In case you haven’t heard, the two Leftovers stores that used to be on Sutter & Polk and Polk & Bush were consolidated in one huge awesome space on Van Ness a couple of months ago. It seems somebody already took over their former store on Sutter, but the one on Polk remains vacant. Vacant but not empty, since the Space/Lopo Galleries guys had the genius idea of setting up a temporary gallery annex there under the name ‘Vacancy‘. We quite enjoyed it when we checked it out last month, and on top of that we scored a free print of the piece above by Akira Beard.

Akira Beard is an artist based in the Tenderloin, but that we’ve somehow never met. He is best known for painting layered portraits of pop culture icons with text around them, and awesome images of altered American currency. He teaches at the Academy of Art University and at an art center for elders, and we first saw his work at a show he had last year at the Shooting Gallery. We quite obviously quite liked this piece because the message could very well be our own motto about the Tenderloin, “it drives some people crazy, others can see the beauty in it”. Apparently he even made some t-shirts with it, in collaboration with Bayfitted on Ellis & Leavenworth (we’ll have to investigate that).

While we like the pieces where he uses the portrait of a historical figure or of a celebrity as a base (such as this one or this one), we really like his art with elders series and the sketches he takes of people sitting in cafés.

By the way, do you recognize the person in this portrait? (hint)