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Untitled: 4 Clarion Alley (at Mission St.) 

Tuesday, Sep 23 2014
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Nina Wright's tag is "Girl Mobb" and "Nina." No other street artist uses those monikers. And no other street artist portrays women's faces with pink stocking-like masks, or portrays semi-naked women with cutoff body parts dangling close by. Wright's women are, on one level, commentaries on how popular media commodify women. By masking women and deconstructing their figures, even while making them topless, Wright is assaulting people's expectations.

"It [represents] how women are taken apart and put back together, and have their identities chosen for them," says Wright, who is based in Oakland. "I like showing the dark side of things but in a humorous way."

Wright's work in Clarion Alley went up in 2012. Created with her artistic partner, Cuss, it features two women in pink masks, and a howling pink wolf that protects the figures. In San Francisco's most historic and accessible alley for street art, the scene stands out for its alluring themes and color scheme. Wright, who's 27, is one of the younger street artists invited to display her work in Clarion Alley. The alley's curators limit who can paint there — though that didn't stop Wright and Cuss in 2010, when they painted a portion of a Clarion Alley wall. That work was up for a year, Wright says, until it was painted over with a directive called "Rules of Clarion Alley."

The invitation to paint in Clarion Alley in 2012 is an indication of Wright's growing stature among street artists and gallery curators. She regularly exhibits her art in Oakland galleries, and her street work can be seen around that city. Good street art often inspires other street artists to add to the work, and Wright's Clarion Alley creation is no exception. On the door frame that intersects the painting, taggers and sticker artists have scrawled and slapped on a series of messages. One scrawl says: "#Where's your pink stroller." One sticker is Frankenstein wearing a black San Francisco Giants cap with orange lettering. Splashes of pink and white lettering are everywhere.

Even without the additional tagging, Wright says her work is "definitely open to interpretation. The responses I get are sometimes better than what I was aiming for anyway. With the ski-masked women that I do, I've had some people call them super-heroes, which is interesting because (that means) they become power symbols. I've also had people call them transvestites because the women kind of have these male and female features going on. I thought that was really cool." JC

About The Author

Jonathan Curiel

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