Painted Voices: Photographs of Mission Murals

  • Moon, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Después, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 21x14
  • Wild Things, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 21x14
  • Things Fall Apart, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Hand, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Hay Perro, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Ancient Land, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Rejoice, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Pop, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 21x14
  • A Struggle for Freedom, 2011. Archival pigment print on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Vixen, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • ZipCar Culture Clash, 2011.  Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Sacred, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Old Soil, New Roots, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 21x14
  • From the Fire, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Quetzacoatl, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Sacred Waters, 2011. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Orixás, 2012. Archival pigment print on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Watching the Party, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Tina y Frida, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • Guardian Angel, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • La Llorona, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Perched, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Memorial, 2013. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • In Progress, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Profiling, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Mouth, 2012.  Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Delicate, 2013. Archival pigment print on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Trapped, 2013. Archival pigment print on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • People's Army, 2012. Archival pigment print on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • Mirame, 2012.  Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • Cannot Hold, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 14x21
  • Pasado Triste de El Salvador, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • Survival, 2013. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 10x15
  • La Virgen, 2013.  Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • Centro, 2013. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • Refugee Terrors, 2012. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10
  • Foreclosed, 2013. Archival pigment on Canson Baryta Photographique, 15x10

PAINTED VOICES: Photographs of Mission Murals

“Images of fences, garage doors, or the aluminum siding of homes take on new meaning when layered with painted expressions of deeply felt political action, spirituality, rebellion, playfulness and love – these murals assert the voice of the painters, and in many cases are a reflection of the collective hopes and dreams of a neighborhood. Architectural reminders are purposefully included, affirming that the murals are part of someone’s daily life, not confined to museum walls.

While street art is often associated with the rebellious act of trespassing, here it is a reclaiming of public space. The muralist movement in this predominantly Latino neighborhood in San Francisco (the Mission District) involves an act of acceptance, sharing, validation and celebration –– an art form that can be easily traced back to Mayan and Aztec scenes painted on temple walls, or the caves of Lascaux. Many are highly politicized statements, whether celebrating indigenous cultures, protesting the wars in Central America, or honoring the fight for freedom in Nepal. Life and art are intertwined here, each mural with its own message inspired by the works of Mexican Muralists and motivated by the Civil Rights movement.

I am fascinated with meaning and temporality of these murals, which inspires me to help preserve what can easily disappear or become vandalized (I am from NYC afterall), while being a repository for the muralist. Some of the murals have been defaced, but many are kept safe thanks to Precita Eyes in San Francisco*, an organization that has been instrumental in the creation and preservation of many of these art works.

A major theme throughout my work is to document people’s lives and what is created through their labor, while attempting to bring related social inequities to light. Although people are absent from the frame in this series, their stories are strong via the markings they have left behind. Cultural pride, immigration, resistance, migrant fieldwork, or just making do with a new life: their voices through imagery, are a preserved tribute.”

(mural by Herbert Siguenza, "Después del Triunfo")

A sad reminder of the impermanence of these murals. This one by Herbert Siguenza was tagged a year after I took the photo of it with the flowers.

* Precita Eyes’ book Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo (Abrams, NYC: 2009), identifies the Mission District as a “hot spot for street art, the largest concentration in the world of public painting that embodies activism, culture, passion, and desire for social change.” In honor of the organization’s decades of work, a percentage of prints sold will be donated to Precita Eyes Muralists.

 

 

 

 

** As this website interface doesn’t allow for extended captions, I am including information on the murals below. Please note that I am continuously researching the histories, and welcome any information you may have about the murals and muralists.

Moon: (mural by Twick, “Lady Xoc and the Vision Serpent,” 2009)
Después: (mural by Herbert Siguenza, “Después del Triunfo”; mural has since been defaced)
Wild Things: 
(mural by Guarina Lopez, “The Missing Page”)
Things Fall Apart: 
(mural by Janet Braun-Reinitz, 2004)
Hay Perro: 
(mural by unidentified artist)
Ancient Roots: (mural by Carlita Wo, “56 LW The Wanderer” 2011)
Rejoice: (mural by Shrine)
Pop: (mural by unidentified artist; this mural was defaced by the time I returned in 2013)
Breaking Chains: (mural by Martin Travers)
Vixen: (mural by Amanda Lynn)
Zipcar Culture Clash: (mural by Hyde)
Sacred: (mural by Susan Cervantes/PrecitaEyes.org & Mia Gonzalez, “Sacred Colors of Corn”)
Old Soil, New Roots: (mural by Max Allbee)
From the Fire: (mural by Isaias Mata, “500 Years of Resistance”)
Quetzalcoatl: 
(mural by Tony Machado and Rich Montez, 1975, recreated in 1990 by Susan Greene & Miranda Bergman. The mural was defaced when I returned in 2013)
Sacred Waters: (mural by Marta Ayala & Catalina Gonzalez, “In Iak’ech/I am Another Yourself,” 1998)

Orixás: (mural by Joel Berger, “Sob o Sol dos Orixás”, 2006)
Block Party: (mural by Marina Perez-Wong & Precita Eyes, “Block Party” 2010)
Frida: (Mural by Mary Nash, “Las Milagrosas,” 2001)
Angel: (mural by Josue Rojas, “Enrique’s Journey” 2009)
Malinche: (mural by Juana Alicia, “La Llorona’s Sacred Waters,” 2004)
Perched: (mural by Suzie Buchholz, Tom Farthing, Mei-Tsunglee, “Remains of the Day,” 2004)
Memorial: (mural by Mark Bode, James O’Barr, “Jeff Jones Memorial Mural”, 2011)
Space: (mural by Mark Bode, “Moebius” 2012)
Profiling: (mural by Spencer Gray)
Mouth: (mural by Chor Boogie)
Delicate: (untitled mural by Kyle Ranson)
Trapped: (untitled mural by Mark Bode and James O’Barr, 2010)
People’s Army: (mural by Eric Norberg, Mike Ramos, H.O.M.E.Y.: Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth, 2007)
Mirame: (mural by unidentified artist)
The Center Cannot Hold: (mural by Janet Braun-Reinitz, 2004)
El Passado Triste: (mural by Joel Bergner, “Un Pasado qu aún Vive”, 2004)
Survival: (mural by Irene Perez, “500 Years of Native Survival,” 1991)
La Virgen: (mural by unidentified artist)
El Centro: (mural by unidentified artist)
Refugee Terrors: (mural by unidentified artist)
Foreclosed: (mural by Lucia Ippolito and Tirso Araiza, “Mission Makeover”)