SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The newest addition to the San Francisco skyline is a work of art — a mural depicting Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, designed to draw attention to climate change.
Andres “Cobre” Petreselli, an internationally renowned artist, is painting the activist teen with big blue eyes and a Mona Lisa smile.
The mural is still a work in progress, as Cobre is spending his days hoisted high up on a platform about 10 stories above Mason street, on the side of the Native Sons building near Union Square.
Thunberg is the 16-year old from Sweden who has inspired young people all over the world to take to the streets and let older people know they want climate change to be taken seriously.
“What I want from people is to realize have to do something for the world,” Cobre said. “Otherwise, it’s going to be the beginning of our extinction.”
Cobre says his paintings often provoke strong reactions. He painted the Robin Williams mural on Market Street that has recently been demolished to make way for some high rise apartments. But this work of art , he said, is different.
“This one is more political, because I want them to think about it,” he said. “What’s the message behind it? Maybe to create conversation with friends: ‘Have you seen the mural of Greta? What is it about? Climate change.’”
Cobre is donating his time for the cause. The environmental nonprofit One Atmosphere is buying the paint.
“You hit people with public art and it hits them in the heart,” said Paul Scott, executive director of One Atmosphere, who said he hopes people will be inspired not just to gawk at the stunning mural, but to act.
“When people pass by, I’m sure they will be struck by the image and I hope that will help open their hearts and their minds to the remarkable conviction in Greta’s words,” Scott said. “Her voice is about truth and sacrifice in a time where lies and selfishness seem to be the rule. Hopefully where she leads, others will follow.”
The Greta Thunberg mural is expected to be completed by early next week. Scott said he is hoping a band will come forward and put on a concert for the unveiling.
The event would be held at August Hall in the same building and would go a long way toward paying the rest of the expenses of the mural, as well as other public art projects, Scott said.