Community Outreach: D Young V
D Young V (Dave Young) is a Tenderloin-based artist whose graphic work speaks to a post-apocalyptic society. Utilizing themes of war and revolt, Young’s paintings evoke the futuristic propaganda of a doomed human race. His most recent exhibition at White Walls Gallery, The New Race, contained articles of war reformatted for a gallery setting. This included helmets, guns, and a fully functional flame-thrower. With a penchant for wheat pastes and graffiti, Young also produces murals that are as ambitious in scale as his multi-material, high-content gallery shows. We met Young in his Tenderloin studio and took a stroll around the neighborhood to check out some of his pieces and to get some insight into his post-apocalyptic world.
Q: What is it like living and working in the TL, and how does both the spirit of the neighborhood and the artist-community influence your work?
A: Living in the TL has been interesting over the years because it offers a unique insight into humanity. It’s probably the most diverse and colorful part of San Francisco, as well as the most urban. I feel in many ways the noise and constant sight of homeless and drug addicts had shed a negative light on my perception of people in general. However, I’ve grown accustomed to it, and have even gained a certain inspiration from it over the years. On the other hand, I think the high density of artists living in the neighborhood has opened up new doors for me. Being involved in a community such as this not only allows me to stay constantly active, but also brings in fresh ideas.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the street art scene in SF?
A: The Bay Area has a long and rich history with graffiti, its pretty obvious wherever you go. ‘Street art’, depending on your definition of it, is not nearly as prevalent here (If you see street art as wheat pasting, stencils, artistic projects done on the street illegally outside of what one may label as Graff.) A great deal of artists that do ‘street art’ also do public murals. Many of these murals are done legally. They can be viewed all over the TL, Mission, and other neighborhoods. Both Wallspace SF and White Walls have taken a huge part in securing walls for both local and international artists. Speaking on the TL alone, the last couple years have been interesting for this. I’ve seen murals go up constantly from artists in SF, other parts of the US, Europe, Australia, etc. A lot of street art seems to be going down the mural route, so in that sense it’s very active. Again, I suppose it’s what one labels as street art these days; the view of its definition depending on legal/illegal varies.
Q: Your work borrows heavily from images of war and creates a sense of post-apocalyptic planet earth; can you offer a little insight into this?
A: A lot of my inspiration comes heavily from science fiction movies. I’m constantly intrigued by the narratives of these movies and how they deal with societies in the future. Many of these films deal with society/cultures existing after a cataclysmic event, or series of events. Other films deal with an extreme version of our current society. What they all have in common is a commentary of our current living and where our actions may take us if we are not careful. I have often wondered what it would take to unite people, to give them a far stronger sense of empathy and understanding with their fellow person. On a smaller lever this can exist with common interests, or a common culture. However, on a grander scale it usually occurs with an event(s) so large that people cannot help but to work together, and identify with one another. I think at its foundation this is what my work is about. The basic narrative of my work relies on the concept of what people do to rebuild a new society.
To see more from D Young V, check out his website here.