We had decided to go out for a little classic alternative music in the form of a Laurie Anderson concert at SFJazz in San Francisco. After a delightful pre-concert dinner at Sauce, we wandered over to the SFJazz venue. People were milling about in the lobby while waiting for the doors to open but I dragged Chuck upstairs for the views from the second floor. I wasn’t excited about showing him what could be seen out the second floor windows nor did I want to be first in line when the doors opened to hear Laurie, but rather I really wanted to show him the views running down the entry wall to the concert hall.
Installed floor-to-ceiling are the tile murals, hand-painted by the artists – Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet – that capture the venues and the musicians that made jazz great over the years. There are two murals on display there to the public called “Jazz and the Nation” and “Jazz in the City”. As I understand it, the artists laid out a field of blank ceramic tiles and then went to work hand-painting the blue underglaze images across the squares. They strategically used a few accents of red and yellow but, otherwise, the murals are completely in the blue and white ‘azulejo’ style found throughout Spain and Portugal and they are magnificent! Every time I see them, I am inspired to go home and try my hand at doing something similar but, alas, I don’t have a concert hall wall to put them on when I finish!
A third mural, “Jazz and the Afterlife”, is in a back-stage room generally only accessible to the artists performing on site. I had the pleasure of seeing that mural a few years back before SFJazz opened to the public. So, unless you were there ahead of time or you are an artist on the SFJazz performance schedule, the only way I know to see the third mural is to visit the SFJazz website. Here are a couple of photos I captured when I had the pleasure of being there previously.
We thoroughly enjoyed the concert. But, I must admit, it always thrills me just as much to play my version of “Where’s Waldo?” as I explore the details in those jazzy murals. You just never know when or where a little creative inspiration is going to present itself. Maybe this time I’ll get to work my own hand-painted tile mural before the next time we venture into SFJazz.