By Christopher Statton
As Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) celebrates its 25th year, it is only fitting that our first mural of 2017 was entitled Cultivating Resistance, a collaborative project between CAMP and the SF Poster Syndicate. Depicted at the center of the image are communities standing together to support and honor the environment, education, and criminal justice reform. Surrounded on all sides by the current evils of our time, they are insulating the fledgling tree with their activism.
Spending the month leading up to and following the presidential election painting on the cold side of Clarion Alley in San Francisco, the side that never sees direct sun, gave an odd vantage point into the insanity of our time. Painting with the arts collective The SF Poster Syndicate, we were frequently confronted with the gleeful spectacle of selfie sticks, sexy poses, and Uber and Lyft drivers forcing the gathered crowds to part as their GPS would take them down one of the slowest short cut routes imaginable.
For all the thoughtful intention contained in vibrant images, CAMP also reflects the many frictions and conflicts of modern life. Situated in one San Francisco’s most hyper-gentrified neighborhoods, the project spans one block of garages, fences, and backdoors covered with murals capturing with heartrending beauty the heartbreak of our current social and political challenges. In many ways, CAMP is a living document of the rapidly changing city of San Francisco, and many others throughout the world. The uniqueness of visuals curated by CAMP created on a large scale by the community, not corporations, draws valuable attention to the critical issues of our times. Recent murals on the alley include: Rise In Power Brothers & Sisters honoring a handful of the black and brown men and women who have been murdered by police, located directly across from the Mission Police Station; and the muralNarratives of Displacement featuring a map of San Francisco evictions along with portraits of community members who have been displaced and a phone number to call to listen to their stories of evictions.