Image by *eddie.

New York’s street art scene is legendary, the LA street art culture is the stuff of legends, and London has a rightful ruling seat for producing some of the most famous (and not so famous but insanely talented) taggers, paste-up artists and more. But nothing compares to the rich history of San Francisco street art; there’s something so unique about the San Francisco scene that it’s defied description for decades. It spans generations, it breaks the rules and morphs other street art standards to fit The City’s talent pool, politics and landscape. In 2006, the documentary Piece by Piece was released and is a must-see for the insider’s view of SF’s furthest underground art culture; here’s a short clip from the film that illustrates the finer points of the SF street art scene:

But most of all, our street art scene has evolved on its own to create visuals unlike any you’ll see in any other major city. And our artists not only create and perfect style, but you’ll see a variety of disciplines, and they overlap to create something on the side of a building that’ll make you want to stop and take a picture.

And in most cases you should. Because whatever you’re ogling in the alley or doorway — or even drain cover — might be gone soon.


Image by Steve Rotman.

International book publisher Prestel’s series of street art collections from around the world has just released Street Art San Francisco, featuring stickers, stencils, paste-ups, murals and, of course, some straight-up, piece-by-piece graffiti. Previous installments showcased London, Paris, Berlin and Brooklyn; Street Art San Francisco has photos by Steve Rotman, with layout and design by Chris Brennan — previously, the two collaborated on the book Bay Area Graffiti.


Image by *eddie.

Mark your calendars now: Rotman and several artists featured in the book will discuss their work, and street art, in the city at Street Art San Francisco’s book release event on Monday, May 11th at Books, Inc. on Van Ness (7 – 9:00PM, free).

See also: The Street Art : San Francisco Flickr Photo Pool.

the author

Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com) is an award-winning author, columnist blogger, journalist and is regarded as the foremost expert in the field of sex and technology. Blue features at global conferences on the topics of sex, technology and privacy, and her appearances range from Oprah to Google Tech Talks at Google, Inc.

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  • jwb

    Am I the only one who wants to punch that guy defacing the Muni vehicle? Punch him right in the neck?

  • Plug1

    hmmm. i dont want to punch anyone in the face. so you might be the only one.

    i do however want to figure out why my Google Reader isnt catching the SF Appeal feed.

    that said, good write-up. i went shooting with Steve on Saturday, he is a genuinely nice guy, has a passion for his craft, and i wish him the best of luck with both of these books — two books that now have a permanent home in my library.

    ps: well worth the $15!!