North Beach has deep counterculture roots. So maybe it's not surprising that an underground gallery and community art space dedicated to punk rock recently opened in a quiet alley off Grant Avenue. You won’t find a mosh pit at Fallout SF. But you might get an earful of your favorite punk band as you make your way down the steps leading to the venue’s fittingly dark basement location. And you’ll definitely find plenty of irreverent, thought-provoking creations from more than 30 punk and underground artists.
“Lots of people asked why we weren’t in the Mission or SOMA, but being in an underground space in North Beach is perfect for what we’re doing,” says Farida Mazlan, an art curator who runs Fallout SF with her partner, artist Craig Vincent. “It’s super intellectual and has such a rich art and counterculture history. We’re honored to be here.”
Fallout SF co-founders Farida Mazlan and Craig Vincent. | Photo Credit: Dorothy O'Donnell
Fallout SF evolved from Destroy Art, the international punk art management agency and online store the duo formed in 2020. Just before the pandemic lockdown, they'd held a successful exhibit featuring work by 25 artists, including Vincent and their friend, the well-known surreal collagist Winston Smith.
“We had 250 pieces of art in a tiny venue in the Castro,” Mazlan tells Hoodline. “It was really great—more than 700 people came. One week later, COVID hit. And I was like ‘what are we going to do with all this artwork?’”
They decided to move everything to an online platform, and Destroy Art was born. The opportunity to extend their efforts to support emerging and established underground artists with a physical venue also grew out of the pandemic. And from their friendship with Smith. He was the previous tenant of the space where Fallout SF now resides, using it as a studio and gallery for 13 years. When COVID struck, he decided to leave the city and move to Mendocino. So he offered the place to Mazlan and Vincent.
“We wanted to transform it into a community space where we could hold exhibitions and other events to support the local arts,” explains Mazlan. “We want it to be a platform for musicians and artists that don’t really have a lot of representation in the city in terms of their style of art.”
Smith is among the artists featured at Fallout SF. In addition to being a collagist, he’s also a respected punk designer who’s worked with the likes of the Dead Kennedys and Green Day.
Collagist and punk artist Winston Smith's "Federal Deserve" series. | Photo Credit: Dorothy O'Donnell
“We’ve been fans of Winston for many, many years,” Mazlan says. “He’s such an influential artist. And we’re so happy he’s given us this space."
Fallout SF’s rotating exhibits also include guest artists such as legendary photographer Alison Braun whose black and white images capture the raw energy of Southern California’s early punk scene. Braun’s photos of punk royalty like Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Joey Ramone (The Ramones) and Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) are on display until August 14.
Punk photographer Alison Braun's work. | Photo Credit: Dorothy O'Donnell
“We’re looking to have different types of events here like fashion shows, book signings, and film screenings,” notes Mazlan. “We want to be inclusive and are open to all kinds of weird stuff.”
What, exactly, does she mean by “weird stuff?” Think a dark-themed puppet show. Or a girl who spews fake blood while performing with her band. And then there’s that artist who wants to create a chandelier made of human bones.
Local artists currently rocking the walls of the gallery include Cliff Glitch, Girl Mobb, Sick Pleasure, Somatic Sulfer, and Still Hear. In addition to art, Fallout SF sells band tees, studded leather moto jackets, and other punk apparel.
Some of the punk art you can currently see and buy at Fallout SF. | Photo Credit: Dorothy O'Donnell
Fallout SF also hosts a collection of artist-designed clothing and prints by Destroy Art’s sister project, All Power 2 the People (AP2TP). Inspired by the community-centered ideologies of the original Black Panther Party, proceeds from sales of these items benefit the legacy work of the Black Panther Party Alumni Legacy Network (BPPALN). Destroy Art encourages its artists to create work that supports important social causes.
Fallout SF is located at 50-A Bannam Place. Hours are 1-8 p.m., Friday through Sunday.