Travel Diary: San Francisco Day 5 - Mission District & Clarion Alley Murals Super Post

January 23, 2016 (continued): My mission (no pun intended) was to make it out to the artsy Mission District for my last day in San Francisco. In the morning, I caught the BART and headed over there. Emerging from the station, I definitely felt the shift in the type of environment than where I spent most of my time in SF. I wanted to try breakfast in that area since I’ve heard of a lot of good, new, restaurants that opened up. Walking around, I immediately saw that it wasn’t going to be an easy feat getting in for a quick bite anywhere, I couldn’t even fit the whole line in the picture!

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I was going to post a huge long rant about my less than stellar experience at Mission Beach Cafe for breakfast, but I’d rather not tarnish this post while there is the awesomeness of the murals coming up. Lets just say that while researching their site for this post, a disclaimer on Yelp popped up that said that this restaurant is in the bottom 5% sanitation wise. That pretty much encapsulated my time there, and it looks like they haven't really improved since I was there a year ago!

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Following my breakfast it left a pretty bad taste literally and figuratively, but it was washed away when I stopped by the Clarion Alley Murals. It was an explosion of color, intricately painted murals, political messages, and a few <ahem> interesting sculptures. The following super post were all taken on my iPhone, I didn't want to lug around my big camera so apologies for the quality.

Also found in the alley, it looked like a musician wasn’t too happy with his latest songwriting attempts perhaps?

After spending the majority of my time in the alley, I explored more of the district and visited a few shops I had heard about including The Pirate Store. It is what the name suggests, selling pirate / fantasy themed items, but it also had a lot of cool, interactive elements like a mini museum where you pull the rope and something comes down or you can look in the drawers for different specimens etc.

There were many more murals dotted around the district, a green lady, plus those multi-colored Victorian houses that’s so iconic to San Francisco that I love so much. I loved that even their tree grate had a Dia De Los Muertos theme.

Visiting the Mission District was definitely an experience, and was a fusion of new and old coming together in an eclectic mix. If you’re artistically inclined, I do recommend stopping by, as there is a lot to absorb creatively in many forms.

I headed back to downtown to grab my things and ventured to the airport to my final leg of the tour, LA. At the SFO airport was a stunning sunset that emerged after the rain and it was the perfect bittersweet goodbye to one of my new favorite cities.

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Secret Message: Morse Code Design

I had a little inspiration for a new design project that incorporated my love for typography, but using it in an unconventional form. I came up with a visual morse code design that you could express an inside joke to yourself or to someone else. Each letter is represented by the dot or dash combination to create the word. Now those who know morse code could potentially read it, but wouldn't necessarily think of it in visual form at first, hence the secrecy of it all. 

When the words are repeated, it creates an amazing visual melody, great for a pattern with a hidden message. Check out my initial offerings below, in the form of "Love" and "Savage" (in the urban dictionary sense). They are available in a singular, minimalist word version and in a repetitive pattern on all sorts of art prints, apparel and homeware items in my Society6 shop.

Visual Music

My taste in music runs the gamut depending on my mood - from old school gangster hip hop, to metal, to ethereal ambient sounds and pretty much everything in between. Lately, my play button has been worn out by music of the electronic persuasion. 

One insomnia fueled night, I went down a YouTube rabbit hole of suggested videos, and it ended in discovering arresting (new to me) electronic/indie artists both musically and visually. 

First up is Lorn, an American electronic musician who initially signed with the label that represented Flying Lotus. Talk about being in good company! I like the juxtaposition of aggressive dance moves coupled with the quite haunting track, which I guess goes well with the theme of the car accident. This video also had a bit of critical acclaim to it, winning the UK MVA award for Best Dance Video.

On the suggested list on the side of the previous video, I happened upon this band, Concorde. They are a "indie post punk pop" band hailing from Paris. The visuals actually lured me in first and I was so distracted by the great storytelling like many in the comments stated below, that I didn't really hear the music the first time around. 

From a great monochrome animation to another great monochrome animation, this time, it's from Rone, a French electronic artist. Here's where the music syncs perfectly with its visuals, to me I interpret it as the basis from where all religions sprang to the Big Bang and beyond. What do you think it means?

3.2 Million Dots

Hero from Miguel Endara on Vimeo.

Patience - something Miquel Endara has plenty of! He endearingly illustrated a humorous photocopied portrait of his father's face with 3.2 million dots. No it's not a typo - every inch of that portrait is a stippled! My jaw is on the ground... just sayin'.

Another incredible illustrator you have to see Chan Hwee Chong!

via This is Colossal images link back to sources

Holidays are a comin!

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Just wanted to share my little Christmas card I just whipped up today. Trying to be better organized this year! Excuse the messy glittering (a wee bit embarrased to put these on here but I'm too tired to take new photos) - having these photos blow the card up 20,000% you can see ALL the dirty details that my glasses wearing eyes could not! But I do say I didn't do too shabby for 7 hand glittered cards designed and assembled by me done within a full day's work - booyah! These will be put in the hands of my relatives - hence the "made with love" on the back, I'll wait while you gag yourself with a spoon ;P It was really fun and theraputic to create something with my hands again - even though I forgot how much glitter will get E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!