When local street artist fnnch explains that San Francisco is not a city highly supportive of its art culture, he is preaching to the figurative choir.
While there’s plenty of personality, natural beauty, and charisma San Francisco possesses, the outright appreciation of art is not nearly as forceful as it in other cities like Los Angeles or New York. Often dubbed “The Banksy of San Francisco,” fnnch has been working to bolster the street art scene in our city for years, doing so in bright and often whimsical ways that give San Franciscans pause during their daily commutes or weekend wanderings.
The honey bears that he is perhaps first and foremost known for today, admittedly didn’t seem all that special to fnnch at the beginning.
“Painting them made me happy, and they received a much stronger reaction that I ever would have imagined,” he said.
By initially painting the honey bears on mailboxes, he wanted to prove something creative and interesting could be done with mundane objects that are seen everyday. The legality (or lack thereof) of the act of street art, particularly on government-owned objects such as mailboxes, added an edge to his work and sparked a conversation. Who could ever look at an innocent honey bear and think of it as an act of public defamation? In the eyes of the law, however, that is exactly what it is.
“If the thing you’re looking at is technically illegal, but it brings you joy and isn’t hurting anyone, you want it to stay,” fnnch explained. “That conundrum inspires thought in a sense. It’s deeper than that; it’s about changing the way people feel about art in their public space, and view their public space as a whole.”