Posts Tagged ‘stencilada’

Various Works: 2050 Bryant, CELLspace
SF Weekly, Know Your Street Art by Jonathan Curiel

Icy & Sot, with Regan “Ha Ha” Tamanui (Photo in situ; panel taken down prior to destruction of CELLspace.)

On a wall just inside the building formerly known as CELLspace, an artwork delivers a defiant message: “NOT for Sale!” But the message is a lie — the building, whose exterior walls once featured some of the best street art in San Francisco, was sold and is slated for development. Last summer, two volunteers — artist Russell Howze and art editor Annice Jacoby — took down much of the outside art and put it in storage for temporary safekeeping. What’s left on the walls are stickers, tagging, and remnants of art — including faces of Native American men, a monkey with a sign imagining a battle between two well-known street artists (“Hektad vs. Banksy”), and an impressive work by muralist Joel Bergner. Even in its current state, 2050 Bryant’s art potpourri inspires passers-by to take photographs for posterity.

But what about the art that was taken down? Howze, whose own CELLspace work is among the preserved art, and Jacoby are trying to find a patron who will buy the works and display them again. The art includes Bergner’s De Frontera a Frontera, a lyrical, red-splashed work about haves and have-nots in the Dominican Republic, and Icy and Sot’s collaboration with Regan “Ha Ha” Tamanui, Super Hero with Portraits, which has a caped boy standing alongside a gallery of orange-tinged smiling faces.

Though two art collectors outside of San Francisco have expressed interest in buying the works, Jacoby — the former director of performing arts public events at UC Santa Cruz, and the editor of the book Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo — says that, “Ideally, they would remain in San Francisco. They’re part of San Francisco’s fabric. We’re seeking a place where the art will be appreciated, maintained, and available to the public on a long-term basis.”

CELLspace existed from 1996 to 2012, when the art center attracted a roving band of upcoming and veteran artists from San Francisco and around the world. The space is now rented out for parties, yoga classes, art instruction, and the like. CELLspace’s demise hit a lot of people hard. By preserving the work that people once took for granted, Jacoby and Howze are trying to keep the center’s exterior — and its spirit of “anything goes” — alive, even when the red brick building completely disappears as a place of artistic pilgrimage. Jonathan Curiel

Eight-Panel Metal Mural Needs a New Home

By Andrea Valencia, for Mission Loc@l

Stencilada freshly installed (2009)

CELLspace moved from its warehouse on Bryant Street in 2012 leaving behind a mural like no other in the Mission: a large metal structure that spans elegantly across the building’s front windows. It now needs to find a new owner.

Some half-dozen local artists carefully planned and built the copper and steel mural in 2008.

“There was an old façade here, and we wanted it to be different and nicer –unified,” said Jane Verma, one of the artists who added the spiky steel, grass-like element to the mural that was built in the warehouse space.
“There used to be ugly and unwelcoming screens here,” said Russell Howze, an artist and CELLspace volunteer for many years who organized the first art show meant to be displayed with the mural.

When the volunteer-run art collective CELLspace left the building almost three years ago,  Inner Mission took up its legacy, but it is now being pushed out by the new development coming to the block bordered by Bryant and Florida between 18th and 19th Streets.

With the inevitable new development, the metal mural will have to be relocated by May.

Howze, the author of Stencil Nation, has been rescuing  the murals left behind in Cellspace that were still in good shape.  With the help of Annice Jacoby, the editor of Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo,  he has managed to find buyers for some of them.

As for the metal mural, Verma is firm about wanting to “keep it in San Francisco. We’d like it to continue to be seen by the public, not on someone’s yard,” she said.

“The developer is interested in art,” Verma said, but the mural might not relate to use project.

Howze said that “this one is the hardest one to save, but the worthiest one.”

It’s not just one big piece of metal, but eight intricate panels. Aharon Bourland designed a bold graffiti pattern in red copper that runs throughout the panels. The copper patina gives the rusty mural a rainbow-like effect.

Tony Verma and Hikari Yoshihara worked on the dripping circles and stones that appear to build in size.  The fabrication of the mural took about a year, during which time Tom Phillips and Corey Best, CELLspace volunteers,  helped.

Each one of the eight panels is 10 feet tall and about 3 to 4 feet wide. The central panel designed for the main entrance, which still holds the words CELLspace, is wider. There is also a narrower panel designed for a side door. Removable plywood planters were added on each of the panels.

“I’m impressed the mural stayed for as long as it did,” said Verma. The only missing part in the mural so far is the L in CELLspace.

Howze said the idea of breaking the mural into pieces and handing them out as mementos was discussed among volunteers, but Verma and Howze prefer to keep it one piece.

Unique to this mural’s structure is the space designed underneath each main panel –a space designed to be a street art gallery.

“It was meant to have artwork underneath,” said Howze, who launched the first art show with the opening of the metal mural in March 2008.  “We had an opening with an art show, Stencilada,” he said.

Today, stencils can still be seen throughout the metal mural. Next door, panels of murals have been taken down and put in storage because tagging took over the artwork on the warehouse walls, said Howze.

Anyone interested in acquiring the metal mural, get in touch with Jane Verma at:  janewverma@gmail.com

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Back on the roads of Stencil Nation tomorrow. Hoping that pigs and birds aren’t allowed or sneezing on the bus down to LA! The tour has been OK so far. Crowds are a bit off it seems, and sales are low, but I am happy to be on the road. Arcata and Sacramento happened last week, to little fanfare. I’m not sure what happened, or if stencils are on the radar that much in that part of California. Only a small turnout in Davis. All enthusiastic people who waited a bit longer than usual before the presentation. I showed them photos of Stencilada at CELLspace to kill time. Only sold a few books. Had an isolated day in Davis the next day, and managed to find a few stencils around the college town. Got to upload pics to Stencil Archive, which was long overdue. Sacramento on Sunday was quite miserable. The highlight was finding what looks like a C215 stencil on a random building in midtown. Found a few more stencils near the book store in the Tower District. But the presentation was a wash! Had one person show up, and we waitied about 30 minutes for more people, killing time looking at a Peter Kuper Spy vs. Spy book and flipping through Stencil Nation. She left and I left soon after, getting stuck in traffic the whole way back to San Francisco. Last Wednesday at Booksmith on Haight St. was a good time. Had about 12 or 15 in attendance. Sold some books. Got to finally meet Eclairacuda Bandersnitch, the current queen of street work in SF. She said that the kissing girl stencils all over the Mission are by Banksy (he’s got a book out from PM here in the Bay Area so was in town). Who knew he painted sidewalks?

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Spent Thursday at the SF Zero Graffiti Huddle in China Town. That was disturbing (will post my notes soon). I missed the SF Arts Comission presentation on thier upcoming Street Smart program (artists to paint murals on walls that have permission). CUBA was there, one of the godfather’s of SF spray art. We connected and I think it made both our days. Sunday was the presentation  and skillshare in Oakland. Another small crowd of about five people. Good news is that four of them stayed for the skillshare. The photos of our hanging out and making stencils are at the top of this post. When I showed up to Rock Paper Scissors, the exhibit on the walls was getting painted over and a zine jam was happening. I encouraged them all to hang out and keep working during my presentation. Loved the multiuse aspect of that small space. Ruby from Wisefool was there, dropping great history of stencils in the Bay Area and adding great comments durng the presentation. So, off to the southlands tomorrow. No idea where the next wifi connect will be. Oceanside and San Diego are the next stops. Then LA (tell all your friends!) and Tempe, AZ. Then back up to the Bay Area for about four more stops. I added up all the stops from this tour and the upcoming Middle America leg, and will have done over 50 stops by then. Not sure what else is in store after June. I DID say last June that this was the “year of the stencil” so am not quite sure what next year holds in store. Year of the swine flu? Hope not!!