Time with a Graffiti Artist

Cameron Moberg and I were finally able to carve out time to get together in San Francisco, where I was able to see his work in the Mission District first hand and not on the internet.  He also gave me a lesson in the art of painting graffiti.  We had planned to do it outside, but it was a cool, breezy morning after some heavy days of rain.  So Cameron set up a large canvas in the basement parking lot of the Cornerstone Church on 17th Street, a short block off Guerrero.  The outside wall is covered with the work Camer1.  What you don’t see is the inside of the garage — two full walls of stunning graffiti and scripture messages, some hidden.

It was fascinating watching Cameron work. He made a couple of circles, some loops and handed me a can of spray paint with instructions to fill in the colors.  I was shaking, sure I’d ruin what he was doing.  He said not to worry, spray paint dries fast and mistakes can be covered.  Or you can change your mind and change the picture.  Those crisp edges that look like a stencil had to have been used? He does it all with a can of spray paint.  Close-up work, details, texture, shading, all with cans of spray paint.

We spent some time walking in the neighborhood.  Down the street and around the corner was a colorful bird with patterns in the feathers.  Gorgeous.  We took a drive to see the bird that is on the cover of my new book, The Masterpiece (about a graffiti artist).  The bird is only one part of the wall he calls “Time Flies.”

Cameron said drug dealers used to hang out on that same street corner.  He did graffiti on that wall as a teenager.  It was a dark place at that time.  When he became a Christian, he wanted to give back and do something positive for the neighborhood. He covered the building on the corner of Lucky Street with “Time Flies”, the beautiful blue bird at the top.  So many people stopped and took pictures that the drug dealers left the area.

Graffiti is indeed an art form that can beautify and change a neighborhood.

Check out Cameron Moberg / camer1 at www.camer1.com.