In 2000 Wilson co-organized the performance/protest series Art Strikes Back in response to the unprecedented and unrestricted level of gentrification and displacement in San Francisco during the "dotcom boom." In 2003 she curated and co-organized the international exchange and residency Sama-sama/Together, a collaboration between community arts organizations and artists from San Francisco (USA) and Yogyakarta (Indonesia) designed to foster understanding of Muslim and non-Muslim cultures following 9/11. From 2004 – 2008 she transformed her 1,600 sq. ft. living space into an installation that explored and challenged the meanings of “home” and “homelessness” through her project Home 1996-2008. Wilson is a co-organizer of the Clarion Alley Mural Project and one of the organizers of CAPITALISM IS OVER! If You Want It, an ongoing movement of interruptions/actions by artists from around the world in response to the need for a fundamental shift in our approach to Capitalism and the negative impact it has on the environment, health, and wellbeing of all.
Wilson received her BFA from the University of Oregon and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art (S.F.), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Southern Exposure, Intersection for the Arts, The Luggage Store, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Sun Valley Center for the Arts (ID), thirtyninehotel (Honolulu, HI), Green Papaya (Manila), Print It! (Barcelona), and LIP (Yogyakarta). She has created public projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tokyo, Japan; Yogyakarta & Bali, Indonesia; Jaipur, India, and Manila Philippines. Wilson is a recipient of grant awards from the Gunk Foundation, Artadia, the Asian Cultural Council, the Ford Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the San Francisco Art Commission. Wilson’s work is included in FRESH 1: Cutting Edge Illustrations in 3D and FRESH 2: Cutting Edge Illustrations in Public edited by Slanted; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 75 Years of Looking Forward, edited by Janet Bishop, Corey Keller, Sarah Roberts; Street Art San Francisco Mission Muralismo, edited by Annice Jacoby; Mural Art: Murals on Huge Public Surfaces Around the World by Kirakoss Iosifidis; Illustration: Play - Craving for the Extraordinary, Published by Victionary; Sama-sama/Together: An International Exchange Project Between Yogyakarta and San Francisco, Published by Jam Karet; and The Gallery at Villa Montalvo: Selected Exhibitions from 1996-2000, edited by Theres Rohan.
My current work addresses the need for a fundamental shift from free-market Capitalism that puts profit before all else and negatively impacts the environment, health, and wellbeing of all (see my Points to Consider on the State of Free Market Capitalism). We’re all active and/or passive participants in Capitalism. However, it’s not helpful to approach the existing system from a place of polarity - either you live completely off the grid or you’re a Capitalist. I’m interested in creative forms of engagement for provoking deeper considerations of these issues. Influences include philosopher and activist Dr. Cornel West, environmentalist Vandana Shiva, cultural critic and historian Thomas Frank, journalist and social activist Dorothy Day, economist, Raj Patel, social activist Naomi Klein, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, economist Richard D. Wolff, and economist Robert Reich.
Additionally, I’ve been a practitioner of Buddhism and Vipassana meditation since 2003. Both are closely tied to my art practice. I often create art that is conceptually rooted in elements of these practices and that is intentionally ephemeral or that I give away. Much of my work is no longer in existence because it was never meant to be permanent - forcing the viewer/consumer, as well as myself, to let go of any expectations of its monetary worth. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate or create work that’s collectible and/or consumer-based; I do create and appreciate such work. However, it is integral to my practice to challenge myself in ways that are always pushing me to evolve, including the creation of work that's impermanent or gifted.
What is the project about? „Street Messages“ is the first book, that will present the world-wide scene of artists, who exclusively work with texts, poems or slogans in public space. It will show the history of the written word in public space since the beginning of mankind and it’s importance until today. Since the beginning of the history of mankind, human-beings have written or painted their living environment or thoughts on walls. Whether it had been ancient cave-paintings, where mostly animals have been depicted or the giant reliefs by the Mayans or Egyptians, where whole stories are being told. Political campaigns have written their slogans on walls throughout the whole history and called for resistance or criticised deficits in society. Today huge billboards with advertising and empty messages are dominating the image of our streets, but there are many artists who leave their personal, philosophical, lyrical or political texts. Whole cities decorate their facades with poems and political organisations use the methods of graffiti and the advertising industry to spread their messages to a wider audience. The book “Street Messages” will be released by Dokument Press from Sweden at the end of 2014 (most likely in spring 2015) and will be accompanied by a website or a facebook-page to continue to publish the communication in public space even after the release of the book. The website will give an opportunity to present current works in the internet and the book will be the root for it. For this reason, we are already asking for your kind support today to fully realise the project without any borders. “Street Messages“ is the first book that portrays artists from all around the world, who work with texts in the streets. By nature, artists from countries with a long graffiti tradition will be highlighted, but the light also goes to countries that have been partly neglected during the graffiti boom. Countries such as Bangladesh, Singapore, Nepal or Israel will find their place as well as countries like Lebanon, Egypt or Yemen where graffiti and written messages play an important role in the resistance against the suppressive regimes. Nicholas is an author, who is putting his heart, love and full attention into each of his projects to realise a deep presentation that is preferred by him. For this reason we kindly ask for you support to help realising this project in all it’s depth. - See more at: http://www.sponsume.com/project/street-messages-book#sthash.69L1VZlk.dpuf
What is the aim?
The aim of the project is to finalise the book with almost 150 to 200 pages. The research for the book is almost finished and the representatives of this art-form have been contacted and they already sent in a good amount of images and material. Currently Nicholas is negotiating with different publishers for the release of the book. The layout and the writing of the texts will start in January 2014. After a successful funding of the project, author and photographer Nicholas will go on the necessary research-travels from March 2014 onwards to gather the last material with his camera and to interview the remaining artists and people. After his return, the book will be designed and finalised.
Why should you support this project? Currently there is no book, that is presenting the written word in public space in such depth. No other book is portraying the representatives and historic backgrounds in such an extend. “Street Messages” will be the first book about graffiti and street art that documents the artistic story of mankind. Countless archaeological findings that date back to 40,000 BC give a clear proof that mankind has always painted and written on walls and in public space. With this background, the book is laying the basis for an evidence of the historic importance of this phenomenon, that today is known under the terms graffiti and street art. _________________________________________________________
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Clarion Alley Mural Project's 15th Annual Block Party!!! October 26th, 2013
11am - 10pm
Clarion Alley (between Mission & Valencia Streets and 17th & 18th Streets), San Francisco
Great Bands, Video Projections, Performances, and as always ... Surprises!
New Murals by: Erin Amelia Ruch & Mike Reger, Shaghayegh Cyrous & CK1, Jet Martinez, Megan Wilson, Mats Stromberg, Ronin, Crystal Hermann, Erin Feller, Uzma Malik, Jose V. Guerra Awe, Jeff Roysdon, DNO & BEMS, and Pablo Fonseca de Pinho.
The Coalition on Homelessness is pleased to invite you to Art Auction 13, featuring the artwork of over a hundred Bay Area artists and a live jazz set by Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. There will be complimentary food by Eshana Singh and an open beer and wine bar. Also, live tortilla screen printing by the Great Tortilla Conspiracy and exciting raffle prizes from local businesses.
The Coalition on Homelessness Art Auction has been happening for over 10 years with great success. The Coalition on Homelessness is a grassroots social justice organization dedicated to the elimination of homelessness and its social, political and economic causes. Through a grassroots, peer-based organizing and advocacy model, our homeless and poor members have been able to effect some of the most notable changes in the history of San Francisco homeless policy. Our bottom-up organizing model ensures the voices of some of the most disenfranchised San Franciscans lead the fight against homelessness.
Viva La Tamale Lady! mural in progress, Jet Martinez, Megan Wilson, Roisin Isner, Nick Hedlund, Clarion Alley, SF, 2013 Viva La Tamale Lady! Clarion Alley Mural Project Clarion Alley, San Francsico, CA
Collaboration between Megan Wilson, Roisin Isner, Jet Martinez, and Nick Hedlund in support of Virginia Ramos (AKA the Tamale Lady) and her IndyGoGo campaign to raise money to open liscenced kitchen to sell her tamales.
Virginia Ramos is better known to the people of San Francisco as the beloved Tamale Lady. In early 90s Virginia realized that her day job as a domestic worker cleaning houses was not earning enough money to send her 7 children to college. Virginia learned to make Tamales from her Grandmother when she was growing up in Mexico – so to make extra money she began cooking tamales in her kitchen after her house cleaning work was done. During the evening she would fill an insulated cooler with her delicious tamales and travel from bar to bar selling a hot home cooked meals to hungry folks all over San Francisco. Virginia is often referred to as an angel, a saint, or our Lady of the Tamales not just because she seems to miraculously appear when nightlife patrons need something to eat the most – but because she is known for her hugs, a shoulder to cry on, and her role as a surrogate grandmother to the people of the Mission – in fact she often wears a t-shirt that says “I don’t know you but I love you”. Recently some of the bars Virginia works out of have been told they cannot allow her to sell tamales because she isn’t permitted. Virginia, who just turned 60 this year, has stopped selling tamales to the community she loves.
Big Changes Ahead:
After meeting with Supervisor Campos and other City departments and with pro bono help from Barbary Coast Consulting, Virginia has decided that it’s time to take her business to the next level! The Tamale Lady is proud to announce that she will be opening up a brick and mortar “Tamale Lady” restaurant in The Mission. And she needs our help!
How We Can Help!
Because Virginia has been saving money for the last 20 years she will be able to pay for the majority of the Tamale store. Supervisor Campos is helping her find a vacant store front but she will need $150,000 to help build out a commercial kitchen in her new restaurant. If everyone in San Francisco who has eaten one of Virginia’s tamales donates what they are able we will help Virginia’s dream come true!
TAX THE RICHis part of my ongoing work in support of the need for a fundamental shift from free-market capitalism to a new way of being that’s rooted in compassion, generosity, and true equality for all beings. The current model puts profit before all else and is literally destroying the environment, health, and wellbeing of the planet and all its inhabitants. As Dr. Cornel West has noted: “We’re living in a society where everybody is up for sale. Everything is up for sale.” Integrity has become a rare anomaly in our contemporary culture.
TAX THE RICH was painted on San Francisco’s Clarion Alley in July/August 2013 during the 2013 America’s Cuphosted in San Francisco and sponsored by Louis Vuitton, each an emblem of wealth and excess. Capitalizing on this convergence of affluence, I used the classic Louis Vuitton brown as the background, the highly recognizable SF Giants colors for the text, and added Louis Vuitton artist/designer Takashi Murakami’s floral smiley faces to my own iconic flowers.
In addition to my artwork, I alsoconsult for many organizations, providing non-profit management, development, and planning consultation. This work ranges from strategic planning and organizational development to grant writing and research.
In 2012/13 I worked with the Roxie Theater to complete their first ever organizational audit and 3-year Strategic Plan since becoming a 501 (c) 3 non-profit in 2009. The process was a great opportunity to reflect on the theater's history as the oldest continuously-running cinema in the United States, and the challenges and successes over the past four years during its transition from a for-profit business model to a non-profit community-based organization. As a result, the documents help provide a blueprint for supporting the Roxie's critical role as a cultural anchor institution in the Bay Area, and beyond.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 7:30pm
Free and open to the public
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA
The Roxie is the oldest continuously running theater in the United States and the second oldest in the world, opening at its current location in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1909. With film screenings and events 364 days per year, the Roxie promotes and preserves experimental art cinema, repertory movies, unusual foreign films, and other rare and daring gems. In 2008 the Roxie became a nonprofit organization, committed to remaining a critical and historical center for film, culture, and contemporary practices in the direct community and beyond. Discussing the Roxie’s work is Christopher Statton, Executive Director; Mike Keegan, Director of Programming; Catie Roads Redhouse, Filmmaker and Membership Director; and Megan Wilson, Artist and Non-profit Development & Management.