In April 2010, to coincide with the premiere of Exit Through The Gift Shop, Banksy bombed San Francisco with six pieces of original street art. While five of them have since been painted over, one still exists in San Francisco’s Chinatown. So last weekend I headed there with camera in tow.
It’s found on the side wall of the Eastern Bakery (opened in 1924, it’s the oldest Chinese bakery in the U.S.). Banksy paid the bakery’s owner $50 for the use of his wall. It still exists because someone (either the bakery owner or art enthusiasts) mounted plexiglas over it to keep it from being painted over or vandalized. The Chinese dragons mural went up around the Banksy a year later, which just makes the whole scene that much more surreal.
If you’re ever visiting San Francisco you can find this original Banksy at 720 Grant Street, between Commercial and Sacramento Sts. Stop in the bakery and buy a few pastries while you’re at it … they’re really good!
Stephen Very nice street art shot!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga
Hey Monoy … thanks mate! I’ve been obsessed with street art lately and I’ve spent the past few Saturdays hitting the streets of San Francisco with my camera, trying to capture as much street art as I can find. I hope to post a photo gallery of what I’ve found very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Oh, man…you’re killing me. This is great! I have got to make time to get back in. China Town is one of my favorite places for lunch at The Far East. Funky place we went to the first time we were ever in the City, and now it’s just tradition.
Hey Angeline … so what are you waiting for? (oh, I like that you referred to it as “the City” and not “San Fran” or “Frisco” — good on ya!)
OMG…just strike me dead if those other words ever come out of my mouth!
There’s a laundromat in Hayes Valley called “Don’t Call It Frisco.” Isn’t that awesome?
It looks like the parking meter was painted yellow to match the wall from the exact angle that you’re standing at!
Hey Drew … actually, here in SF parking meters with the yellow top indicate at 15-minute or less parking zone. Of course, the car that was blocking my direct shot of the Banksy had been parked there for at least 30 minutes, and the rude Chinese lady sitting in it did not appreciate me leaning against her precious Honda Accord and proceeded to tell me so in loud and boisterous terms … in Cantonese.
Did she call you a “gwai lo”? Hahahaha!
Still, look at the way the yellow lines up. It’s the perfect angle!
LOL!!! No she didn’t, but I have a very good Chinese friend here in SF who calls me that all the time (in jest, of course).
My God … I never noticed that perfect angle!!! Wow! How cool is that!?!
If you see the old lady again, call her “lang mui!”
I’m not sure what the exact translation is, but the context is something like “pretty wench”.
I’ll have to remember that one. Some of the older chinese ladies in this city (and there’s a lot of them) have no problem with pushing you right out of the way, especially at the market, or on the bus or subway. it’s kinda rude.
Hahah then I guess “sei por” would be more appropriate. I think it means “stupid woman” or something.
Awesome street art! Looking forward to the rest of your gallery Stephen!
Hi Madhu. Thanks. Hope to get that up and running soon.
I must have fallen hard on my head plenty of times in Lake Tahoe because I didn’t spot out any street art in San Francisco after snowboarding! hahaha. San Francisco is the one city I’ve had my eye on, to live even for just a year or two… Hope noone decides to install something over this Banksy piece before I get my camera lens on it!
Hi Antoinette … thanks for visiting. When I moved here (from Philadelphia), I said I’d give it two years. That was 22 years ago! This city has a magnetic quality that doesn’t let you go. It’s a real privilege to live here!
Someone mounted plexiglas over the Banksy, so I think it’s pretty safe. It should still be there, waiting for you to take some pics of it!
The plexiglas was a good idea 🙂 A terrific post!
Hi Paula, and thanks. I think I’m going to research this a little further … I’d love to know who put up the plexiglas. It certainly wasn’t the city, who would love nothing more than to paint over the whole damn wall!
I wonder why hasn’t anyone come up with the same idea here. We have some cool graffiti too, but most are just idiotic scrambling on historic builidings :(. I will come back to check out more 🙂
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