Starr King Open Space, a neighborhood park located at 1215 Carolina Street with sweeping vistas, has a new addition to the view. The majestic sights from the public space haven’t been altered due to real estate development, but by the addition of a new mural, intended to reflect and extend the beauty of the natural environment around it.
The mural, entitled “Potrero Hill Skies,” was created by Art Chemist Studios, a Los Angeles-based painting company made up of a collective of artists: Jaime Guerrero, Daniel Toledo, and Joey Stupor.
“It’s the first large mural we have done in the Bay Area,” said Guerrero. “The studio is located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, in the historic district. We operate out of a large loft where most of the designs and meetings take place. We wanted to branch out and spread our influence throughout the country. North Cal has always had amazing artwork and inspirational scenery. It’s been a pleasure working in SF.”
The fresco is painted on the side of a private home that abuts the public park. The residence’s owner, interior designer Janine Hunn, wanted to enhance the beauty of the open space, of which she’s an ardent fan.
“A few months ago, [my husband and I] decided to commission a mural on the side of our new home. I wanted to create a mural that blends into the landscape and reflects the beauty of the park and the wildlife that share it. I also wanted it to depict my favorite resident of the park, a red-tailed hawk, as well as the coyotes that are occasional visitors to the park,” Hunn said.
“Janine approached us with a broad nature-themed direction,” Guerrero remembered. “We then proceeded to design based on all our personal aesthetics. The first iteration established some directions that excited us, but ultimately didn’t fit her vision. The idea of merging the landscape of Potrero Hill on to the wall was hers. After this new direction we made a revision that merged a bit of the old ones and the seamless integration of the skyline. She made it clear that all the animals that visit her home should be featured. The red-tailed hawk added a grand presence to the mural, the coyotes a bit of danger, and the skunk some playfulness.”
Hunn is pleased with the piece. “I interviewed nine mural artists out of an application pool of about 35. Jaime and his crew were the front runners. They took my vision of creating a mural that looks like an extension of the park, blending natural plants and animals into a graphical landscape.”
“I think the reaction to the mural is positive and people really enjoy seeing more publicly accessible art in the community,” reported Matt Nessier, Starr King Open Space Preservation Board president.
Hunn’s first priority was to accentuate the beauty of the park, which is popular with Hill residents, kids and dogs, and offers stunning views of Twin Peaks, the Golden Gate Bridge and sunsets.
The Art Chemist collective worked to create art that’d be harmonious with the natural beauty present. “We wanted to keep the art piece open, but grounded at the same time,” Guerrero said. “With this in mind we adopted a low saturation color pallet with some cool Pastel colors to mimic the hazy mountains that you see in the morning over the hill. At the same time, we punched up the saturation of the foreground with some bright orange California poppies rhythmically scattered over the horizon. The designed was partly founded on Joey Stupor’s sketch of mountains. We added a tree growing at an angle similar to the one behind the home to further blend in the surroundings of the area on to the mural. Additionally, we gave it some designed elements like a wave form depicting motion from the hawks flight leading the eye from one building to the other.”