If you stand at the corner of Natoma and Mary streets and look up, you'll see a series of old brick buildings that have been there for decades. You'll also see a work of art that's a cascade of everything from stars in the heavens to floating acorns. At the center is a kind of goddess who, while overseeing the cosmos around her, holds “life crystals” in her right hand.
“We really wanted to mirror the idea of an earth goddess,” says Max Ehrman, who did the work and had the artist named Strider Patton do the goddess figure. “It's a celebration of earth, life, and the mother. It's how we envision the world all being intertwined.”
The work, which went up in early February, replaced an Ehrman collaboration that featured a series of masked heads — done by the Oakland artist Nina Wright — resembling those of Mexican wrestlers. Ehrman, a San Francisco artist who also goes by the name Eon75, plans to eventually replace the new work with another mural. “I like,” he says, “to keep it fresh.”
For now, the work is in a prime location — perched above a parking lot in an area that gets a good amount of foot and car traffic. Real estate developers are eying the buildings all along Natoma, so the clear views could change dramatically. The art at 444 Natoma perches over the building of 442 Natoma, where inside is a business that runs sex parties for men. They loved Wright's masked figures for the way they resembled sex masks. They also liked Ehrman's colorful shadow and drip pattern. Ehrman's work is stylish and engaging — what some would call the opposite of graffiti. But tagging and creating large letters is how Ehrman started in street art.
“The way I got into my weird, abstract style is I would do letters, and they got so wild-style that I couldn't even read them,” says Ehrman, who has both a bachelors and a masters degree in architecture. “I thought to myself, 'Why am I even adhering to this letter structure?' That's when I started having fun.”