This black and white wheatpaste by Turnip gives the artist’s signature image a clean, minimalist feel. Who knew a root/vegetable could look so sharp. Turnip turns up in different sizes and colors, but the monochromatic rendering draws attention to the elegance of the design.
Boarded up and abandoned, this house in West Oakland has a rather sad appearance. It’s horrible how many houses are foreclosed and how many people are evicted from their homes in the East Bay, so the work of art pasted to the house’s facade makes an especially powerful statement. The beached whale in this wheatpaste sheds tears of desperation; it’s lost, removed from its natural surroundings. A glimmer of beauty amid the bleakness, the artwork draws attention to similarly displaced people who, too, have lost their homes.
Though it looks like a collage, this poster is actually a print. Between the floral wallpaper and the fake magazine clippings, the work seems to revel in kitsch. The juxtaposition recalls something you might find in your grandmother’s house (if yours regularly saves newspaper clippings and hasn’t redecorated since the ’70s like mine.)
It seems attempts have been made to tear down this mixed media poster from the street, but so far they have (fortunately) been unsuccessful. Covered in lines and wrinkles and bulging out in unsightly places, these figures intimately coil their limbs around each other. Though a bit grotesque, their sexuality is comical and even somewhat endearing — the opposite of the glamorized version we’re constantly subjected to through advertising. Though it’s not obvious from far away, the piece actually uses real fabric for the woman’s undergarments. The detail adds a soft, domestic touch to the tough urban environment.
The L.A.-based political wheatpaster ABCNT recently visited San Francisco and put up these large, eye-catching pieces. The works are elegantly designed, but apart from being visually attractive they subtly provoke the viewer to think about social issues. The paste-up in the bottom photo is a tribute to Howard Zinn, the author of the influential book “A People’s History of the United States,” while the one in the top photo is a rallying cry for bike activists. In these times of social struggle, works like this resonate with the feelings of the community.
Walking around in the Mission on a sunny afternoon, I was happy to see these paste-ups by Hugh Leeman and Oakland’s Political Gridlock. Though Hugh’s photorealistic portraits contrast with PG’s more cartoony style, the two artists use their art to raise awareness for social problems perpetuated by the machine of capitalism — homelessness and the media as a vehicle for right-wing propaganda. The pieces seem to the latest additions to an ever-evolving wall of paste-ups.
This giant wheatpaste by ATWA decorates an empty lot, bringing elements of the natural world to the urban landscape. The intricate braid-like pattern creates a soft texture in the owl’s cozy wings. Though the piece is probably horizontal due to space constraints, seeing an owl taking a nap like that is just so damn cute.
CORRECTION: My mistake, this was actually not by ATWA. Feel free to comment if you know who did this so I can credit them.
A wanderer of the night and an expert in all things cute, Nadya Voynovskaya pastes rats who love amputated human fingers. Though scary to some, the rats speak of an intimate relationship between people and their most prized possessions. Sometimes those possessions can be grotesque to others, but they are beautiful to their beholders nonetheless. Check Nadya in “bARTering,” where she’ll have some ratty surprises for y’all.
The weather has been very sunny lately, which means good lighting for most of the day on one hand, and unsightly shadows on the other. But that’s beside the point. This wheatpaste by OIM combines a variety of images in a single shape, prompting the viewers to try to guess exactly what it is they’re looking at. The form seems to be something in between a film reel and a machine gun—perhaps a pun on “shooting” both objects.