By Crystal Vielula
San Francisco is known for being a city of innovators, artists, weirdos, revolutionaries, and radical thinkers. As the city changes, these people are at risk of being pushed out. For years there have been individuals that I’ve seen around town who captured my imagination. This project, Drawn From the City, became an excuse to find out about their lives through interviews, documenting the cultural life-blood of the city.
The Ant: Drawn From the City 2
Occupation: I sweep the streets and work on my artwork; large posters and t-shirts of cartoons that I sell on the street and in bars.
How long have you been living in the city? Since 1980.
How long have you been wearing antenna? Since '85 or '86.
How do you keep your antenna up? At first it was just gel and a hair dryer, but then the gel was eating into my skin. So I started using rubber bands and realized I could use the tension to keep them up with just a little gel at the top. [For] the winter, when I wear a hat, I got a hat that looks like it has antennae, and I stuff tampons in them to make them stand up.
What is your inspiration? Growing up in Japan you see a lot of cartoons there. They use Peanuts to teach people to read English. So I use cartoons in my artwork and the t-shirts I make.
What is your favorite neighborhood in the city? I like the Lower Haight and the Mission, I get too many old Republican vibes in North Beach.
Where do you live? I live in a residential hotel in the Mission. It’s small but I can’t imagine needing anything more. I used to live out of my car, I would park it in the Haight and play pool with all of the old hippies.
Check back on Tuesdays for a new Drawn from the City sketch of San Francisco.