Walking through The Mission on my way to meet Crow and Werc I knew very little about their work, although as it turned out I would have ample time to get to know these two very talented artists over the next four days. I met them at El Capitan on Mission st. El Capitan used to be a theater but was gutted and converted into a small hotel and a parking lot. The lot is one of many old school graffiti locations throughout the mission with the majority of its wall space covered by Bay Area based artists. Crow and Werc had been told by an organizer that they could paint anywhere they wanted. As it was already late in the day the decision was made to start work early the next day. Casual conversation ensued in which I learned that Crow and Werc had been traveling from their homes in Texas painting wall as they went accompanied by their significant others, a toddler and a small dog. It struck me as a very positive interaction and I already liked the vibe I was getting from these artists.
Early the next day we met up and the guys began preparing to paint a large wall near the entrance to the lot. Gloves were on and I was setting up when I noticed that progress had stopped. I asked Crow what the plan was and he informed me that they were not going to paint. You see they had been given permission to paint over existing work but as they looked at the wall with cans in hand they decided that it just didn’t feel right. It was at this point that I knew this was going to be a special session. I have a high respect for artist that see themselves as conduits of creativity. One cannot force art but rather once the physical skills have been acquired one simply tries to allow creativity to flow through oneself in order to attain the best work possible.
Over the next day I had an amazing time simply walking through The Mission looking for wall space with Crow and Werc. Eventually, after blocks of walking, pupusas and Pilz coffee, we found a prime spot on the corner of 24th and Capp. As it turned out 24th st would be closed that weekend for the city streets program. Everything fell perfectly into place and I feel if it were not for Crow and Werc’s patience, respect and humility the situation would have been extremely different.
Work began the next day and quickly two bright and vibrant pieces developed. It was apparent that these artists had worked together for a very long time. One could see how their styles were influenced by each other while also being completely different. Werc’s twisting lines emanated from the subject matter of his piece in a way that reminded me of psychedelic and meditative paintings I had seen before. This style was in stark contrast to the very linear and geometric design of Crow’s piece yet their vibrant color selection brought both pieces together nicely. It was almost as if one was looking at two sides of the same coin.
As the piece came together over the next two days it was fully embraced by the community. People of all walks of life and backgrounds stopped by and each time Crow and Werc had no problem stopping to talk to them. Final touches were done during the 24th street closure and as Aztec dancers, B-boys, and samba drum lines occupied the streets I once again appreciated the work I was witnessing and the insistence of Crow and Werc to listen to their gut. I will forever be a fan of their art both for its aesthetic beauty as well as the artists respect for the process of creation.