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Anonymous street artist paints giant golden brains in Tenderloin

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Now there’s something you don’t see every day

[Update: BiP’s representative Michael Atto notes that the current piece is not quite finished yet and will also include the roots of the glistening gilded plant “to show the indivisibility of society.”

Atto also notes that public response and interest from building owners has widened the scope of BiP’s “mega murals” project. Originally imagined as five pieces (of which this would be the fourth), they now hope to create as many as “10 or 15” on Bay Area building sides.

Atto says the next work will be the largest yet, but was mum on details beyond that.]

Almost everyone who wanders into the Tenderloin thinks the same thing: “Sure, it’s a great neighborhood, but it really could use some 70-foot tall brain flowers painted gold on the side of one of these buildings.”

Enter anonymous New England-based street artist Believe In People, who just polished off his latest work on the side of the Hotel Alise’s top seven floors at 580 Geary Street.

It’s a work of towering genius, or at the very least an outsize exhibition of brainpower. To get some idea of the scale of this cerebral showpiece, note the presence of the artist himself in BiP’s Instagram photo of the finished work, just a small blob in the lower right.

A post shared by BiP (@bip_graffiti) on

Intentionally anonymous, BiP conceals his appearance with a mask and full-body smock while working. Apparently people are catching on to who he is anyway, at least according to the artist’s own account of putting the final touches on this new Tenderloin tour de force:

Yesterday I saw a homeless person shouting to his friends, “Guys come here it's that Blip guy, Blip is back! Hi Blip!" And then they were waving and he was doing some kind of celebration dance. [...] That's the kind of art I want to make. You can call me Blip, I don't even mind.

Most stories about being yelled at by strangers in the Tenderloin don’t go nearly that smoothly, so it seems BiP’s work is tapping into the sunnier side of the neighborhood.

BiP first caught the public eye some seven years ago by painting mysterious guerrilla-style portraits on the side of New England buildings in the dead of night and signing the works “Believe In People,” or just BiP for short.

This is the artist’s third “mega mural” in San Francisco in two years and second in the Tenderloin. Back in February BiP finished up a spraypaint showpiece on the side of a downtown Denny’s, and in 2015 created an opulent oddity titled Self-Consuming Dave at Larkin and Eddy.