[maxgallery name=”sf-open-studios-giorgio-landa”]A contemporary international city could not exist without human engineering. The concrete bones of a skyscraper, electrons flowing through power lines, and the software that guides public transportation all rely on the prowess of human engineering. But what about engineering’s antithetic brother, art? Can a city survive without the influence of art – or at least in a significantly diminished role? San Francisco, a city traditionally considered to be a bastion of art, faces a similar question as its culture of art, especially in grassroots form, is under siege by surging costs of living and increased commercial rents. A demographic shift is unfolding as rich technology companies and their bands of engineers march up the peninsula and lay claim to the city’s housing and office spaces. Rising rents, fostered from increased demand and premium bids, have made the economic climate increasingly hostile to struggling musicians, painters, and writers – a group that once brought liberal activism and counterculture to the city’s past.
Annual city events, such as SF Open Studios, help support these local artists by providing them a means to showcase their work to a large audience. During one of SF Open Studios’ recent weekend events, I visited artist Giorgio Landa at his home, where he showcased a cornucopia of paintings and prints wrapped around the walls of his garage. Artworks both small and large were on display catering to a crowd much less pretentious than what you would find in brick and mortar art galleries. Supporting artists such as Giorgio, not only helps promote art but also keeps the grassroots spirit, a defining aspect of San Franciscan way of life, vibrant and healthy.