Update: The San Francisco Examiner reports that the larger than life portrait comes by way of Argentinian artist Andres Iglesias, aka Cobre, who painted over a friend’s previous Market Street mural at his request.
August marked four years since the death of Oscar-winning actor and beloved San Francisco comedy icon Robin Williams.
Since then, many local tributes to Williams’ work and legacy have appeared around the Bay Area, including conferring his name on the rainbow-laced passage previously known as the the Waldo Tunnel and on a Golden Gate Park meadow.
Williams’ distinctive, rubber-faced visage is also a popular subject for street art, often appearing unexpectedly on the sides of San Francisco buildings.
Most recently, an anonymous close-up work manifested on the front of the former Hollywood Billiards building at 1036 Market Street. In progress for most of last week ,the new addition now appears finished, consisting of a startling tight focus of Williams’ soulful eyes, with Santa Claus-like whiskers peeping into the frame from below.
The image appears to be based on this dramatic photo of Williams by photographer Peter Hapak, which accompanied the late actor’s 2014 obituary in TIME, although the artist’s rendition makes Williams’ face appear even more weathered, emphasizing age lines and giving a rough-hewn quality to the nose and forehead not evident in the original.
No word on who the artist in this case actually is, although several images floating around Instagram and Twitter capture the author at work over the past week assessed by a blue scissor lift that was parked on Market between Sixth and Seventh Street for several days in a row.
Williams died August 11, 2014 at the age of 63. Mourners scattered his ashes into the San Francisco Bay 11 days later.
The medical examiner’s report eventually concluded that the cause of death was suicide. If you are feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). You can also visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline help.