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Street artist pays tribute to Tenderloin with finished brain mural

It’s a think piece

Four weeks ago, anonymous, New England-based street artist Believe In People (BiP to his fans), was still putting the finishing touches on his 70-foot-tall golden mural on the side of the Tenderloin’s Hotel Alise.

As neighbors have no doubt noticed, he’s finished now, with the final piece visible in a pair of recently uploaded drone videos, including one on the artist’s Instagram feed.

BiP always appears in public anonymously, disguised by his painter’s outfit, and generally declines interviews (his producer and representative Michael Atto tells Curbed SF he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself at the expense of the work), communicating with fans primarily via social media.

But it’s clear that he does want a rapport with San Francisco and the neighborhoods in which he creates; hence the footage of the Tenderloin in all of its glory, from trash can fires to frolicking babies to wheelchair dogs.

A post shared by BiP (@bip_graffiti) on

It’s quality stuff, but this quieter, 30-second long drone clip of the finished project, sans musical interlude, gives us a better image of the Tenderloin at its best of times: a brief, placid, meditative moment floating above Geary Street.

From up here the noise of the traffic seems a mere hum, the hiss of a 38-line bus sounds gratifying (maybe it was even on time today?), and the half-glimpsed figure of a pigeon buzzing past the drone cam suggests that we’re entering an aerial sphere of San Francisco living not quite like life down on the ground.

A post shared by Katrina Weibel (@katdelasur) on

And, of course, there’s BiP and his towering golden brain garden. “Everything I want to be in life is the memory of every person who showed me love in a brutally fragile world,” he said of the finished work via social media.

The artist is about to depart on a two-month South American tour, but his producer, Michael Atto, says he’ll be back in the fall to embark on an even larger and more ambitious Bay Area piece.