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The two interns told their boss, the local artist Sirron Norris, that a man with a child stopped by the mural  Saturday and started yelling at them. “He told them that the wall was a blessed wall and that their bossy man had no ethics or morals, and was a culture vulture” said Norris.

“My interns recognized him. They all used to be taggers, and they know him. His name is SPIE, and that was his mural that we painted over.”

“I didn’t realize. I didn’t know that this was this holy manifest destiny spot. This was meant to be so community-based. Everyone is supposed to have ownership of that spot.”

The mural Norris planned with the help of his interns is a street scene whose details will be filled in, piece by piece, by everyone in the community who stops by to work on it during a block party that will be held on June 19th, from 11-3 pm. Norris says that he was asked to do the mural by the owner of the Revolution Cafe, and by the Mission Community Market – a farmers market and music space that will run on Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m, on Bartlett between 21st and 22nd. The Revolution Cafe and the Community Market offered to pay for the cost of supplies, but everyone working on the mural, according to Norris, has been contributing their time free of charge. The mural that was painted over was an image of a Native American chief.

Mural by Cuba, Photo by Dennis Kernohan

But Norris remembers there being an earlier mural in that spot, a “tight -ass revolution scene” by CUBA, a spray-can muralist who, like SPIE, has several murals around the Mission (works by both SPIE and CUBA are featured in the book Street Art San Francisco.)

Norris as he started to paint

Norris’ interns told him that several people had complained to them about their painting over the mural at 22nd and Bartlett, and that CUBA himself had stopped by and thanked them for leaving in part of his design, but also told them that they “might have a problem.” The interns, Norris said, didn’t tell him about the warnings because they didn’t want to stress him out.

Norris thinks that his involvement with the new mural might have something to do with the controversy. A commercial artist by training, he began doing murals through developing independent relationships with business owners, rather than through the graffiti scene. “I never did graffiti. Maybe there’s a code of ethics that I’m not familiar with.”

Norris who opened a studio on Valencia Street this April is no stranger to vandalism. Days before his gallery opening a brick was thrown through his studio, smashing the storefront logo of his trademark cartoon bear. At the time he told Mission Loc@l, “You put yourself out there and you’re going to get it,” and added “I just thought at 37-years old, as an adult you think that everyone is going to treat your art with the same respect.”

For now, he’s leaving the mural on Bartlett as it is, with the tag, so that people in the neighborhood have a chance to see it, and talk about it.”I honestly want to sit down with this dude. I want CUBA there. I want to say, “I want you to have space here on the mural.” I think that’s an important thing to do. He’s part of the community.”