When the San Francisco Arts Commission tapped Jeremy Fish to ink 100 drawings in roughly 100 days to commemorate the 100th anniversary of City Hall, the unconventional choice raised some eyebrows.
Fish, a fine-art painter who has shown internationally, is celebrated locally for his animal-inspired skateboard designs and streetwear brand SuperFishal, with trademark skulls and bunnies on T-shirts, caps and prints. He's created album art and starred in videos for hip-hop artist Aesop Rock. And his eight-foot, 600-pound sculpture Silly Punk Bunny was an icon of the Lower Haight before it was destroyed by a tractor in a mock funeral in 2013.
So why was a three-month residency at City Hall intriguing for the self-described “apolitical artist”? For starters, Fish tells KQED Arts, gaining a larger, more mainstream audience. But he also saw it as an opportunity to raise awareness for what he considers an underappreciated 100-year-old local landmark and the fifth-largest dome structure in the world.
“The conversation I’m wanting to generate with my artwork isn’t really with the gallerist, collector or museum curator,” says Fish. “I'm much more attracted to a T-shirt on a guy on a street that causes a conversation. And this is that tenfold.”
Fish’s body of work in O Glorious City, on view at City Hall until March 25, 2016, includes playful illustrations of California’s state bird, former mayor Willie Brown and the hall’s architect Arthur Brown Jr., all wearing the iconic dome on their heads.