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San Francisco Moment

May 2, 2007

A few days ago, my friend Jade and I were strolling down Hayes Street, shirking work, when we chanced upon a young man selling his artwork on the street. His tiny, whimsical works were about the size of an airport paperback and painted on pieces of wood. The subjects were the kind of thing one would expect a male hippy-retro-artist in his early/mid twenties to be interested in: submarines, robots, creatures from the deep. The backgrounds were mostly smeared with colorful paint and the figured were penned on top. A lady standing next to us had picked up picked up an image of a robot with an unnaturally large, brown right mitt. "If I fuck up a hand, I usually put a glove on it," he said, by way of explanation.

I'm ashamed to say that I've forgotten the artist's name, though we spent about 15 minutes chatting with him while Jade picked out a couple of his pieces to give to a friend as a house-warming gift. "How much?" asked Jade. "I dunno," said the artist, who had floppy blond hair in a sort of grown-up version of a bowl haircut and was sporting a black headband and enormous glasses which were purely decorative: they had no lenses and were cut out of a piece of yellow cardboard. "I just let people pick up the work and if it's a good match, I pretty much let them have it for what they want to pay." Jade ended up paying $20 for both pictures. She chose images of submarines with blue and peanut-butter colored backgrounds.

The artist told us he moved to the Bay Area recently from the mid-West and lives in a shared apartment with a friend. He spends his days playing his trumpet and keyboards and selling his artwork. He wishes he could make a living from music, but for now, earning his keep as a painter suits him fine.

He also told us he likes setting up shop in Hayes Valley more than anywhere else in town. "The Mission is too much," he said. "It's a little more low-key here." He said he manages to cover his rent with the money he makes from selling paintings. That's a pretty remarkable accomplishment for anyone living in San Francisco. Though I don't imagine he's living in a penthouse in Pacific Heights.

As we thanked him and prepared to leave, he mentioned he had gigs coming up. I told him I'd like to hear him play sometime and asked him how I could find out information about his upcoming appearances. "I don't have a website right now," he said. "My great grandmother's building it for me."



  • Hey Chloe,

    I'm finally reading your blog! I love it! I like your idea of the Theater Salon. I'll post a link to your blog from mine, and hope to see you soon for a glass of vino at Soleil!

    By Blogger Kristin Tieche, At May 2, 2007 at 7:14 PM  

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