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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Street Artist Eine Is Painting on City Walls as Part of S.F. Exhibition, "Greatest"

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 6:00 PM

President Obama now owns "21st Century City." - EINE
  • Eine
  • President Obama now owns "21st Century City."

However you feel about the politics of British Prime Minister David Cameron, the man apparently has amazing taste in art. On his first official visit to Washington in July, he presented President Obama a painting by London street artist Ben Flynn, aka Eine. The piece, called "Twenty First Century City," has the words of the title painted in a variety of bright colors against a simple black background and demonstrates Eine's interest in Victorian typography and in the alphabet itself. Originally a graffiti artist -- he has a gallery on his website called "vandalism" -- Eine has had a richly varied career over the past 25 years. He worked with Banksy on that artist's controversial Palestinian Wall project, and he has painted his own bold freehand letters on shutters and walls all over the world. Now San Francisco gets to experience his work firsthand with his solo show "Greatest," which opens Saturday at White Walls gallery.

There's art in the gallery, of course, but a major component of the show extends into the streets. Eine has spent several weeks weeks painting individual letters on public surfaces legally secured for him by local street art advocates Wall Space. And there's more to come. Our reports indicate that Eine is working on a piece at the intersection of Hayes and Octavia, and it might be finished by now.

It's all legal now.
  • It's all legal now.
The point is to make his artistic process more transparent and to make the work accessible to even the most casual passerby. (Hear him explain some of that in the video clip above.) White Walls gallery has a map to the sites for a self-guided tour -- or you can just go for a walk and pay close attention to the walls. You might find Eine himself, spray can in hand. We hope we do -- and we'll post photos if we do.

The opening for "Greatest" starts at 7 p.m. Saturday (and the show continues through April 2) at White Walls. Admission is free.

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Heidi De Vries

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