Celebrating S.F.'s Active Lifestyle: Market Street Poster Series Features Work of New Yorker Artist Mark Ulriksen

Categories: Art, Interview

Courtesy of Mark Ulriksen
Mark Ulriksen has drawn some of The New Yorker's most memorable covers - including George Bush and Dick Cheney as a duo in the style of Brokeback Mountain, and Love the One You're With, which has people from opposing cultures kissing each other (and a dog smooching a cat). Ulriksen's works are always funny and/or provocative, but his New Yorker paintings appear irregularly. For those who can't get enough of his work, there is - for the next three months - the San Francisco Art Commission's Market Street bus kiosks, which are featuring six Ulriksen works that spotlight six different San Francisco neighborhoods and the different physical activities that occur there.

The posters are scheduled to go up any day, and the series gives Ulriksen - a San Francisco resident who once lived in Boston - a chance to celebrate the unique activities that give San Francisco some of its character. In one poster, older tai chi practitioners move their limbs in Washington Square Park. In another poster, three young women swirl hoops around their bodies in the Financial District. Ulriksen's series is titled Active San Francisco.

Courtesy of Mark Ulriksen
"I remember the first time I came to San Francisco, and I was looking at passengers on Muni and thinking, 'What differentiates them from their Boston counterparts, and I realized that they're healthier. We're in better shape," Ulriksen says. "There's much more ethnic diversity than there is in Boston, but we're in much better shape. We're physically more active."

So with his Market Street series, "I wanted to show the various ways that people are active in San Francisco - the various ages, from little kids on tricycles to grandparents doing tai chi. Different ethnicities. Different neighborhoods."

The San Francisco Art Commission's Market Street poster series features the work of a single Bay Area artist for four months. The previous four months showcased the work of San Francisco artist Sanaz Mazinani. Previous artists have included Paul Madonna ("All Over Coffee"), Elisheva Biernoff, and Ian Huebert. Ulriksen and Madonna are friends, and Ulriksen applied to be one of the select artists after seeing Madonna's work on Market Street in the summer of 2012. The application process takes many months, and a commission panel whittles the winners from a trove of applicants. Much to his delight, Ulriksen was picked. His six images span a whole day. Dawn is represented by the tai chi scene. Dusk is captured in a Critical Mass bike ride down Lombard Street. Ulriksen actually participated in a similar Critical Mass ride.

"You never know where the route is going to take you," he says, "and when everyone went down Lombard, and once you got to the bottom and looked up, it was almost mesmerizing - like waves in a sea, seeing all these riders just criss-crossing as they went down Lombard. I thought, 'That would make a fun painting some day.' "

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I have been to Mark Ulriksen's studio on a few Open Studios weekends. GREAT WORK. Love the colors and perspective of his paintings.

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