Rad fnnch art spotted at Powell Station

fnnch

By now, you might’ve seen cute, colorful honeybears painted all around San Francisco. Some are your run-of-the-mill bears; others have hats and costumes, including one wearing headphones and another holding a lightsaber.

Turns out the artist behind these works is known as fnnch, and I spotted the art above at Powell Street Station earlier today. Here’s a message that fnnch sent out yesterday about it:

In August of 2015 I spoke to the BART Board of Directors and said:

“BART is sitting on one of the greatest collections of canvases in the entire world. As someone who creates street art I’ve come to see spaces a little differently than others might. […] Concrete is canvas. And BART not only has an incredible amount of concrete, it has some that is seen by an incredible number of people. This is a really valuable resource.”

I reported in an email around that time that BART approved an art program, but in the 18 months between then and now, I have not seen a single piece of art go up in BART. I have come to understand that this is not because the people at BART are grinches bent on depriving the world of art; in fact to the contrary everyone I have met there has been awesome and supportive. Part of the issue is that big entities like BART have an outmoded idea of public art projects, conceiving of them as $200,000 installations done by world-renowned (and often not local) artists. These can be great, but I would much rather see 100 x $2000 projects. The last ten years have seen an explosion in mural art, with artists using rollers and aerosol paint to cover large spaces with unprecedented speed and thus greatly reduced costs. But the main reason for the lack of art is that there are a lot of stakeholders and there is no process through which an art project can get approved. In a word: bureaucracy.

Street art is a tool that cuts through bureaucracy and lets us reach states of the world in which everyone is better off but which we cannot reach without it. Projects like this are a win-win-win: BART wins by improving the aesthetics of its stations, which not only increases rider satisfaction directly but also, studies show, decreases perceived wait times, the people win by getting free art on their own turf without having to pay high museum admission fees and without having to go to galleries that close before they get off work, and artists win by getting increased exposure.

I am particularly proud of this project because it was executed with zero damage. These panels can be removed without marring the walls. The crime typically goes with the damage, so while this is still illegal, it would be an infraction like posting bills or littering.

I also included a brand new design: the Pink Pussy Bear. Search online for “Pink Pussy Hat” or check out their website for more info on this.

If you find yourself in or near the Powell Street Station, check the piece out. I suspect it will either last an incredibly short amount of time, or the facilities people at BART will assume it was done with permission and leave it indefinitely. Obviously I’m hoping for the latter.

Finally, thank you to the three unnamed but nevertheless awesome friends who took time out of a Wednesday afternoon to help.

I can’t agree with fnnch more. Street art rules!

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