Know Your Street Art: Lynnea Holland-Weiss’ Food Truck

3861 24th St. (by Vicksburg Street)

Art by Lynnea Holland-Weiss_Photo by Lylia Baylin

Instead of museums or galleries, some of the world’s most vibrant art is on the sides of vans and trucks. One example: Pakistan’s truck industry, which features artwork — both painting and sculpture — that is dense and colorful, and covers virtually every inch of some vehicles, even the wheel rims. The United States has its own genre of art cars, with “food truck art” a rapidly growing genre. A good example is Lynnea Holland-Weiss’ art on the side of a Bay Area food truck that visits Noe Valley’s farmers market on Saturday mornings. 

The untitled painting is peopled with faces that Holland-Weiss saw on a day out at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Also in the 2016 painting are made-up faces, and even the face of Holland-Weiss herself. She based the work on a drawing.

“I spent all day at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and tried to draw every single person that I saw in that sitting,” she tells SF Weekly. “I knew a couple of the people that I saw in that original drawing, but most are just random people passing by that I only saw for a brief moment. And some are entirely figments of my imagination. I believe a self-portrait made itself somewhere in the crowd as well.”

“Crowd” is the operative word. The people in Holland-Weiss’ work are crowded in, with some even huddling together in the same sweater. The faces and colors seem like they’re from a fantastical storybook or a Marc Chagall painting — which is to say that Holland-Weiss’ painting is like a dreamscape. She infuses her art with an intense interest (and study) of dance and movement. Body proximities, and the way people relate to each other and their own limbs, is a consideration for Holland-Weiss, who has widely exhibited and has a BFA in painting from the California College of the Arts.

“In general, I am fascinated by what we are both overtly and subtly communicating with our bodies,” she says. “I have always been hyper-aware of people’s body language and often take special notice to even the most common and seemingly insignificant interactions happening around us every day.”

Holland-Weiss’ partner, the artist Dan Bortz, painted the art truck’s other side. They got the commission at a time when Bortz worked for Hidden Star Orchards doing farmers’ markets — and Hidden Star’s farmers wanted their food truck’s walls to be something more than bland.

The couple spend much of their time in Cleveland, where they have what Holland-Weiss, an Oakland native, calls a “dream studio space.” So she’s taken her dreamscapes to another state. There are lots of mobile eateries in Cleveland — but not nearly as many as there are in the Bay Area, which is a food-truck capital of America, and the only capital so far with a painting that features Holland-Weiss’ overlapping people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

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