Safety First & Break Free
Serge Gay Jr.
2390 Market St. San Francisco (intersection of Market and Castro)
Project overview: Safety First
For decades, San Francisco has played a role as a safe space for freedom of self-expression and to inspire movements. This mural will greet all who traverse the iconic intersection of Castro and Market streets with a welcoming message “Greetings from the Castro.” The overall look and feel of the mural is reminiscent of a classic colorized California postcard series depicting the new normal. Splashed across each of the framed scenes are COVID-19 appropriate messages:
-A glamor shot that displays the placement of a facemask, insinuating masks are sexy, and encouraging proper wearing/fitting with a caption, “Mask up, nose down, that’s how we get around!”
-A scene featuring lesbians and gays toasting with beverages from a distance including messages on maintaining social distancing like, “Saving lives six feet at a time,” and “Together we stand, six feet apart.”
-A community activist using a megaphone includes the messages, “In masks we trust,” and “Out of the bars, into the streets rock your mask and stay six feet apart,” and “We’re here, we’re queer, serving it masked all year!”
-A scene leveraging the look from Rosie the Riveter, but proudly displaying a bandage from a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and including the messages, “Give yourself a fighting chance,” and “Train your front-line immune systems today!”
-Images of hand sanitizer and soap encouraging proper hygiene etiquette with the messages, “Clean up that mess with 20 seconds, not less,” and “Don’t be feckless, don’t be reckless, wash your hands in 20 seconds!
Project overview: Break Free
In Gay’s second mural, Break Free, located on Post and Larkin, text “Get Vaccinated & Break Free” is written across the top of the mural on Post Street. Below this text is an trans woman of color in water, setting wild parrots free. The birds are called cherry-headed conures and are associated with San Francisco. They can be seen flying freely around from the Ferry Building as far as Mission Dolores. The mural is about breaking free of being boxed-in. It is meant to inspire people to get vaccinated, which will provide a sense of safety, freedom, and not being trapped anymore.
About the Artist
Serge Gay Jr. is a Grammy-nominated illustrator/fine artist and graphic designer currently based out of San Francisco. Born in Port-au-Price, Haiti, and a third-generation artist, he has lived in cities from coast to coast. Influence in his work can be found from the cultures of his homeland, New York, Miami and Detroit. He received his BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and then relocated to the Bay Area. His experience spans a broad range of engagements including graphic design, art directing, gallery exhibitions, event art, and murals. Additionally, Serge is a freelance visual art director working with film and video production design teams in Los Angeles.
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