Best Enigmatic Art Window San Francisco 2005 -
3589 20th St. (at Valencia), 642-2844
Large brass letters embedded in the sidewalk spell out "LOUIS BAKIN." It isn't clear why, but then, if you're standing near the southeast corner of 20th and Valencia streets, there's at least one other thing that at first glance makes no sense: A large plate-glass window gives way to a carefully constructed and fantastically odd scene. It may be an underwater wonderland made of glitter and pirate's booty surrounded by sheets and sheets of wavering blue transparency, or maybe it's a dreamscape incorporating parts of a child's bedroom suspended at odd angles. It may simply be a large-scale charcoal figure drawing. Whatever it is, it's the brainchild of decorator Johnny Ramirez, whose studio sits behind the window. (He's also the man responsible for the festive interior of the nearby La Rondalla restaurant.) Upon closer inspection, the window does have a marker; a miniature sign announces the artist's name and contact information. But to most passers-by, who peer in only long enough to let confused grins light up their mugs, Ramirez's window is happily mysterious.