Valentine's Day is on the way, and The Loin is getting ready with a love-themed art show opening in the Tenderloin tonight.
From 6-11pm, the combination t-shirt shop and art gallery at 914 Larkin St. is launching the second installment of the group art show 'VD in the TL,' featuring the work of 20-30 locals from the Tenderloin and a few other San Francisco neighborhoods. All of the pieces, from silk screens to paintings and drawings, will be available for purchase.
"People who come and check it out will see a huge range of pieces, some dealing specifically with love in the TL, some about the concept of love in general and how the artist interprets it, be that very sincere, humorous, sarcastic, or creepy," said Jarred Hand, a co-owner of The Loin. "It'll be a full spectrum."
"It's not all hearts and love, there's some despair, weirdness and vice, too," his business partner Jeffrey Bruton added.
Many of The Loin's exhibiting artists got involved through personal interactions with Bruton and Hand over the years. "They meet Jarred at the store, or come to one of our events, or more often through friends of friends and past participating artists. We're lucky to have great friends and fans," said Bruton.
Liane Carter's "The Birds and The Bees" will be on sale tomorrow at The Loin.
One artist, Simone DaSilva, is now on her second year participating in the exhibition. She's contributing five mixed media pieces based on memory, curiosity, passion, and connection to the show. "That's pretty much across the board for everything I do. I am drawn to the day-to-day connection a person makes to their environment," she said.
DaSilva is no stranger to the Tenderloin: she lived and worked in the neighborhood, and was resident artist at Space Gallery in Lower Polk for several years. Although she hasn't moved far from her roots (she now resides in SoMa), she says the Tenderloin is a place she always comes back to.
Artist Simone DaSilva
For DaSilva and many other artists, the owners of The Loin have helped them find one another and become active in the community. "I really believe in the artist community that Jeff has set up in the Tenderloin, and so pretty much any project where he brings a community of artists together, I'm always down to participate in," she said.
While DaSilva recognizes that the neighborhood is changing, she takes the bad with the good and has seen firsthand how recent developments are bringing opportunities for other local artists to set up shop and add value to an already vibrant neighborhood. "I felt, when I moved to San Francisco, the city itself didn't have much of a community, but I found that in the Tenderloin through friends, and its hub of local merchants and retail spaces," she said.
Hand echoed that sentiment: "When The Loin started back in 2004, one of the first shirts we made, which is still in print, is the 'I Heart TL'. It's a play on the New York tourist favorite but with the colors reversed, red lettering with a black heart, acknowledging many people's love/hate relationship with the the TL."
"It can get pretty gnarly here sometimes, but I'd say it's easily the most culturally and artistically diverse community in the city," Hand said, "and that inspires a lot of love from its residents."