Juxtaposition of artworks at “Special Delivery Bay Area,” a street art extravaganza in west Berkeley.
Take an abandoned 36,000 sq ft former ink factory with giant circular holes punched in the ceilings and views through rusty metal-framed windows of a steel plant, a freeway and San Francisco Bay. Add the building’s owner, who has a penchant for art and an openness to big ideas. Mix in a collection of one-word names like Swampy, GATS, and Yoder, that belong to artists, many of whom are local and several of whom are highly regarded in the street-art world. What do you get? One of the most exciting shows the Bay Area has seen for a long while.
“Special Delivery Bay Area 2012,” the third graffiti mural exhibition organized by Bay Area street art blog and zine Endless Canvas, made its grassroots debut on Sept. 8 when, despite the fact that the exact location of the show was not revealed until the eleventh hour, an estimated 5,000 people showed up to west Berkeley’s Carbon Warehouse in the old Flint Ink building at 1350 Fourth Street to soak up the wall-to-wall art. Many did so again on the afternoon of Sunday Sept. 23 — young and old, families with young kids, photographers, and the merely intrigued.
Every inch of the old Flint Ink building on Fourth Street has been used as a canvas for murals.
The vacant building, long a haunt for graffiti artists, belongs to Alan Varela, President of construction company ProVen Management, who sits on the board of the Oakland Museum of California, and who intends to convert the space into offices. But, before he does, he has helped to bring a unique experience to Berkeley.
The good news is “Special Delivery” will not be forgotten once the contractors begin their work. According to Endless Canvas, after the building has been refurbished, a selection of artists will be invited back to install permanent murals on its interior walls. And the current art has been documented by a photographer, a short film has been made of the exhibition, and a book is in the works.
There are three stories worth of art in a variety of styles at the show, orchestrated by Bay Area’s Endless Canvas.
The show is scheduled to be open to the public again on Sunday Sept. 30, from noon to 6pm. Details can be found on the Special Delivery website.