Artist Depicts Changes in Mission Neighborhood
The “Artist You Should Know” series highlights local artists in the NYC and Bay Area. It’s our way of supporting the creative community and helping to keep these cities strange and wonderful places. Meet SF native Alberto Ybarra.
Ybarra is a native San Franciscan who grew up skateboarding and hanging out in the Mission District. His new series of illustrations reflect the changes that have occurred in that neighborhood. The traditionally Latino area has seen an incredible jump in cost of living, record forced evictions, and a new breed of resident in its streets.
What’s the ‘New Mission vs Old Mission’ series about?
I am a San Francisco native and have lived in the mission for many years until it became too expensive. The Mission series is of the iconic imagery of early Mission that I remember and the steadfast gentrification that is happening now, and its attempts to appropriate the “old mission”
Where do you live now:
I live in West Oakland, moved there about a year and half ago, at the time it was the only place we could afford for a both work and living space.
How has the mission changed since you were a kid?
You see the new restaurants and coffee shops taking over, in the neighborhood you don’t see as many families any more. In a funny way, these new businesses and shops are trying to re-appropriate what the mission is about, it’s culture. It’s a new generation taking over.
Is this series more of a commentary than a judgement?
Ya, I’m just trying to show my point of view, how I see it change. Bringing the change to forefront in a funny way, and making people aware of it.
SF has the highest cost of living in the country, what effect does that have on art and its artists?
Artists can’t afford it, so they have to move out.
Whats your favorite free thing to do in SF
One of the free things I enjoy doing in San Francisco is going to the Mission Community Market for their weekly live music from talented Bay Area artists.
Other work by Ybarra:
Whats coming up for you?
Prints of the series are now available on my site, and I’m working on a new location for a mural.