(credit: Brian Barneclo)
Citing the best artists in San Francisco is an impossible task. With incredible diversity and a wealth of talents working in varied mediums and art forms, it is impossible and a disservice to choose just one artist in a category or one talent over another. Read on for highlights of the best local artist talent in and around San Francisco.
If you ever taken Caltrain to a San Francisco Giants game you may have seen San Francisco artist Brian Barneclo’s work (photo above). His work is reminiscent of the 60’s Beat Generation with a flare of Hip Hop, rock and jazz. His style has been described as modern, street, folk, cubist and pop elements. This native of Indianapolis studied fine art at Indiana University. Barneclo made his way to the West Coast in 1996, specifically in the Mission District of San Francisco where he worked as a sign painter. In 2004, Barneclo was commissioned to design the SF Bay Guardian’s 30th Anniversary Best of the Bay Mural. 2011 catapulted Brian into the limelight when he designed “Systems,” a 600 foot tall mural, located at the back wall of the Crescent Cove Apartments. The massive mural faces the incoming and outbound Caltrains. Barneclo lives in San Francisco and has been commissioned by companies like Facebook, Spotify, Google, Levi’s and Adobe, just to name a few.
The Artists Guild of San Francisco (AGSF) offers a fantastic way for artists to get out of the studio and interact with the art-loving public. Founded in 1961 by an alliance of urban artists eager to showcase their work independently in outdoor locales around the city, the non-profit artist-run organization is notable for sponsoring weekend art exhibitions in city parks and open sites, allowing guild artist members to interact with the public viewing their artwork, giving a face and voice to the artwork. The Artists Guild code forbids any commercial reproductions of artwork as it enforces the ethos of artists creating personal art that is true to the unique passion and authenticity of each artist. Check the Artist Guild of San Francisco website for introductions to its artists members who are vetted for creating gallery quality work, among other details.
Skilled photographers flourish in San Francisco, a city celebrated for its artistic vibe and creative vision. Within the multitude of talent in the city, a few top art photographers stand apart from the others. Richard Misrach, based in nearby Berkeley in the East Bay, is internationally known as one of the most prominent and influential American photographers of his generation; he is credited with introducing color to fine art photography in the ‘70s, and he is distinguished for his continual and evolving landscape work for more than 40 years. Misrach’s series documenting the impact man-made factors such as industrialization, urban sprawl, tourism, nuclear weapons and more have had on the environment and his portrayals of deserts of the American west have made Misrach one of the century’s most celebrated photographers.
26 Seventh St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
To find the best dancers in San Francisco, step into the wonderful Alonzo King Lines Dance Center, open to the public and offering professional dance classes and workshops for adults taught by some of the best Bay Area professional dancers and choreographers. The center’s beautiful, professionally equipped dance studios accommodate a full range of dance classes at all levels, from beginner to advanced. The professional dance teachers, each acclaimed internationally, prove again the talent, dedication and skill inherent in San Francisco’s art community. Dancer-teachers include notables such as, but not limited to: Virginia Iglesias, a renowned Flamenco dancer, creative choreographer, and master teacher; Charles Torres, a ballet master and coach who, as a principal dancer and guest artist at numerous ballets nationally and internationally, is a respected co-artistic director and teacher; and Clint Calimlim, who teaches hip hop, is a brilliant and versatile dancer, performer and teacher around the Bay Area.
San Francisco Poet Laureate 2016
A local author and poet, Alejandro Murguía was the 6th San Francisco Poet Laureate from 2012 – 2015 and the first Latino poet to hold that honor. Murguía’s connection to San Francisco’s Mission district is strong, and in fact, he is best known for his poems and short stories about the neighborhood. Murguía presented the 2013 Flor Y Canto Youth Poetry Festival and the 2015 Flor Y Canto Literary Festival, bringing poets from around the world to San Francisco for Mission District poetry readings and events. A California native, Murguía’s award winning books Southern Front and This War Called Love, and non-fiction book The Medicine of Memory, all highlight richly detailed elements of Chicano-Latino life and family memories in California and San Francisco. Alejandro Murguía is currently a professor in Latina Latino Studies at San Francisco State University.
50 Oak St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
The music scene is huge throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and everything musical is at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. This professional school provides an extraordinary music education to prepare some of the most talented and ambitious musicians in the country. To that end, a phenomenal faculty of musical talent is a must, and such musicians and singers are at the heart of the Conservatory. Many of the faculty musicians and singers are internationally acclaimed and currently perform locally and beyond, such as brass player Miles Anderson, guitar virtuoso Sérgio Assad and San Francisco Symphony concertmaster and violinist Alexander Barantschik, among others.