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Following Artist Jeremy Fish from Silly Pink Bunnies to City Hall

City Hall’s first artist-in-residence is open for business. And yeah, he might do weddings if you ask nicely.

artist Jeremy Fish

SLIDESHOW

Jeremy Fish.

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artist Jeremy Fish

“I’ve worn vintage belt buckles since I was a kid. My grandfather made me the wooden one when I was six—it was the size of my head.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“A New York skate shop owner gave me this 1970s Sims board when I left for San Francisco. ‘If you’re smart, you’ll put it away somewhere,’ a friend told me. Instead, I drilled holes into it and rode it around for 20 years. Had I kept it in mint condition, it would be worth a lot of money.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“My grandfather also made this ship in a bottle, in 1941. He taught me how to do it once, but it’s way harder than it looks. I only ever made one, for a show—it sold for 800 bucks.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“Dr. Seuss is my favorite artist of all time, hands down. I traded one of my paintings for this sawfish sculpture by Seuss at a New York gallery. I’m more inspired by children’s book illustrations than by contemporary art.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“I worked as a printer with a gentleman who left the shop for a job on the Golden Gate Bridge. He gave me this Golden Gate Bridge rivet as a thank-you gift.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“I was asked to paint a mural at the corner of Laguna and Haight, but I built a Silly Pink Bunny sculpture. When it was eventually demolished for a new development, the neighborhood rose up in protest. Thanks to a $50,000 Kickstarter campaign, I’m installing a 10-foot-tall bronze version nearby this fall.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“I have a long-standing relationship with Al of Al’s Attire. We recently laser-etched some of my illustrations into leather. I wanted it to look like a hand-tooled Western pattern.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“I live around the corner from Schein & Schein, a vintage books and maps store. The owner, Jimmy, sold me this original 1855 copy of The Annals of San Francisco. It’s a historic document of early San Francisco told through stories and anecdotes.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“I bought this man purse for $3 at a flea market on the side of a mountain in the Swiss Alps. It’s what little Swiss kids use to take their lunches to school. When I bought it, I found the kid’s name written inside, along with a tiny ruler. I’ve been carrying it around for years.”

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artist Jeremy Fish

“I designed a T-shirt for Zeitgeist a few years ago, and in exchange they gave me what seemed like a bottomless bag of free beer tokens. I felt like a pirate. I thought they would last me a couple of years, but I ran out after eight months. This is the last one.”

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“I have the greatest van in the history of motorized vehicles,” says artist Jeremy Fish of his 1976 Dodge conversion, nicknamed Big Mike after its original owner. The nautically themed van (above) is garnished with airbrushed murals, portholes, a mirrored ceiling, and a built-in mermaid ashtray. Best of all, says Fish, it’s painted international orange.

It’s the ultimate ride for this die-hard San Franciscan, who’s lived in the city for over two decades. “I wanted to be a pro skateboarder,” recalls Fish, “but I wasn’t good enough, so I went to art school.” After graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1997, he got his start designing for skate brand Juxtapoz, later making his name on the pop surrealist art scene with drawings inspired by children’s book illustrations. He has lived and worked in the same North Beach building—a former martial arts studio—for 10 years.

This summer, Fish was named the first-ever artist-in-residence at City Hall, where he has finagled an office—“They cleaned out an old storage room,” he says—and a mailbox, where locals can send drawing suggestions (c/o Jeremy Fish, Room 008). He’s currently creating 100 drawings that will be exhibited in November for the building’s centennial. “I want the body of work to remind people who have lived here forever what they’ve taken for granted,” he says. Conveniently, he’s also a certified wedding officiant. “I’ll be off the Rotunda drawing pictures,” he adds. “But if you need a guy to marry you, I’m in.”


Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco

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