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Their Life’s Work

In tribute to their creative callings—and in mourning for 36 lives cut short—a selection of art by victims of the Ghost Ship fire.


DJ Johnny Igaz, 34, photographed by Amanda Allen at an underground event in Oakland.

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Cash Askew, 22, played guitar in the synth- goth/pop band Them Are Us Too.

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Brandon Chase Wittenauer, aka Nex Iuguolo, 32, singing at the monthly music party Bone in June.

Photo: Rhea Decaro

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Chelsea Faith Dolan, aka Cherushii, 33, performing live techno at SF Underground.

Photo: Amanda Allen

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An illustration of the Styrofoam headgear Jason McCarty, 36, donned to perform with an act called Styrofoam Sanchez.

Photo: Gooch

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An intaglio print by Feral Pines, 29, from 2009.

Photo: Courtesy of Feral Pines

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Photographer Amanda Allen, 34, documented musical performances and took pictures walking around San Francisco.

Photo: Amanda Allen

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Photo: Amanda Allen

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Griffin Madden, 23, DJing at an underground venue in Oakland in 2016.

Photo: Francis John

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Jonathan Bernbaum, 34, traveled the world as a VJ doing light shows for electronic acts.

Photo: Jonathan Bernbaum

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Photo: Jonathan Bernbaum

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A photograph by filmmaker Alex Ghassan, 35, on view last fall in Black Mail 2 at Space 236 in the Tenderloin.

Photo: Alex Ghassan, Courtesy of Space 236

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Photo: Alex Ghassan, Courtesy of Space 236

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Stills from video art by electronic musician Micah Danemayer, 28.

Photo: Micah Danemayer

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Pages from a 2013 zine coloring book by Ara Jo, 29 (colored in by Jo).

Photo: Ara Jo

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Denalda Nicole Renae, aka Nicole Siegrist, 29, and Ben Runnels, 32, performing in the synth-pop/new-wave band Introflirt.

Photo: Norm de Veyra 

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Joey Casio, aka Joey Matlock, 36, performing live electronic music at an underground Oakland venue in 2015.

Photo: Francis John

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Micah Danemayer was about to form a new electronica band. Ara Jo was gearing up for the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest. Travis Hough was working on new songs and planning a 2017 tour for his band Ghost of Lightning. When the fire at the Fruitvale warehouse known as the Ghost Ship killed 36 people on December 2, it left gaping holes in Bay Area creative circles. “Our community has just been ripped apart,” says Eric Bateman, who played in bands with Hough and Chelsea Faith Dolan, both of whom died in the fire. What’s left now: the legacy of albums, zines, poems, VJ videos, and photography that the victims made. In the week after the fire, friends and family members of some of the deceased sent San Francisco photos from performances and images of artwork that attest to where these talented young artists put much of their energy: into making things that brought people together.


Originally published in the January issue of San Francisco

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