The AT&T storefront on Mission Street near 20th Street has a new vibrant look. Bright green hummingbirds, golden marigold flowers and orange Monarch butterflies cover the baby blue building.
“Color brings people a lot of joy,” the new mural’s artist, Amanda Lynn,said on a recent Friday as she filled in a few zinnias with yellow paint.
“I love this stuff,” she said, referring to the colorful naturescapes.
The mural’s marigolds and Monarchs, she said, pay homage to the residents in the Mission and the local Latinx community.
Lynn found her passion for painting, thanks to an art teacher in elementary school. She still uses the techniques she learned then: Making an outline of whatever she’s going to paint first, then adding the color on top.
Her parents sealed her interest. Early on, her mother’s punishment for some infraction prompted Lynn to paint her first mural — on a living-room wall. “My punishment became my career,” she said.
Since then, Lynn has been painting murals, across the world and in San Francisco, for more than 20 years. Hanging out with graffiti and street writers, she was encouraged by her friend to paint bigger, which led Lynn to murals.
What makes murals special for Lynn is the ability for the viewer to lose themselves in the artwork. “You can take part in your own time and space,” she said.
She holds a small bucket of blue paint in her hand and makes a swoop with her paintbrush. The paint splatters on her black boots. She has a reference photo of the AT&T symbol, a hummingbird and two marigolds taped up to the wall in front of her, but she doesn’t look once.
Her very first painting of the elements of nature in the city was in 2001, at 20th and Folsom streets, just two blocks away from her mural now. It’s no longer there. Looking back and thinking of all the murals that she’s painted, only to have them erased, doesn’t much bother her.
“I’m glad that [my art] had an impact on somebody when they saw it, while it was up. That’s all that matters to me,” she said.
Before leaving, she hands me a business card and a magnet she painted. She then crosses the street and takes a picture of the finished mural.
“I just hope this brings someone joy,” she said.