The art on the walls of Clarion Alley, in the Mission District of San Francisco, calls out with its vibrant colors, eccentric iconography, and socially conscious messages. Stroll the alleyway—between Valencia and Mission and 17th and 18th—and find Southeast Asian elephants; a black-and-white mural of forceful fists and graphics reminiscent of Picasso’s Guernica; pink, yellow, and green unicorns floating in an Atari-like landscape on a garage; and random marquees amid vivid imagery, like a marking that says, “A Hard God is Good to Find.”
The backdrop is whimsical, but the occasional piece of trash or stench of urine brings you back to your senses: the alley embodies both the beauty and the grit of urban culture. The murals, ever-changing, have been around for decades, representing the city’s cultures, political messages, and collaborative community efforts. Note: These shots were not taken this year, so the art featured may or may not still be on display. I plan to take photographs here again soon.