The seven ornate houses built on the hill between Grove and Hayes on Steiner Street -- the "painted ladies
" or "seven sisters
" -- may well be the most photographed residences on earth. Every day, thousands of camera-wielding tourists plod up the hill or are disgorged from tour buses to fill up photo albums (or hard drives) in Lord knows how many countries. Camera-holders often outnumber empty-handed folks in Alamo Square Park.
But you don't often see a dude with an easel. Especially at the crack of dawn. You did today, however.
This artist, surrounded by his rather striking work, would only give his name as "Alan." His enchanting recreation of the Painted Ladies is obviously not photorealism; the buildings shimmy as if caught in the midst of a dance (or, less whimsically, The Big One).
Alan was uninterested in publicity or giving potential fans a place to look over his work -- though he did note that several of the paintings at his feet were for sale. He would only permit a pair of photos to be taken before interjecting "Tha's enuff!" with a dismissive wave of his hand.
It seems the only way you'll get to peruse Alan's work is to catch him in the act. Since, as he said, it takes nine hours to complete a painting like the one he's working on, perhaps you'll find him at Alamo Square Park later today. He's the heavily tattooed fellow with the Cockney accent who doesn't like to be bothered. Cheers! Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly