Three new murals have popped up in the Castro, SoMa, and Polk Gulch nabes courtesy of drag queen extraordinaire Juanita MORE!
As part of the month-long celebration of Pride, MORE! commissioned three artists—Elliott C. Nathan, J. Manuel Carmona, and Serge Gay, Jr.—to design Pride-themed works and paint them around the city. You can find them on 18th Street side of Unionmade in the Castro; on the western wall of Lush Lounge in Polk Gulch; and on the Folsom Street–facing wall of the Powerhouse. Cliff's Variety in the Castro underwrote the cost of materials for the artists.
The murals serve many purposes: to celebrate Pride in specific locations in SF important to LGBT persons; to beautify the walls with murals (a long stroytelling tradition here); and to raise awareness for MORE!'s annual Pride Party, which raises much-needed dollars for charitable organizations that have strong ties to the gay community. This year's recipients are The Q Foundation (formerly the AIDS Housing Alliance) and the LGBT Asylum Project.
"Loads of Love" by Elliott C. Nathan @ Power House
"It was awesome getting the opportunity to paint a historic gay bar in San Francisco. Years ago, when I went to the Powerhouse for tequila shots to kick off my first Folsom Street Fair, I would never have imagined I'd one day get to paint a giant mural on the front of the building. I met a lot of interesting people that wanted to help or would just come and start telling me things. There was one person who walked up and started talking to me in a sort of monologue while I painted. It felt surreal. He spoke about the importance of art on the soul, following passions as a means to a fulfilled life. It was very uplifting, and then he just wandered away," said Nathan.
"Queen Bee & Little Prince" by Serge Gay, Jr. @ Lush Lounge
A celebration of color and Juanita More's dog, Jackson, Gay's mural can be spotted on the alley wall of Lush Lounge in Polk Gulch.
"Juanita MORE! Pride 2017" by J Manuel Carmona @ Unionmade
"I drew inspiration from political propaganda from the 1940s and our current political climate. We wanted to make a very political statement. The mural portrays Juanita More! in an elegant pose that conveys strength—almost military like—depicting her as a leader and protector for the LGBTQ community. It is also a tribute to the creator of the rainbow flag, Gilbert Baker, and to all who fought for LGBTQ rights throughout the city's history, " says the 30-year-old Carmona, seen here assessing his work.
// For more information on the mural project and Juanita's Pride party, visit juanitamore.com. Plus, join 7x7 and Juanita MORE! to celebrate The Art of Pride at a special event at Blackbird on June 21st; RSVP at eventbrite.com.
"Juanita invited me to come up with a mural design around her signature line 'loads of love.''" recalls Elliott C. Nathan, pictured here. You can see Nathan at work in this short video.