Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Arts & Culture
Published on August 23, 2019
BiP to install fifth Bay Area 'megamural' on new Mid-Market buildingPhotos: Carrie Sisto/Hoodline

San Francisco is getting a fifth "megamural" from artist Believe in People (BiP), on the exterior of a new building in Mid-Market.

Painting on Atlas Property’s new building at 22 Franklin St. (at Market) has already started, and is expected to last about four months, with BiP painting nearly every day, his producer, Michael Atto, told us. 

Atto declined to divulge information about the mural's design or content, but it currently appears to depict a child's face, with the message "What is public art, and does it really [unreadable text]? If not, can we steal it back?"

BiP stays anonymous by wearing a full-body white suit and mask while painting.

BiP and Atto received assistance in placing the "megamural" from local developer and philanthropist Sia Tahbazof. Tahbazof and BiP are co-funding the project, to the tune of about $85,000. 

In an Instagram post, BiP, who conceals his identity by painting in a white suit and mask, says that the sale of his paintings and sculptures has brought in more than $260,000 over the last two years.

“I promised myself if I ever found myself in this position, I would be a good force in the art world and use my earnings to finance public projects that don’t usually happen without corporate branding,” he wrote.

"[We're] producing a giant painting for you. Without corporate branding. Without design limitations."

BiP at work at 22 Franklin St.

The chosen wall fronts an empty lot, and through discussions with Tahbazof and SF Planning, BiP learned that a new building is likely to be constructed on the site, blocking the view of the mural. 

“I don't need it to last forever,” BiP wrote to his Instagram followers. “I just want to hit you with something really ground-breaking for the time it can exist.” 

Bay Area company Swing Stage Systems is also contributing to the project, providing the rigs needed to reach the mural. Maximize Video is helping document the project, and BiP is using Montana Colors spray paint, as he has for most of his Bay Area murals. 

The work is a homecoming for the San Francisco-based artist, who spent most of the past two years painting abroad in Russia, Spain, Colombia, France, Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Brazil, according to Atto. 

Hailing from New Haven, Conn., BiP left his hometown in 2014, and installed his first mural in the Bay Area in 2015. 

BiP's first San Francisco mural, "Self-Consuming Dave," in the Tenderloin. | Photo: BiP Graffiti

Other BiP murals grace Hostelling International’s San Francisco City Center Hostel Building in the Tenderloin, and a SoMa building adjacent to the Westfield Mall. In Oakland, BiP pulled together a local crew to depict a local elderly woman enjoying a heavy metal album on the wall of 1600 Broadway (at 17th Street).

His last work in San Francisco was in 2017, on the Hotel Alise in Union Square

BiP's SoMa mural "No Ceiling," in progress in 2017. | Photo: Elaine Gavin/Hoodline

“We are very happy to be in the financial position to give this type of work to city residents," Atto said. "[We] look forward to making positive contributions to SF for decades to come."