Artist Mark Bode has created scores of large murals, but this particular time was a little different; beginning with irate alley dwellers and ending with a full on catholic blessing. Mark Bode gives us an exclusive recount of what happened here:
My father Vaughn was a very religious person and he made me very aware of the prophets that have come and gone at a very early age, so I never saw Jesus as the only heavy in the heavy hitter business of religion¦ “He was merely another prophet that had a sight into other worlds which most do not, my father would often explain.
But, When Dan Plasma, a local graff artist, contacted Mike Giant and myself to create murals on the walls of a church in the lower Mission District of San Francisco. I said “OF COURSE!”
I showed up on 15th and Valencia to paint the back-side of the church on a street called Caladonia alley way. It was not a high point of my artistic career, in fact quite the opposite. We had to fight away angry drug addled homeless people who used the alley as a public bathroom and a shooting den. One lady (if you could call her that) took a piss uphill from where we kept our pain cans. We yelled out “No LADY! NOT THERE!”
“This is my Fuckin’ alley FUCKERS!” she replied and continued pissing anyway. We had to scramble off our ladders to move our paint before her river (of urine) hit it. This encounter, and the dirty syringes, made me paint all the quicker. I just wanted out of there, get my pix and leave.
On the second day the mural was nearing completion, and as I was finishing the Jesus figure, I heard a voice pleading in Spanish from below me. I thought I was being pan handled, but when I looked over my shoulder I saw a woman praying to the mural and crying. She then said in english “I walk this alley everyday and the most horrible things happen here and He has come to make it better here I pray oh I pray.” Tearing up, I realized the mural has an agenda beyond my short stay there. There will be magic to be done by the spray canned icon of Jesus when i leave. It was humbling and worth painting in those horrible conditions¦ I would love to paint the inside of a church next time, ill strongly consider the location if I am to paint outside of one again though..”
“A few weeks later Dan and Mike Giant and I were invited to a blessing by the attendees of the church and the procession was led into the alley where the priest blessed the mural. Giant and Plasma and I were very out of our element, but we were glad people were so thankful in any case.) Not the normal day for Low Browers like us..”
¦ the mural has brought people and tourists to photograph the mural and it has, for the moment, made Caledonia a better place. All the attention of photographersand visitors have moved the druggies else where..