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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Street Artist Apex on the Haight/Masonic Mural and Art Thriving on Neglect

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 7:30 AM

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Your large mural on the corner of Haight and Masonic -- on the outside wall of a clothing store -- was commissioned by the store. Thousands of people see the mural every day. It's an intense work.

I've worked with the clothing store from the time they started five years ago. They rotate the wall a couple of times a year. They said, "Let's do something new with you." When I was painting that, it was great to have people participate in it as they were going to work or getting off work. As the mural grew, people could see the different layers and enjoy it. The work on the street has to compete with so much other visual stimulation out there. The mural catches your eye and brings you in. I try to give you more to look at and to contemplate as you look at the work.

There's symbolism in the mural. The store is at Haight and Masonic. Masonic starts in the hills as Roosevelt Way, and Haight Street going west leads to Lincoln Way. Those are named after presidents, who were probably Masons. Things that I'm into, like sacred geometry, the Masons were into. The mural has a nod to them, with a Fibonacci sequence, and in the center, a Merkaba star.

For years, you had a studio space in the mid-Market area of San Francisco. You had to leave recently because the building was sold and is being turned into a tech office.

My studio there was amazing and way too cheap for what it was for too long. I knew that, with everything in the city, time changes and things change.  I'm looking at another space in the area. That area is saturated with everything in our society. There's always some wall that stands out to me like a sore thumb -- like, "I want to paint that." Luckily, there are people who enjoy my work and ask me to paint a location.

Is this a good time to be a street artist in San Francisco?

Street art thrives on neglect. That's where it's born. And that's when it thrives -- when there are neglected walls. In the city right now, there's not too much room of neglect. Every little area is being dialed in and built up and cleaned up -- which I think is great. In that way, it allows for more murals to be highlighted, and people to ask for murals. So on that end, it's great for street art and great for me -- someone who's already participated in street art for a fair amount of time. But for artists who are beginning, there's not a wide range of things to practice on. That rawness is always how something new and fresh begins, in every walk of life. New street artists are still picking it up -- it just has a different feel to it. They're creating something new based on the availability of what's out there.

Untitled (Red) - COURTESY OF APEX AND 941GEARY
  • Courtesy of Apex and 941Geary
  • Untitled (Red)

"Reflected," featuring a new series of spray-painted art from Apex, continues at 941Geary gallery through January 5, at 941 Geary (at Larkin), S.F. Admission is free.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.
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Jonathan Curiel

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