The Fog Lovers Club: Jeremy Fish Celebrates 25 Years in SF @ Hashimoto Contemporary
For fans of fog and Jeremy Fish, it's time to stop by Hashimoto Contemporary to see the acclaimed San Francisco-based artist's new solo show. Celebrating his 25th year in the city, The Fog Lovers Club comprises an expansive new body of work embracing the dynamism that was and is San Francisco.
Filled with new paintings, drawings and customized skateboard decks, The Fog Lovers Club is a down home portrait of the City by the Bay, each piece paying tribute to the iconic people and places that create the city’s history and amid the fairy dust of fog that blankets the rolling hills. From historical figures like Lillie Coit and Emperor Norton to more contemporary characters like Jake Phelps and the artist himself, the new paintings applaud the eccentric cast who have loved San Francisco and made it a mecca.
Jeremy Fish offers an insider's view of his beloved city with affectionate pragmatism. At the heart of The Fog Lovers Club is a deep love and appreciation for the city, the communities that have helped build it and the history and possibility around each corner.
Dasha Matsuura: Can you give us a brief history of a Fish in SF?
Jeremy Fish: I moved here 25 years ago to attend SFAI. I worked in the skateboard industry in SF for nearly ten years after art school, and that was my last full-time job. I make my living here in North Beach, balancing gallery and museum opportunities with various illustration projects. I am very fortunate and grateful to live in this neighborhood and this city doing what I love every day.
A big driving force behind the show has been "No complaining!" The work is an honest portrait of the city always in transition, both painful and positive, how did it feel to reflect on The City and your 25 years while making these pieces?
In the 25 years I have lived here in San Francisco, I witnessed the most dramatic financial leap in a quarter-century since the gold rush. Currently in our beloved city by the Bay, it is super easy and common to complain about the situation here during this intense transition. After some massive personal changes last year, my friends and I have been very focused on trying to be more positive, and spread more of a positive attitude among our fellow San Franciscans. The Fog Lovers Club is a legion of dedicated lovers of our city who try to remind the folks around them to love where they live. (or leave!)
Each piece is a portrait of the city incorporating historical figures and architecture. Can you tell us about some of the stories behind each?
These works were inspired by historic figures, landmarks, and epic San Franciscans from my experience here. This collection of "Fog Lovers Club members" is an attempt to remind all of us to use that long list of things we truly love about our city, to uplift us, and help us to stay positive when the weight of our city's dramatic change is getting us down. Cooling us down when we get hot and pissed off, like Karl the fog does every afternoon.
We've talked a lot about the history of the city and I always learn something new about this place I've called home for over a decade. What are some of your favorite historical anecdotes that aren't incorporated into the show?
I drew some inspiration from our city's history of hating on itself. These days people frequently throw hate on the Salesforce building and techies. Historically, people hated and publicly protested The Trans America Building, Coit and Sutro Towers, while similarly hating the surge of beatniks and hippies moving here. The tradition of hating the next generation of change is not new here.
Are you drawn to history of places in general or San Francisco in particular because you love her?
I wasn't born here; instead, I worked and fought to still be here drawing pictures for a living. I have spent most of my life here in these city streets, and it is a huge piece of my heart and soul. My interest in SF history only sprouted and grew when I moved to North Beach, surrounded by historic locations, cultural legends, and the ghosts of the Barbary Coast. Like when you fall deeply in love, and you want to immerse yourself in every facet of that person/place. It is the longest and most significant relationship of my life, and I do truly love her.
Community and putting out positivity and camaraderie emanates from you, and your conversation revolves around the city giving back what you've put into it. Can you tell us a few stories of the city taking care of you?
Gratitude and positivity can go a long way in the most expensive city in the country. I live an unbelievable quality of life here in San Francisco, and it truly stems from giving back to my community as much as possible with my artwork, local projects, and shows. Cooperating with restaurants, bars, civic groups, and retail stores in my city has been one of the best investments of time, energy, artwork thus far in my career. Before complaining, giving up, moving away, and speaking badly about SF like an ex-lover, try giving back to your community, and cooperating with the folks you spend your time hating on.
You Don't Get To Hate It
You have quite the collection of groups and gangs, Silly Pink Bunnies, North Beach Surf Club, and now the Fog Lovers Club. What do you hope these gangs, clubs, and cults bring to San Francisco and the world? Are you allowed to tell us what the Fog Lovers Club is about?
The Fog Lovers Club members are the die-hard true lovers of San Francisco California, with all of its benefits and flaws. It is not exclusive, everyone is welcome. Rules are simple... to remain positive here to the best of your ability, and to spread positivity, hugs, and goodwill to your fellow San Franciscans as much as possible. We all pay and sacrifice a lot to be here and stick around, so to hate and complain makes no sense. Love it, or leave it, so we can have a city full of fog lovers, and postcards from the haters who moved on.
A lot of your work is a confluence of hip-hop, humor, and history. Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Hip Hop: I have a really rad new project with one of my favorite rappers that will release in 2020. Humor: I just drew Mr. Snuffleupagus for the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street. History: Tonight I am working on an illustration of the legendary Bimbos 365 Club for the SF Heritage Society.
You've done a lot of public-facing work between murals and the bronze bunny, so are there any other big scale projects or dream projects you'd like to tackle in your next 25 years here?
In 2015, I was the first Artist in Residence at SF City Hall, and in 2017 at Coit Tower. I am currently working on proposals for the SF Cable Car system/Museum, and Alcatraz. My dream projects would be residencies at the tip of the Trans America building under the red light, out on the arm of Sutro Tower, and up in the nipple at the top of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Fog Lovers Club opens Saturday, December 14, 2019, with an opening reception from 6 to 9 pm, and is on view through January 4, 2020. There will be an exclusive enamel pin giveaway for the first attendees and the debut of a new limited-edition screenprint.