A colorful mural depicting a butterfly’s wings that until recently decorated a piece of wall space of a Pacific Gas & Electric substation at the corner of 19th and San Carlos streets was defaced with the graffiti tag “KHY” on Thursday night, as shown in an image uploaded to the social media site Reddit sometime on Friday.
On Friday afternoon, the mural by artist Cameron Moberg, or Camer1, was covered entirely with a layer of black paint.
The tag “KHY” could be a reference to the moniker “Keep Hoods Yours” – a San Francisco-based graffiti crew that organizes against gentrification and racism. Although the group has not officially claimed involvement and did not immediately respond to requests for comment, they did post images of the tagged mural to their Instagram.
An adjacent mural of a honey bear, a collaboration between Moberg and street artist Fnnch that was painted on the San Carlos Street wall space of the building in early April, was defaced with the same phrase.
Moberg did not comment on his plans for restoring the mural, but said that he was not angry at the vandalism, adding that it attests to a “divide” felt in communities across the city.
“I’m not mad at the crew that did this. If anything I’m saddened because this is a reflection of the divide in our city right now that continues to widen,” wrote Moberg in an email. “I hope what has happened to my art won’t be in vain but rather it can help their voices be heard. They have lived here longer than most people in this city. We can not discredit the way they feel.”
While the honey bear has been mostly restored, it is unclear if the butterfly wings mural will make a comeback.