clarion alley

Displacement & Taxes

Clarion Alley Creates "Wall Of Shame" to Greet Valencia Passersby

Fresh off Clarion Alley Mural Project’s protest of Mission Local and Genentech’s tech shuttle contest that featured the alley without permission, CAMP muralists put up a loaded new piece right at the gateway to the alley.  It’s another criticism of San Francisco’s gentrification, for sure, but at least no one can criticize them for not proposing solutions.

Clarion Alley Artists Claim "Vengeful" Copyright Infringement in Tech Shuttle Art Contest

Mission Local's $500 shuttle bus bedazzling contest with Genentech, which we once called an “egregious conflict of interest,” is now receiving a new round of criticism—this time from neighborhood artists who feel their work is being used against their wills in an effort to give “'cool camo' for corporations.”

Via an anonymous tipster:

The winning entry for decorating the tech shuttles is a Google Street View of Clarion Alley and Community Thrift.

But the artists responsible for the murals/decorative painting in the photo condemn their art being used for this purpose, and did not support the competition from the beginning. They were even in contact with Lydia Chávez—yet, their art has been co-opted nonetheless.

The status update of the Clarion Alley Mural Project reads as follows: “Mission Loc@l SUCKS!!! & [Editor-in-Chief] Lydia Chávez sucks!!! This comes after a long email exchange with Lydia that included Megan Wilson, Jet Martinez (who painted Community Thrift), Rigo 23, and John Jota Leaños - and we all said that WE DID NOT SUPPORT THIS COMPETITION - Megan, Rigo, and Jet as Clarion Alley Mural Project. … Time to by [sic] an arsenal of paint guns!”

Megan Wilson is a lead organizer for CAMP, Jet Martinez painted Community Thrift (also “Sons of Satya”—“the elephant one”), Rigo 23 was an original founder of CAMP.

Emails between Chávez and Clarion artists, published on Megan Wilson's blog, show an intense rift between the arts community and the shuttles—and a community that wanted nothing to do with the project and rejected the co-opting of their work.

Chávez initially reached out to CAMP in early December, asking the muralists to participate in the contest.  However, the invitation was rejected outright.

“Fuck this!,” John Jota Leaños responded. “I had many subversive thoughts and brainstorms over breakfast, but none would fly … subversive, political, social art does not pass corporate scrutiny.”  He added:

I question Mission Local’s move to promote this and work with FB and others …to exploit artists to beautify their cush-rides while indirectly displacing these same artists… Fijate!

“I don’t know.  Why not give it a try?,” Chávez suggested.

She later admitted, “I would love to see some subversive ideas [in the contest].”

Before the artists requested the contest be retracted, Rigo 23 fired back:


Mission Local and Genentech chose to push forward with the contest, ultimately selecting a design which incorporated the protesting artists' work.

Megan Wilson writes, “the selection is not only disrespectful, but also seems vengeful and tacky.”

Mat Stromberg's Latest Mural, Featuring Ants Fighting to the Death

Mat Stromberg's latest in Clarion Alley has it all: blue ants and red ants fighting over some human prey, a guy watching his iPhone get ripped out of his balmy, dying hands, and a nice gloomy mountain vista.  And what is that ant-covered bespectacled bastard thinking about anyway?

Take in the full-size image (or go to Clarion Alley to see it IRL).

Clarion Alley's Block Party For People Who Like Good Music Returns This Afternoon

Clarion Alley's yearly block party is, without fail, San Francisco's least bullshit street party and music 'festival'.  And for good reason—the bands are local, the music is good, the whole show is fun, it's donation-based, there are no wrist bands, and it doesn't stink like terrible Mongolian BBQ.  So, if you like hearing people bang on instruments while you're pressed up against painted walls, swing by Clarion Alley between 11am and 10pm today.

(And if I may make one more recommendation, be there at 5pm for The Secret Secretaries set.)


Feast Your Eyes on the Tamale Lady's Mural

It was just Tuesday when we watched paint dry as Megan Wilson, Jet Martinez, and Roisin Isner started work on their latest Clarion Alley mural, honoring the Tamale Lady.  From the looks of it, they've finished [Update: Roisin writes in, “The mural isn't done yet—Megan is still painting today. Keep an eye out, because the finished mural will include info about her fundraising.]:

And here's a close-up:

Looks great!

Behold the Creation of a Tamale Lady Mural in Clarion Alley

Earlier today, a crowd of Twitters, 'grammers, dumbfounded rubberneckers, tourists, and Uptown Almanac bloggers watched paint dry at the mouth of Clarion Alley.  What for?  To take in the creation of a new mural honoring Tamale Lady.

Here's how one of the artists described the project in a press release:

Three Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) muralists and organizers—Megan Wilson, Jet Martinez, and Roisin Isner—will be painting a mural honoring the legendary Virginia Ramos, aka, “The Tamale Lady.”

Ramos recently had to shut down her Tamale Lady operation, and the Mission misses its Vagabond Abuelita! In response, an Indiegogo campaign has been launched in order to raise enough (beer) money for our Tamale Lady to get back into business. She can't quit, so she's going legit!

As you may recall, back in June, the Tamale Lady was unceremoniously kicked out of Zeitgeist when the Health Department became mean over her famed trashbag tamales.  Fortunately, Supervisor David Campos' office immediately began working to legalize her operation and launched a fundraiser to help her open a brick-and-mortar shop, which has struggled to surpass 20% of its goal.  Now it seems the local arts community is rallying to carry her campaign the rest of the way.

Anyway, based on the outline, it looks like we'll soon be seeing a recreation of the Tamale Lady's 2009 birthday flyer when we walk down Valencia:

In the meantime, you can swing over to Clarion Alley and watch them work.

Baby Head Whirligig Frightens, Amazes

I'm not totally sure how the artist's statement behind this decapitated baby head whirligig would read, but I imagine its purpose is to make small children cry and make big children (me) laugh.  Regardless, it's the most refreshing piece of street art this blogger has seen in Clarion Alley in quite some time.

Here's a moving picture Instagram of it in action: