The Bayview is rich in street art that's political, historical, and altogether radical. And then there's Shawn Bullen's All You See Is Beauty, a frolicking work that went up in November at the corner of Oakdale Avenue and Third Street, one of the Bayview's busiest intersections. In Bullen's painting, a giant bird emerges from a house, while two people sit on a roof and watch a passenger train emerging from the structure's other side. Other people and animals crowd into a scene that's drawn in the playful style of a graphic novel.
Bullen, 25, briefly lived in the Bayview, and was commissioned to do the work by SF Art Everywhere, a project that seeks to beautify the area. All You See Is Beauty references the Bayview in subtle but important ways. The bird is emblematic of the hummingbirds and blue jays that live in this corridor of southeast San Francisco. The work is peopled by faces that cover the gamut of the human condition.
“It's a collage of different ideas, with a glimpse of experiences that I had in the neighborhood,” says Bullen. “I was trying to capture anywhere from one idea to a bit of a story in one sequence of images. It's like a comic strip.”
And in the strip's center is the word that Bullen chose to anchor his creation: “Beauty.” It's done in stylish cursive, with the letter “y” connecting to a giant eye that looks at passersby and anyone who stops to see All You See Is Beauty. Every day, thousands of people pass by the work, whether they're riding by on Muni or walking down Third Street.
Those who stop to see the art's finer details will notice Bullen's tag: Stikyidc. “It's just a name for my artistic identity, in order not to use my original name,” says Bullen, who's from Chicago and moved to the Bay Area last year. Bullen's work in the Bayview has helped kickstart his artistic emergence in San Francisco — he says he's about to do four new projects around the city. JC