Quantcast

Street artist fnnch installs series of COVID-19-themed honey bear murals

Street artist fnnch has installed eight new honey bears around the Castro. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
By Steven Bracco - Published on April 09, 2020.

On their way to and from essential activities yesterday, Castro residents were greeted by some new neighbors: eight honey bears.

The bears are the work of anonymous street artist fnnch, who's painted them around the city for years. Now, the artist's talents are being used to brighten Castro businesses that are boarded up with plywood. 

"A boarded-up store is depressing," fnnch said in a statement. "I want to brighten people's days — these are tough times."

In keeping with the times, most of the bears wear masks; the two that don't are designed to look like bottles of hand soap. They can be found toting pizza, burritos, and a quarantine essential: wine.

Pride Bear, Soap Bear, Wine Bear and Pizza Bear. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Fnnch says the honey bear represents care, positivity, inclusiveness and community.

"I designed the Mask Bear and the Soap Bear as a response to COVID-19, but once I had the idea to put a mask on all of the bears, I knew I was onto something," the artist said.

They can be found at Knobs (432 Castro St.), Qbar (456 Castro St.), MudPuppy's (536 Castro St.), The Sausage Factory (517 Castro St.), Nizario's Pizza (4077 18th St.), The Mix (4086 18th St.), Moby Dick (4049 18th St.) and 4024 18th St.

"When possible, I try to put a bear on a storefront that is relevant to that business — Wine Bear on a wine bar, Pizza Bear on a pizzeria, Baker Bear on a bakery, and so forth," said fnnch.

Wine bear outside The Mix. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Many of the honey bears are depicted wearing the N95 mask worn by first responders, health care providers and citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Wearing a mask is about caring for others," said fnnch. "A mask won’t prevent you from getting sick, but if you are sick and don’t know it — contagious but not symptomatic — it can help prevent the infection from spreading."

"We are all in this together, and we need to get out of this together."

Pizza Bear, Soap Bear, Burrito Bear and Heart Bear. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

While fnnch hasn't been personally affected by COVID-19, the artist says that self-isolation has a mental toll.

"I am healthy, but I have been afflicted with what I call 'Coronavirus Blues,' a general malaise caused by stress and uncertainty," fnnch said. "If there has ever been a time for a bit of whimsy and positivity, now is it."

Heart Bear outside Moby Dick bar. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Residents of Pacific Heights should also be on the lookout for honey bears. According to fnnch, a new set was installed there this morning.

"I hope that someone sees a bear and feels just a bit better about their day," fnnch says, "or that they see a bear and feel a bit more connected to their community."

About 9 hours ago
San Francisco Mission

Mission's Alley Cat Bookstore & Gallery to reopen Thursday with 'new intentions' and varied vinyl collection

Among an increasingly long list of imminent reopenings, the Mission District’s beloved cultural space and bookstore, Alley Cat Bookstore & Gallery, is set to open its doors Thursday, October 29 — with a curated vinyl collection and “new intentions” for the independent bookstore. Read More

About 9 hours ago
San Francisco Parkside

Fight over Lowell High School admissions escalates with threatening video focused on two female school board members

Things turned from tense to creepy and frightening in the ongoing argument between the SF Board of Education and prospective parents, students, and others who are upset that Lowell High School is set to switch to lottery admissions in the 2021-2022 academic year. Late last week, two female board members, both women of color, were targeted by a threatening video featuring a hand in a bloody glove burning a piece of paper with their photos on it, both with Nazi symbols on their heads. Read More

About 10 hours ago
San Francisco SoMa Union Square

Westfield Centre’s cineplex Century Theatre set to reopen Friday

One San Francisco cineplex will reopen this weekend for the true movie theater experience, but with no concessions, small crowds, and of course masks required. Read More

About 14 hours ago
San Francisco Mission

Bender's to reopen after seven month closure

After a seven-month closure, beloved Mission dive bar Bender’s Bar and Grill is coming back to life. Its doors will swing open on Wednesday, October 28 at 2 p.m. for business, along with some notable changes to its set-up. Read More