Know Your Street Art

Next to this Howard Street address, construction workers are busy building a section of the new freeway off-ramp that will eventually take buses to the Transbay Transit Center. On a recent Saturday afternoon, passers-by were breaking out their smartphones to take images of the scene. They weren't enthralled by the rising metal and steel, but by the massive flying bat rising next to the off-ramp.

The latest San Francisco street art from the Austrian artist named Nychos, the bat is on the upper reaches of Mirus Gallery's South of Market building, and — like all of Nychos' recent work — is an X-ray vision of a creature in motion. With blood and bones on full display, the artwork is like a surreal version of the Bat Signal from the Batman TV series. This one is covered with painted bat fur, which represents a slightly new “translucent” technique for Nychos, whose previous works accentuated a creature's interior parts almost exclusively.

“It's a technique that I developed in the last year,” says Nychos, as he stands on a lift and takes a break from completing the bat. “It's based on spray paint fading, so I can paint the fur and skin on top of the skeleton. I'm excited about it.”

One of the world's most celebrated young street artists, Nychos painted a mutant rat at 41 Grove St, in a parking lot near the main San Francisco Public Library (next to a new and noteworthy work by the San Francisco artist named Apex). Already, passers-by are stopping to take photos of that work, too. With an X-rayed wolf that he put on Ashbury Street near Haight 15 months ago, Nychos now has three prominent San Francisco works — and counting. Nychos was also here in June, to attend a Castro Theatre screening of a documentary about him, The Deepest Depths of the Burrow.

“It does feel like home,” says Nychos of San Francisco. “I'll be here a lot in the next couple years.”

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