk about a fire hazard…
Peking Express on Center Street in downtown Berkeley. It’s a takeout eat takeout kinda world! NOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM
I have an obsession with signage featuring animals/creatures/mascots eating their own kind. It’s like cannibalism, only adorable in that anthropomorphization-gone-wrong kinda way. “I am so cute and delicious that I would eat myself! You should take this as a recommendation to come eat me too!” Of course, my favorite example is this sign/mural from 24th Street in San Francisco. Everyone in this tableau is just so HAPPY to be there. That pig is just so EXCITED to be in that pan. And let’s not talk about the butcher pig and his decapitated friend. Some things are better left unsaid.
Here is the current state of the Ghost Sign Mapping Project. I’ve documented around 250 signs/buildings spanning over two pages worth of Google Map points. There’s still some minor work to be done in SOMA, North Beach, Bernal Heights, and the Mission as well as MAJOR work to be done in the Dogpatch, Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, Japan Town, the Western Addition, Upper/Lower Haight, Potrero and Noe Valley. I’m still planning to adhere to the original map boundaries of everything north of Bernal Heights/Glen Park and east of Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Park, and the Presidio. Could this change at some point? Perhaps but not likely. It’s taken about nine months of work to get to this point. I’m guessing it will take another three to five to complete the project as is.
And as always. Blue = Building/Business sign. Red = Ad/Brand sign. Green = Indecipherable. Purple = Covered up or demolished since time of post.
See any errors or omissions on this map? Let me know!
View Ghost Sign Map of San Francisco in a larger map
This window display cracks me up. From You Say Tomato on California Street, San Francisco. Beans, a very unsanitary bathing experience, and anarchy – all courtesy of the UK. I should stop in and see if they have Jelly Babies.
*WARNING. This post contains pretentious words and/or phrases*
I always think of McDonald’s as having tight brand control. After all, they essentially pioneered the concept of food production and service as a standardized, assembly line affair. Why would you serve a million identical hamburgers every year and not apply that same model to the rest of your business? What’s good for the menu is surely good for the general aesthetic, corporate culture, and bottom line, right?
They’re a truly exceptional example of American unexceptionalism. With franchises strung like identically nondescript pearls along the highway of the collective American consciousness, you can walk into any McDonald’s and lose yourself in a branded environment divorced from all concept of location or place. Are we in California? Are we in New Jersey? Who knows! And there’s something powerful, and profitable, about that dedication to meeting and managing comfortable expectations. Continue reading