Jeremy Fish’s solo show “Yesterdays and Tomorrows” at San Francisco’s FFDG has a carefully planned installation. Black lines on the gallery’s left wall outline a cartoon thought bubble that houses almost 20 years worth of drawings; on the parallel wall of the narrow space, mural-scale paintings hang inside the hollow outlines of cartoon bunnies painted directly on the room’s surface. But at the opening night of “Yesterdays and Tomorrows,” it was difficult to even get close enough to see these meticulous details. A huge crowd had amassed to celebrate an informal retrospective of one of San Francisco’s most well-known artists from the past two decades.
Spanning from the early aughts to today, Fish’s tiled drawings chronicle the evolution of his imagination. Though too geometric and precise to be called studies or sketches, the pieces, grouped together, transmit a sense of the artist’s personality in the same way as a sketchbook filled with private doodles. There are nods to things Fish is known for: his involvement with skateboarding culture and the hip-hop world, his heavy tattoos, his iconic beard. Through his jovial drawings of animals, Fish tells the story of a weirdo counterculture: a fairytale with a touch of punk rock. A celebration of the artist’s past and a hopeful look into the future, “Yesterdays and Tomorrows” marks Jeremy Fish’s 20 years as a San Francisco resident. And despite the controversy surrounding the City’s changing cultural climate and rising rents, he’s not going anywhere yet.