Friday, October 22, 2010

Upper Playground Fillmore

Sam Flores mural above Upper Playground's storefront.

Upper Playground interior

Upper Playground interior

Sam Flores display

Jeremy Fish sculpture

When I was a kid, I took a trip with my family to San Francisco to visit a friend of my parents. We walked the typical tourist attractions - Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, cable cars, etc. I had fun watching all the gold-sprayed dancers pop 'n lock for loose change. But the hills took their toll on a kid who hadn't hit puberty yet.

At the time, all I wanted to do was go to the comic store and buy X-Men cards. Instead, I ended up with a bunch of cheap tourist t-shirts. For a while, I rocked them at school. Then I wore them to bed before throwing them out. I didn't know any better, but I liked them for their distinctive, yet simple graphics.

Fifteen-some years later, I'm wearing Upper Playground t-shirts. And I finally made the pilgrimage to Fillmore. Distinctively San Franciscan, yet un-touristy, Upper Playground has been an advocate promoter of SF street art and subculture. Although it has strong brand recognition, I've always admired their ability to collaborate and support individual artists like San Flores, Jeremy Fish, Alex Pardee, David Choe, and more recently, James Jean.

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