Pablo “Raiz” Arroyo, Capp Street, 18th Street, mural, Mission, Precita Eyes
Mural in progress. Photo by Griffin Jones, Feb. 13, 2023

Pablo “Raiz” Arroyo stands painting a wall on Capp Street at the northwest corner near 18th Street, easily balancing on the deck of a skateboard that sits firmly on a crate. 

Arroyo dips his brush into pink acrylic paint, outlining a classic Mission Victorian house as he talks. Marcia Aitken’s “I’m Still In Love With You” plays softly from a small speaker beside him.

“I’ve been drawing and painting my whole life. I did graffiti as a kid. I see my craft like a samurai sees his sword. It’s a way of life, a path.

“It’s funny; we get so used to getting used to our lives, that, every once in a while, I’m like, ‘Oh man, I have to go paint today,’ and then I’m like, ‘Wait a minute — I get to go paint today.’”

Mural, 18th Street, Capp Street, Pablo Arroyo
Poppies and sunflowers on Arroyo’s mural at 18th and Capp Streets. Photo by Griffin Jones, Feb. 13, 2023.

The piece Arroyo’s working on is a huge mural that spans the outside of a new, not yet open, bakery, Fox & Lion Bread. It’s a beautiful orange, blue and purple forest of sunflowers, poppies, leafy plants, Mission Blue butterflies and Victorian houses. One side of the painting is taken up entirely by the hopeful figure of a young girl: Lupita Louise Araiza Uribe, or Lulu, the third generation in a family of female Mission muralists.

Arroyo, a muralist from La Paz, Bolivia, who has painted all over the world, from South and Central America to Asia, Europe and Australia — “where in the world are there not empty walls?” — has, for the first time, decided to settle down in San Francisco. Most of the past 30 years he’s spent traveling coasts and surfing, making his way through his handiwork.

Why the Bay? “It’s changed my life. The people, the people. I’ve been all over the world and have never found the kind of people that really have a genuine quality to them.”

Pablo has been part of the Mission arts culture since he visited the city in 2015, and Precita Eyes muralists instantly welcomed him into the community as family.

Here in his latest commission, Pablo is making a point to honor some of the towering figures in the city’s mural scene. He points over to Lulu.

“So, that little girl is the daughter of local muralist Lucia González Ippolito, whose mentor and stepmother is Juana Alicia, one of the original female muralists of the Mission. There’s two different feathers in the sky above Lulu. One is of the red-tailed hawk, and the other one is the red-shouldered falcon. One is Juana Alicia and the other one is Lucia. I wanted to pay my respects to that aspect of the Mission. Like, yo, there are still generations of Mission Girls here.” 

Pablo’s first contribution to a local mural was with Carlos Gonzalez, an OG muralist in the area. “Carlos did a mural to commemorate La Chata, right next to House of Brakes on 24th, for Chata Gutierrez, an activist and DJ in the ‘80s on KPOO with a show called ‘Con Clave.’”

The Mission Blue butterflies are an endangered species, he says, that “you don’t really get to see much anymore.

“A lot of us believe a mural is an opportunity to invoke things. So, this is an opportunity to invoke more Mission Blue butterflies to come back.” And to him, Lulu “represents the future of the Mission in the most beautiful way.”

Follow Pablo on Instagram @pablitosomething and look out for details on the mural unveiling and bakery opening party later this month.

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Reporter/Intern. Griffin Jones is a writer born and raised in San Francisco. She formerly worked at the SF Bay View and LA Review of Books.

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  1. Now this is more of what we need! Cover the walls Pablo, call up Norris. Let’s get these murals everywhere.

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