In the Studio Today... Mission Murals

April 27-28, 2013
What a wonderful Saturday field trip to San Francisco with my sons!  Wow!  We have "Viva el Espanol" to thank for a fun, delicious, colorful and educational day in the Mission district of San Francisco.  My sons have been taking after school Spanish classes with Viva el Espanol this year, and they have offered some great trips you could attend outside of the program.  This one was excellent!

We met at 9:30am at el restaurante "Sunrise" where the boys were helped to order their breakfast en espanol.  "Qué quieres comer?"   "Yo quiero comer huevos al gusto y jugo haranga"!  Aidan ordered "Chocolate caliente and panqueques".  This was fun and delicioso!

Next, we walked as a group and stopped in "Balmy Alley" which is an entire alley painted with murals, one dating back to the 1970's.  You can spend a while here.  Definitely worth a trip just to see this one spot!  Pictured to the right here and below, you can see my son, Aidan, snapping photos of the brightly colored, aztec designs at the entrance to Balmy Alley.  These five colorful panels at the entrance from 24th Street are called "Five Sacred Colors of Corn" by Susan Cervantes and Mia Gonzalez
Read more about the vibrant tradition of mural painting in San Francisco in this SF Gate article from 2009: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/History-culture-mix-in-vibrant-Mission-murals-3163036.php#ixzz2RmPFdDgF


The colors are incredible, and the kids just loved this walk.  Each of the scenes is very meaningful and we did not have time to discuss the deeper issues addressed in the imagery with the young kids, but this would be a great trip for any group of older kids or adults too.  The Precita Eyes Mural Arts building is on 24th Street, and they have tours of the murals and self guided info you can pick up inside as well.

Continuing down Balmy Alley, we saw some really powerful work addressing themes of Latin American heritage, political struggles and people.  Really beautifully rendered and detailed images that convey a sense of community and importance of self in this neigborhood.  There is obviously a sense of great pride here, and I imagine those who live in the buildings here must embrace their artsy and popular location(unless the screaming and excited tour groups of kids drive them crazy...).

"Indigenous Eyes" ©1991 by Susan Cervantes
I love this one with the hands and eyes.

My sons thought this one was very crazy-- Looks like a transformer is destroying the city, but it is very cute and cartoony at the same time.  Amazing artist and unique style.
This is Blake with one of the teacher's from the Spanish School.  She was showing him the collage and mixed media wall here.  It had a picture of LEGOS, which of course drew the attention of my sons immediately.

Spanish teachers (Viva el Espanol) walk by "Mission Makeover" by Lucia Ippolito & Tiso Araiza
Click here to learn more about Lucia and her mural project that was created in 2012 on YouTube


Pictured above is a detail from "Mission Makeover", a mural created in 2012 by Lucia Ippolito and friends.  After watching Lucia's videos on YouTube about her mural and work, I appreciate the work even more.  I remember the feelings I had as a twenty year old artist, and my art was much more political and questioning in nature than it has been today.  I think it is important for our youth to question what we are going through in these changing times, and how technology affects us, our ability to be social people and work together.  I understand the image of the zippered scull and Lucia's comment on social media.  Hopefully, we teach our children to live balanced lives in which they get out and play in the beautiful alley's of the world, educate themselves with real life experiences, and breathe fresh air... as well as letting them learn online.  My 11 year old sons absolutely loved walking though the Mission and did not want to leave... hence our $72. parking ticket.  I believe that if we teach our children of all cultures from a young age, they will embrace all people and love art of all kinds.  Lucia's message today may not be what she feels years from now... but this is art-- we share the moment, and it is our privilege to do so in freedom.


 This image seemed to tell a story of fire, volcano or war destroying land, and family leaving together.  The color palette was absolutely beautiful and incredible to view.  Simply gorgeous work.  The details of the lava river or fire are emotional; flames shaped like tears are just beautifully done.  Look!


To view more amazing photos from today,
please visit my Flickr uploads, here.  Gracias!

2 comments:

Sally_K said...

Beautiful photos. Looks like a fun day. I love that area.

Colleen Proppé said...

Hey, Sally Around the Bay!

Thank you for your comments. It is a super amazing place to visit and we even saw a parade come down 24th Street. Wonderful sense of spirit and community involvement there.
-Colleen