“Paint Chinatown” – Ink Artists Beautify Community
Location: 724 Commercial St. & 41 Ross Alley
Top: Tanja Geis, Untitled, at 724 Commercial St.
Bottom: Jonathan Wallraven, 建設健康高效的社會 (Build a Healthy and Efficient Society), at 41 Ross
Tanja Geis and Jonathan Wallraven – two of CCC artists known for working in ink – returned to Chinatown to paint their new murals in the alleyways of Commercial and Ross. The two artists interpreted their own understandings about the local democratic movements and presented with their own signature-style paintings.
Geis’s mural at 724 Commercial Street applied the elements of “chinoiserie wallpaper” and plants that people have brought over from China to indicate the transformation of cultures across the ocean.
Untitled The mural is painted on the wall of the building belonging to the Wah Ying Social Club, a nonprofit, founded in 1935, by 8 young men looking for a space to socialize. In the 80 years since its founding, Wah Ying has come to play an integral role in supporting not just its members but the wider San Francisco Chinatown community. The mural draws on the stylistic qualities of Chinese blue and white export porcelain; chinoiserie painted wallpapers; the image of a hybrid tree comprised of common native species (California redwood and coast live oak) and non-native species (gingko and eucalyptus); and the iconic symbol of Wah Ying, the golden eagle. This layered imagery seeks to honor the migration of Chinese to the San Francisco Bay Area, the growth of the distinct and complex culture of San Francisco Chinatown, and the cultural institutions that keep it thriving.
Wallraven’s mural at 41 Ross implied a shift in perspective to share same concerns among people with the purpose of connecting with each other.
建設健康高效的社會 (Build a Healthy and Efficient Society) Let us now think about the mundane a bit differently, okay? Try this: Go to a crowded public space. Now imagine that everyone but you has recently escaped from a mental institution. Or how about this: While talking on your phone, pretend that you are not talking to a beloved friend in another place, but that you are actually talking to the intelligent appliance that you are holding to your ear. One more: Imagine that the Television family is having a sincere conversation, that they’re real people whose quality of life has improved through informed purchasing decisions. How does this make you feel about Frosted Flakes? It’s not that I want you to feel the way I feel, it’s just that I think you could benefit from a shift in perspective. Some empathy might help. Fuck, I don't know. Maybe you share my fears, and it’s comforting to see that someone else has the same concerns that you do, that you’re not alone. I’m just trying to connect. Maybe if I try the best I can, you’ll try the best you can, and the best we can will be good enough. But I could be wrong.
CCC is proud to introduce the two world class contemporary artists to the alleyways and to the community.