Photography & travel tips from an award-winning photographer, educator & wanderlust

Murals of San Francisco

Traveling through or living in cities large or small, I’m always fascinated by murals that I see. On my trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand, I was pleasantly surprised to see some street art around the city, on the interior walls of coffee shops, on tiny side alleys – artists found a way to express themselves through pictures, graffiti, paintings, collages or a caricature.

San Francisco was no different and being a much larger city than Chiang Mai, San Francisco’s murals were almost everywhere! In our 1.5 days layover, we were able to witness over 25 different pieces around the city. You’ll have to excuse the quality of some of the images, as they were taken from a top of a moving tourist bus. If you google Street Art San Francisco, you’ll undoubtedly come across thousands of examples of scary, inspirational, beautiful, musical, political, multicolored, crazy, confusing, black and white, amazing and one of a kind examples of awesomeness.

There is even a page devoted to them, with the latest updates in the city, interviews and events. Check out Street Art SF!allaponomareva-sanfran-murals1

Obviously, murals have been around as long as the history of human kind. I found this informative article that talks about the history, techniques and modern uses of murals here. This is my favorite quote from the article:

“…murals represent an aesthetic element which helps them integrate into their environments and turns them into true cultural artifacts and even monumental works” by Angie Kordic.

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We were passing through numerous neighborhoods, full of colorful buildings, sky scrapers, occasional parks and what not, and by a mere chance I turned my head to what I instantly recognized as not just another street art, but what may be — a Banksy original! In case you’re not familiar (is that even possible?!), Banksy is a graffiti artist, political activist and film director from England, whose true identity is still unknown (crazy, huh?). I first heard about him from a must see documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. 

All in all, there are ten known Banksy pieces in San Francisco and I was able to spot one! It’s like seeing the Mona Lisa…but better!

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“If at first you don’t succeed, – call an airstrike” Banksy.

Have you ever seen a Banksy mural? If so, tell me where in a comment below.

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