Local artist Sirron Norris, well known for his work on Fox network's Bob's Burgers, his murals around the city — particularly in Clarion Alley and around Dolores Park — and his community work with school-aged children and seniors, will open a pop-up studio/art gallery on November 16th through the end of the year.
The space, located at 3135 24th St., was donated to Norris by Compass Real Estate. It's currently for sale, but the company is allowing Norris to use it for free as a studio/gallery until the end of the year.
Norris said the space has been empty for a few years, and one of the project's intentions is to make it active and show people its possibilities.
While he doesn't typically show his art in galleries, he said he was blown away when he looked at the bright and open 2,500-square foot space.
"This is an opportunity not only for me but for the community," he said.
He said he feels that his collaboration with Compass is important for San Francisco, especially the Mission, where the real estate industry has a bad reputation.
"Everybody demonizes it. I've actually painted murals about gentrification and real estate companies," he said. "I just want to show people that if you have the opportunity to give back, there are artists out there that can take advantage of that and actually turn [vacant spaces] into something useful and powerful."
While Norris often does commissioned work to pay the bills, and while he mostly paints murals, he said he plans to use the studio/gallery space as a chance to make paintings, since the public hasn't been able to buy paintings from him for about 5 years.
"Everything that I do, I try to uplift people as much as possible with my success, so that's either by trying to uplift them by spirit or through my internship project or various things that I do with the community," he said.
Norris said he wants to give his three interns, two of whom come from a city-funded program with SF Unified School District, a new way to create and experience art, since they're used to painting murals on the side of the road, or in alleys.
He said he wants to encourage the community to come in to the gallery and take selfies, using the space as a stage for their own art.
"It's such a big space, so people can take pictures and get creative with it," he said.
He also plans to hold two free painting classes a week for the community at the space.
Norris said he plans to capture sections from some of his murals around the city, since they all have a deep history. He said he feels that by painting individual pieces from them, he can give them more of a narrative.
He said he definitely plans to expand on his popular Clarion Alley bear mural, which has stood for about 16 years, with numerous changes since he first painted it.
Norris explained that his bear paintings are a metaphor for love, because bears have a duality — they are perceived as cute teddy bears, or massive, deadly grizzly bears. Love, too, is beautiful and cuddly, but also horrible and deadly.
The gallery will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., days of the week TBD. Follow his instagram page for upcoming plans and updates.
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