Know Your Street Art: Seraph

Seraphix

Standing on a ladder in front of his new San Francisco mural, the Los Angeles artist Seraphix applies more paint to make the letters seem to breathe with fire. Located on the outside wall of a taqueria, the art looks like a web of intricately built-up lines – almost like stylistic architectural renderings that were influenced by, say, the millennium-old cultures of southern Mexico. Which is exactly what it is.

“It's definitely influenced through Mayan and Aztec hieroglyphics,” Seraphix says, “along with a lot of different elements, like sacred geometry, mathematics, calligraphy, graffiti. It's a futuristic infrastructure, mixed with the ancient. It's all freestyle.”

The wall's lower left side has a geometric piece by Abacus, a Bay Area artist who also did the stylized framing that surrounds Seraphix's work. On and off for nine months, Seraphix finished the mural by driving up to the Bay Area from Southern California. To save money, he slept in his car at times, storing the many paints he needed in the trunk. In the weeks between returning to the alley, the wall had a plea to potential taggers: “Please Respect. No tags on Mural. In Progress. Thanks.” In Los Angeles, the plea would probably have been ignored, Seraphix says. But in its Mission District spot, the work was left alone.

“I've always wanted to do something this big, with this scale in San Francisco,” says the 35-year-old Seraphix. “I haven't had one single tag. They've been showing me a lot of love in San Francisco. L.A. is just ruthless sometimes. It was once the No. 1 mural capital of the United States, but the murals have been buffed by the city. There's just a lot of negativity there.” Jonathan Curiel

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