Stencils in the Shadows: Two Artists on a Mission
Devin Holt, SF Weekly
The house on San Jose Avenue was perfect. There was plenty of sidewalk out front, and enough light to see clearly from the streetlamps overhead. With a couple of quick glances up and down the block, the pair set to work. They laid their handmade outlines down on the sidewalk, adjusted them to assure proper alignment, and then pulled out a spray can. The stencils were painted with a few quick hisses, and everything was packed back up in less than a minute.
Three messages now looked up from the sidewalk. "Tu Casa es Mi Casa," "The New Mission: Haute yet Edgy!" and "Tenants Here Forced Out."
The house wasn't chosen because of its ample sidewalks, but because of the occupants. It was the home of René Yañez, a Mission district artist known for his work at Galería de la Raza, and for bringing the famed Dia de los Muertos celebration to San Francisco. Yañez is currently facing an Ellis Act eviction.
It's places like this, pivotal scenes in the city's ongoing culture wars, where "Stripe" and "Estrillata Jones" leave their stencil art.