The New SF Transit Center Murals & the Artists Behind Them
The new Transit Center and public park downtown are officially open in San Francisco, and as far as transportation terminals go, we got a pretty nice one. Not every bus station has its own rooftop garden, massive light installations, and it’s own little gondola. Not to mention a live music venue (there’s a silent disco there tonight and music every Thursday) and plenty of seating for sales reps in Patagonia vests, to eat their lunchbreak salads and talk about ‘synergy’.
To learn about the permanent art installations, Matthew Harrison Tedford did a great photo essay with descriptions of the 182 foot LED installation by Jenny Holzer, the 1,000-foot-long fountain by Ned Kahn, the beautiful terrazzo floor designed by Julie Chang, and the massive light sculpture by James Carpenter. While those installations are still coming together, there are dozens of amazing murals by San Francisco artists currently on display all across the ground level storefronts of the transit center, and they won’t be there forever.
We asked several SF artists about their new murals, specifically, why they chose their particular designs for the new Transit Center and here are some of our favorites, along with quotes from the local artists themselves:
Artist John Kraft
“The goal of my work is to make people happy, and I’m thrilled to be able to share my surreal floral compositions with the people of San Francisco.” – @johnkraft
Some murals simply make you smile, like John Kraft’s flowers for example, others make you contemplate life, like Paul Madonna’s ‘please tell me things’. Paul teamed up with a group of Artspan artists to paint his mural, Shane Izykowski and Sonia Leticia (pictured with Paul bellow) did the lion share of the painting, with artists Megan Posas, Annie Walker and Dawn Leigh Evinger in support.
Artist Paul Madonna
“I wanted to show an image that felt distinctly San Francisco, while also prompting engagement from passers-by. The line ‘Please tell me things’ is a favorite of mine; it’s disarming, while echoing the basic human desire to share and connect” – @paulmadonnastudio
Artist Talavera Ballon
One of the most striking murals currently on display is Talavera Ballon’s “Desafiando la Marea” (Defying the Tides). You may recognize Talavera’s style from past murals he’s done co-conspirator Joshua Coffy. This mural was Talavera this time around, told us this particular design was inspired by a scene at Playa Gigante, a small fishing village on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast.
“For this project, artists were asked to explore the theme of dynamism so I chose the ocean. To me, the ocean is the ultimate dynamic force sustaining the lives of millions of species as well as the livelihoods and well-being of people worldwide. The fishermen challenging the powerful waves symbolize the quest to thrive in the face of struggle as well as the value of teamwork to achieve common goals.” – facebook.com/TalaveraBallon
Artist Mark Harris
“Since San Francisco has become a snow globe city I thought it could use a little more color” – @markharrisart
Walking around and looking at the 3 dozen new murals is a refreshing glimpse at San Francisco’s existing artistic perspectives, a diverse and dynamic array of work is on display, go see it before it’s gone.
Artist Taiko Fujimura
Taiko described her mural like this: “My mural represents a big picture of the past, the present and the future in San Francisco. The Mother Earth on the right is dreaming about the future. The dots represent nature and natural resources. The past is represented by the Bay Bridge which has been built. The present is represented by the influence of the tech industries, whose foundation is binary numbers. The binary numbers are depicted floating in air as the internet is invisible. This image is about positive energy emanated from all around us by bridging spaces between us with vigorous changes for the future.” @taikofujimura
Artist Nicole Mueller
Nicole explained, “The mural is an extension of my studio practice, which is very process-based, and uses painting to navigate states of flux, depicting abstract environments full of dissipating boundaries and in continuous convergence. These recurring concepts in my work relate strongly to the theme of “Dynamism” for this project with Salesforce Transit Center. The mural will embody the energy and movement that visitors will experience while traveling through the new Transbay Terminal –@nicolemariemueller
Artist Nigel Sussman
“This design features SF landmarks, amongst a fantastical isometric urban landscape. The stripes are meant to emphasize upward movement and progress. Most important was for the mural to be fun, optimistic, and universal.” – @nigelsussman
Artist Daryll Peirce
“I wish to celebrate the thriving energy and vibrancy that the city of San Francisco both harnesses and inspires in those lucky enough to live within or visit. At the center is a sphere of raw, dynamic energy–an interwoven enigmatic phenomenon representing the “magic” moment that exists between matter and energy, between an idea and a reality. For me, San Francisco is the place where these abstract concepts and the metaphysical become reality. We are in constant flux, pushing, pulling and reacting to this pulsating life-force of creativity.” – @daryllpeirce
* Special thanks to ArtSpan for partnering with LPC West Transit Management LLC and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority and selecting, organizing, and commissioning all 36 local artists. And thanks to Savoir-Faire for providing more than 80 gallons of Sennelier abstract® acrylic paint for the murals!