The San Francisco East Bay is home to a large and expanding variety of graffiti artists. In this collection of cities, you can find their expressions and experimentations in secret places that hold surprising bursts of color, pattern, and texture.
This area is centered in two bustling cities: Oakland and Berkeley. These two adjacent cities hold a diverse population of over 500,000 people. But to locals, it also includes tiny Emeryville, which is pocketed in between these two cities; the quaint island city of Alameda, which is a short bridge away from Oakland; San Leandro on the outskirts of Oakland to the South; and the gritty city of Richmond to the north of Berkeley. This geographic area is lovingly called “the East Bay.”
Xan Blood Walker resonates strongly with the aesthetic these artists bring to the area. Coming from a background of being a homeless, drug addicted punk rocker in the 80s, she transformed herself into a recovering psychotherapist, art therapist, and photographer.
In these hidden spaces, she finds the magic and tragic beauty that was once her world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Xan Blood Walker was born in Seattle, Washington, in the heat of the summer. She learned print photography in high school, and went on to obtain two BFAs, one in printmaking and another in painting from the University of Washington. Many years later, when pursuing graduate studies in counseling, she obtained a master’s certificate in art therapy. Prior to her higher education, she attended the school of hard knocks in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, as an 80's street punk at the height of the punk rock scene. With over thirty years in recovery, she finds a way to blend her varied experiences into a unique and personal style. Currently, she is branching out into two new areas: documenting the living breathing urban landscape through photojournalism and incorporating mixed media into her photography. She has already begun using graffiti marker, and hopes to add beeswax from her beehive, as well as dip back into her printmaking background with stenciling, lino block, and woodcutting.