Untitled, 2002

Location

This piece is the leftmost mural in the alley on the side of 341 California Ave.

Untitled - Christopher Johanson

About the Artwork

This brightly-colored mural features a pattern of abstract shapes radiating from the center. To the left of the main painting, text from a smaller cartoon style painting with uplifting commentary about how to care for one’s self and community drift across the border and into the former’s electric blue background.

About the Artist

Christopher Johanson is a Portland-based painter and street artist best known for his cartoon-style and graffiti art. He was born in San Jose in 1968 and had no formal artistic training, but he started out by painting on skateboards and drawing in his youth. When he moved to San Francisco’s Mission District in 1989, he became a part of a group of artists known collectively as the Mission School. These artists, sometimes grouped with the “lowbrow art” or “pop surrealist” movement of the 1970s, aimed to create often humorous social commentary through street art with roots in subversive comics and the punk music scene. Johanson’s work tends to use simple, geometric elements in a unique style that resembles comic strips and children’s artwork. He gained notoriety from his site-specific installation featured at the 2002 Whitney Biennial, and he has had solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Deitch Projects in New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Video

  • Painting with Chris Johanson | KQED Arts