Painted Voices: Photographs of Mission Murals
documenting America’s murals
While street art is often associated with a rebellious act of trespassing, here it is a reclaiming of public space. It embodies an act of validation, acceptance, sharing and celebration and is an art form that can be traced back to Mayan and Aztec scenes painted on temple walls, or the caves of Lascaux.
Murals assert the voice of the painters and in many cases are a reflection of the collective hopes and dreams of a neighborhood. Images of fences, garage doors, or the siding on homes are layered with painted expressions of deeply felt political action, spirituality, rebellion, playfulness and love.
In Painted Voices, I purposefully include architectural reminders to evoke a sense of place and belonging, affirming that art is part of daily life, not to be confined to museum walls. Many are highly politicized statements celebrating indigenous cultures, protesting wars, honoring the environment or the fight for freedom. No matter where in the Americas the mural is located, life and art are intertwined, each with its own message whether inspired by the works of Mexican Muralists or motivated by the Civil Rights movement.
My fascination with their meaning and temporality inspires me to help preserve what can easily disappear or be destroyed, while honoring their history. Many in fact, no longer exist. The series began in 2011 inspired by the Mission District, a predominantly Latino neighborhood in San Francisco. Research about the artists is ongoing, with photo sale proceeds going to the specific artist as identified, or donated to Precita Eyes, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the Mission District’s murals (San Francisco).
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, their stories are strong via the markings they have left behind. Cultural pride, immigration, resistance, fieldwork, or just adapting to a new life: their voices through imagery, are a preserved tribute.
** 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.
A Thousand Papercuts, San Francisco, 2019 (mural by Erin Feller, “untitled, 2018.” Clarion Alley).
Moon (mural by Twick, “Lady Xoc and the Vision Serpent,” 2009).
Owl Princess, Playa del Carmen, 2019 (mural by Niz, “Owl Girl, 2018”, Mexico).
People’s Army (mural by Eric Norberg, Mike Ramos, H.O.M.E.Y.: Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth, 2007).
El Passado Triste (mural by Joel Bergner, “Un Pasado qu aún Vive”, 2004).
Después (mural by Herbert Siguenza, “Después del Triunfo”; mural has since been defaced).
Orixás (mural by Joel Berger, “Sob o Sol dos Orixás”, 2006).
Rejoice (mural by Shrine).
Angel (mural by Josue Rojas, “Enrique’s Journey” 2009).
Block Party (mural by Marina Perez-Wong & Precita Eyes, “Block Party” 2010).
Things Fall Apart (mural by Janet Braun-Reinitz, 2004).
Selva, Playa del Carmen, 2019 (mural by unknown artist, Mexico).
Hay Perro (mural by unidentified artist).
Breaking Chains (mural by Martin Travers)
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).
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).
Sacred Waters (mural by Marta Ayala & Catalina Gonzalez, “In Iak’ech/I am Another Yourself,” 1998).
Frida (Mural by Mary Nash, “Las Milagrosas,” 2001).
Malinche (mural by Juana Alicia, “La Llorona’s Sacred Waters,” 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).
Wild Things (mural by Guarina Lopez, “The Missing Page”).
#MeToo (untitled mural by Kyle Ranson).
Trapped (untitled mural by Mark Bode and James O’Barr, 2010).
Mirame (mural by unidentified artist, possibly Laura Campos, 2009).
The Center Cannot Hold (mural by Janet Braun-Reinitz, 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”).
Additional information also provided via SF Mural Arts.