Giants unite sports and street art with mural campaign

Artists BukueOne and Crayone collaborated on a mural in Lower Haight at Oak and Divisadero streets. PHOTO COURTESY OF MAGGIE ALDRICH/SAN FRANCISCO FOGHORN

In the heart of Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, the word “resilient” is projected in an orange gradient throughout the stands of the stadium. The word takes on multiple meanings, but in the Resilient SF installation, it marked the start of an art campaign to acknowledge the talent and resilience of the team, fans, and residents of the Bay Area. 

Tion Torrence, known professionally as BukueOne, is a Bay Area native graffiti artist and Resilient SF project ambassador in charge of gathering local artists from the community to spread murals across the city under the Giants organization. In addition to himself, Bukue chose four artists to design five distinct works to be muralled in the Mission District, Hunter’s Point, the South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood, and on Divisadero Street. Each artist carries a connection to their neighborhood, whether it be from their community work or their overall artistic style. 

Bukue and first-generation San Francisco graffiti artist and firefighter Rigel Juratovac, known professionally as Crayone, collaborated on a piece in Lower Haight located at Oak and Divisadero streets that includes a colorful San Francisco skyline, a Giants hitter, and orange letters that spell out “resilient” central to the wall. Vanessa Solari Espinoza, professionally known as Agana, and her portrait of local musician La Doña sit at 26th and Mission streets, where Agana’s roots lie. The plain black letters reflect the intensity of the singer’s image. 

Lost, self-proclaimed as the biggest Giants fan of the artists, sprayed the likeness of Bay Area native and Giants player Brandon Crawford half a block from Oracle Park at 3rd and Townsend streets. San Francisco State University graduate and present-day educator Kufue took to 3rd Street and Thomas Avenue, an area he’s performed community work in, to spray the Bay Bridge in an orange and pink sunset heart. 

“You think it’s about painting this masterpiece but really it’s about connecting with everybody, that’s the real fruitful part of this whole experience,” Espinoza said in a statement on the Giants official website.

The murals captured the attention of San Francisco residents, and the Giants organization decided to bring the campaign directly into Oracle Park. Their goal was to harness the energy already generated by the project into the stadium. This resulted in one mural split between the five artists, as well as sustained momentum to continue recognizing the projects through live performances showcasing the artist’s other creative talents. The latest event took place Sept. 10 as a pop-up with live music and entertainment to celebrate Bukue and Crayone’s mural on Divisadero Street. 

The five artists in the campaign split four quadrants for the final mural in Oracle Park. PHOTO COURTESY OF @BUKUEONE INSTAGRAM

“When I was painting this wall, it was nice to have fellow natives roll by and just have a conversation with [them],” Lost said on the Giants website. “A lot of people don’t remember the doughnut shop up the corner over here or how there used to be a lot of tents and homeless people down the way where there’s now a lot of apartment buildings.”

The Giants rolled out their campaign this season to “pay homage to the resilience of San Francisco through the pandemic but also just through the times of change and evolution of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area,” Torrence said.

“You look at the [Giants] team right now versus the Dodgers or the Yankees — teams that are star studded — Giants don’t build that way,” Torrence said. “You listen to sports radio, you hear Dodgers are in first place, Dodgers are winning this and you’re like no one gives the Giants love and that’s the perfect setup for a team to really rally around each other because there is no outer fanfare.”

In the height of the Giants’ success after winning two of three games against top team and rival Los Angeles Dodgers in early September and finding a top seat in the Major League Baseball (MLB) standings, resilience stands as a resemblance of change for a transformed team, as well as a symbol of the hard front-line workers and communities off the field and in the city of San Francisco.  

“Sports is art, sports is a microcosm of life. The level of resilience, determination, overcoming failure, teamwork, humility, reinventing yourself, adjusting, adapting. [The] Giants are woven into the fabric of the Bay so there’s so many lessons, rides, triumphs and failures that you can really take from just being a part of the ride of living vicariously through these athletes, their failures, their struggles, their injuries and all that,” Torrence said.   The murals can be found on the Giants website through an interactive map that pinpoints each approximate location on Google Maps. Although each artist completed their piece within the campaign, the mission and legacy of Resilient SF will reach beyond each project as the title travels with the Giants team in their progress through the remainder of the season.

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