This painting depicts a vibrant, exciting, bustling evening in the Mid-Market theater district of San Francisco. It features three of the magnificent art-deco style theaters that this area of the city is home to: the Warfield, the Golden Gate and the Orpheum. The Warfield Theater was once a sister Fox theater to the stunning Fox San Francisco further up Market Street and the Fox Oakland across the Bay. My Fox Oakland painting, created to celebrate the reopening gala of the beautiful Fox Oakland, shows the positive impact of the lighting up of the glorious marquees above these historic theaters. The bill-board depicted in the painting shows the fabulous New Orlean’s trombonist Trombone Shorty.
I originally created this artwork in support of Proposition D which, though it did not pass, was intended to establish a new Mid-Market Sign District between Fifth and Seventh streets on Market Street in the center of San Francisco, allowing beautiful theater marquees, like that of the Golden Gate Theater and Warfield, and other signs in that area, to spring to life once again. For those not familiar with San Francisco, these two blocks, which once were a popular destination, have unfortunately been for many years a sad blight, full of abandoned properties, boarded up store fronts and the homeless living on the streets. Thankfully that situation is now slowly turning around, as I mention below. When I taught a Painter workshop at the Ramada Plaza Hotel (now the Whitcomb Hotel) on Market and Eighth in 2003, the wife of one of my students, on her first visit to San Francisco, walked along this section of Market Street and felt so threatened she daren’t go out again on her own the rest of the week.
As I explained above, I created this painting back in 2009 to depict the vision of a vibrant, exciting, bustling evening in the Mid-Market theater district of San Francisco. It was my hope that that neighborhood would be able to return to the elegance and vibrancy that historically it once embodied. Now, seven years later, in 2016, that transformation in the Mid-Market district is slowly happening. Thus when ArtspanSF sent me the #SFPublicCanvas call for art relating to the question of “How can we build a future for the Market/Tenderloin neighborhood that addresses the issues facing the area today?” I thought immediately of this artwork. #SFPublicCanvas is a large scale public performance event planned for June 16-19, 2016. Projection art will be displayed on the exterior of Hastings College of the Law on Golden Gate Ave, serving as an environment for a vertical dance performance by Bandaloop, with aspects of the animation triggering, and being triggered by, the performers. The “canvas” for the performance will be a video projection of compiled art submissions that reflect the community’s hopes and aspirations for the future of the Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods. Sounds like it’ll be a very cool event! This painting was originally created using Corel Painter and a Wacom pen tablet on a Mac. It was then printed on canvas and acrylic paint was added. The fact it bridges digital and non-digital media seems to fit with the digital / non-digital contrasts of the Mid-Market neighborhood as tech companies rub shoulders with traditional art stores and theaters; and tech workers, tourists, residents and the homeless all pass each other on the street.
Location photos were taken by Peggy Gyulai.