After a two hour drive, running one red light and nearly hitting a pedestrian my colleagues and I arrived in San Francisco for a work convention. Standard operations, if you ask me. The hotel was one of those older hotel where the rooms are a quarter of the size you expect. The Marriott in New Orleans is like this. It had two twin beds, no gym, no frig and a toilet that never fully stopped running despite the, “We save water and are eco friendly” signs littered everywhere. Of course, there was a time I wouldn’t of even noticed any of this.
When you are young, everything is magical and new. The city of San Francisco has always had its hooks in this small town girl. For my first trip to S.F. I was only 18 years old. My childhood friend Gordon and I went to a jazz concert at the famous Yoshi’s in Oakland. On our way into the city we accidently turned the wrong way...down a one way street, full of embarrassment as we buried our heads in a paper map to hide our shame. We weren’t carded at Yoshi’s and ordered Apple Martinis because that’s only thing we recognized on the menu. On our way out of the city? We spent all our cash on $14 drinks and couldn’t pay the toll for the Bay Bridge… ooops!
Our hotel was downtown in the financial district near Market and Fourth. The small room, the ironic signs of being green with an obvious lack of, “greeness.” is the perfect example of San Franciscan hypocrisy. I’m somehow always am drawn to the hypocritic ‘Ivory Towers’ of life. Whether it’s indiginate city dwellers, academic postulations or of course, anything having to do with the art world. I love its irony, its culture and most of all the art; even when urinals and polka dots sell for millions. Maybe I love it because it’s so different from what I grew up with or maybe I crave the bustle of the city, it invigorates my artistic ambition and reactivates my deep rooted relationship with the arts. Living in a small town or city, there is often a cultural void and you learn to work with what you have.
After settling in, I decided to go for a run; according to google the Ferry Building was only a mile away. Goal: two miles out, two miles in. The Ferry Building is always a must-see when I’m in the city. Though, this time I only ran past it. Weaving in and out of masses walking along the Bay, I caught a glimpse of Coit Tower. More wistful memories of the brights lights and Christmas charm of Union Square in winter, fluttered past. I always thought I’d end up settling in the city. Somewhere along my running path, down Mission towards the water was a Tender Greens restaurant. Tender Greens is the successful chain restaurant that kicked off my career. I’ve watched my mentors grow a multi-million dollar company in the course of 10 years, almost exactly how they said they would.
I heard through grapevine there have been growing pains with the company becoming evermore corporate. I experienced them personally. As I ran past, I wondered whatever happened to the artwork I brokered for them which later didn’t fit within their storewide re-brand? I guess at some point every successful company must standardize to grow. Either way it’s another reminder of how involved I’ve been in the art world. Something I’ve started to lose since moving to the Sierras.
Four miles and some major shin splints later, inspiration did not escape me. “I want to write again,” I think to myself, “I need to write again.”
The next couple days I would wax nostalgia, purposely wandering past the famed Gagosian and Berggren Galleries. I caught myself in a conversation with strangers who were coming back from burning man, suggesting they check-out the Minnesota Street Project (I’ve been dying to go myself.) I regaled them with stories about the SFMOMA closure and how great it is that San Francisco now has its own art fairs. A beautiful Cuban woman with enchanting long black hair, the cutest embroidered crop top, paired with your typical burning man hippy skirt and grey cowboy boots asked with a puzzled look, “Are you an artist?” We had started our conversation about Miami Art Basel. “No,” I shyly responded with a little smile, “Just an art enthusiast.”