As its name implies, Hotel des Arts is a place that emphasizes art and accommodation, but the paintings in the hotel's rooms aren't classical works — they're on the level of fantastical street art. In March, the hotel invited a well-regarded Mexican street artist named Curiot to paint its outside, western wall, and the result is equally fantastical: a large mythological creature that has brown fur and a masked face with a nose that resembles a strange elephant snout. Smaller beasts accompany the creature. Influenced by traditional Mexican art, folklore, handicrafts, and even anthropology museums, Curiot's work explores the intersection between man and nature.
With Down the Rabbit Hole, “I wanted the beasts to be the physical form of the spirit of nature, so I tried to make them a powerful, vibrant, organic, mix of textures, entities that would be a bit more universal that anyone could relate to,” Curiot tells SF Weekly.
Curiot, whose given name is Favio Martinez and was born in Mexico but grew up in Southern California, says his art “half explores the blurred boundaries of what's real and what's not. I find it interesting to dive into this virtual world and no longer have any terrestrial constraints, where anything is possible.”
Curiot's painting of Down the Rabbit Hole coincided with a March exhibit of his work at FFDG in the Mission. That exhibit, “Down the Rabbit Hole with Neon Lights,” introduced more Bay Area artgoers to the Curiot's work. So did the painting of Down the Rabbit Hole, when Curiot stood on a big blue lift above Kearny Street and attracted the attention of passers-by, who looked up and stood for minutes to watch him paint. Many took photos.
“People,” he says, “seemed to have enjoyed it, which is always a good thing.”