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The 1:AM Gallery’s Graffiti Classes are Brilliantly Selling San Francisco’s Authenticity to the Exact People Who Are Ruining it

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I was gonna jokingly say “There’s nothing more gangster than finance” but realized it’s actually true in terms of world economics 

The folks over at the 1:AM Gallery are absolute geniuses. Levi Strauss saw that the way to capitalize on the original gold rush was to outfit the people working the mines. The 1:AM Gallery is doing the same thing except, instead of selling blue jeans to mineworkers, they’re selling the authenticity of San Francisco’s street culture to the exact people that are helping destroy it.

The past few years has seen an influx of tech workers from around the world, streaming into San Francisco on an economic boom that is pushing The City’s cultural fabric past the point of fraying. What many of these people have in terms of salaries, stock options, and expensive face computers, they lack in actual real world experiences. What the 1:Am Gallery is doing through it’s team-building workshops, is allowing the employees of these tech companies to be cultural tourists, by teaching them about the history, culture, and mechanics of street art, without making them have to deal with circumstances from which the art form derives. They get to brag to their friends about helping work on a graffiti mural while simultaneously hoping that their neighborhood gets cleaned up so that the people who make these murals, in real life, can no longer afford to live there.


A page of of Street Terms from one of the team-building workshops

It’s a game of pimp or be pimped really. The 1:AM Gallery can either wait to get pushed out of The City by the new monied class who craves authenticity, but doesn’t want to deal with all the complications of gaining it, or they can sell it to them as team-building exercises, and make WAY more money than artists whose medium doesn’t have the same sort of exotified cultural allure.

I absolutely applaud the 1:AM Gallery. I hope they ride this shit like it’s stolen. If the government is making it impossible to beat the motherfuckers who are ruining your city, at least you can make these same motherfuckers pay you a lot of money so they can, for once, feel like the cool guys.

Now we just need to figure out how to get this going with the rest of the the arts in San Francisco.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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