His blue bears are a San Francisco institution. They are fun playful and can be found in just about every area of the city as he has completed 16 murals in San Francisco. We caught up with Sirron when he was in between murals to find out more about them.
You finished a large scale mural in San Francisco on Bryant and 18th at Calumet Photographic that covers two sides of the building. Can you tell us about that project to give our readers a sense of the effort, time and people involved in creating a street art mural of that magnitude?
Was that the largest piece you have ever done on the street?
When did you start making street art? What was it that got you started? Why do you do it now?
I created my first mural in 1999. I got started because I saw it as an opportunity for free advertisements of my artwork. I saw it as a personal billboard. 13 years later, I see public art as a responsibility now and perceive it in a much for altruistic and less selfish way now.
What types of tools do you use? And do you ever collaborate with people who work in other mediums?
My murals are mainly done with “NOVA color”. I collaborate all the time with artists that use spray cans-It’s just super hard for me to use Nova color on top of spray paint-it’s sometimes a major pain to seamlessly collaborate with someone using that medium.
You have a distinctive cartoon style. Your murals are comical and light hearted with blue bears, rabbits, fantastical robots and San Francisco Victorian houses. Where do you get your inspiration and style?
My style in inspiration is mainly from Saturday morning cartoons from the 70’s. I created that style to honor the spirit of cartoons and I see SF as a city that would be in a cartoon at some point. SF has character, specific landmarks that are the most whimsical you have ever seen and a geographical terrain like a fairy tail.
Is there a specific message you are trying to get across? Does the owner of the property have much influence on the murals or do they give you free rein?
I’m an artist for hire. I’m getting paid to do a job. Every mural I do is based on the customers ideas not mine. I fillin the gaps but I’m at my best when I’m creating art in a commercial sense rather then a spiritual experience. No one cares how I feel and they sure as hell are not going to pay me to express how I feel-that is still a long-term goal of mine.
Mainly when I create murals, regardless of what I’m saying for the customer, I just want people to feel joy when seeing it.
Where can your pieces be seen? Have you done street art in other cities?
Most of my murals are in the Mission. We recently finished a major production over at SPUR 654 Mission street. Its about half the size of Calumet and is inside. I have done some stuff in Vegas, shanghai china and that’s about it. My career doesn’t exist outside of SF.
How did the project come about inside the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association?
They just emailed me about the project. I think the executive director Gabriel Metcalfe owns some of my artwork and others at Spur had some familiarity of my work.
How long did the planning take for the mural?
I designed it in about a day. I had about a day of changes from them. The Mural was hard to design because it has no cartoon bears etc. Creating a mural that has emotion and life without cartoons and people is a challenge. Also, the stair format was a hard read for someone who can’t visualize in their head what this design would translate to. It was hard to get them to see my vision at first.
Was there anything special were asked or decided to get across in this mural that was specific to the SPUR project?
Our main goal was to create a mural that talks about Urbanism. My personal goal was to discuss the future of city planning while simultaneously adding humor and character to seemingly boring things visually. It was a challenge to show the future of a city with out being sci fi or making fun of the ideas.
We’ve thourougly enjoyed learning more about Sirron Norris murals. If you are interested in hiring him or learning more, visit his website sirronnorris.com.
As you travel around San Francisco, how many of Sirron Norris’ paintings can you find? They are inside, outside and in unexpected places like on a heart. Keep your eyes and mind open.
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