Twick ICP in Clarion Alley (part 1/4)
A few weekends ago I was involved with a well attended street art photowalk in the Mission District. Megan Wilson, of the Clarion Alley Mural project, had spoken at the walk and mentioned that despite their best efforts, the murals had done little to beat back the gentrification in the area. In the centre of a huge crowd of snapping photographers, some with very expensive gear, I felt like this wasn’t helping with the aforementioned gentrification.
greed1, who spoke later, talked about how street art was expression, a way of communicating with hundreds of people at a time without having to say a word. His optimistic take on the issue was that cities grow and change, and that public art was a vehicle for expression. Sometimes people started out sometimes with stuff as coarse as tagging, but moved on to finding their real medium for expression like painting or wheatpasting. Their driver was not caring how long their work lasts or recognition but just ‘putting it out there’.
I’d found myself wandering the Mission again the day after the photowalk and I stumbled across a hive of activity in Clarion Alley. The day before probably hundreds of pictures of the murals were taken, and now, a day later, many were already gone, painted over by groups of artists. Near the centre of the alley, one piece grabbed my attention - the huge face of a big cat, being painstakingly rendered by one individual. I walked over for a chat.
“Hey, how’s it going? Looks like a great piece… have you been doing this for long?”
“Since ‘83, man. You might have seen some of my stuff around - I’m Twick ICP.”
“No way - all those colourful animal and Mayan murals around town?”