The Longest-Lived Mural Graffiti in San Francisco – Epoxy Plus Paint Equals Forever

Here’s what the little monsters know – they know that if they tag a big old transformer box or what have you, then it’ll simply get painted over by the City or a property owner, sometimes with a quickness. But painting over a mural, such as the one called Gold Mountain at Romolo Place in North Beach near the intersection of Columbus and Broadway, well that throws all the stakeholders into paralysis and so scribblings will remain for tout le monde to see.

Ideally, you’d have the original muralist come over and do a touchup for free. Ideally. But the long-lived tagging on Gold Mountain has epoxy in it, so it’s really hard to take off of the wall without erasing everything. And then after you do a fix-up another tagger will come along, despite your use of anti-graffiti coatings and whatnot.

Here, take a look at the mural on Romolo from six-plus years ago – nice and clean.

But WholeWheatToast‘s photo from 2008 looks just like every other recent photo that you can find online:

Click to expand

Here’s the current shot from Google Maps. (Note that Google’s face-blurring privacy program doesn’t distinguish betwixt real people and paintings of people.)

And the pic on MapJack looks the same as well. Oh well.

Now honestly, I’m not sure how much good putting up video cameras would do unless you had somebody to watch a live feed 24-7. I mean the value of showing the SFPD grainy night-time footage of some skinny, 5′ 8″, hoodie-wearing hood isn’t much, right?

For all I know these tags are still there today, with more added on, possibly. I’ll check it out the next time I’m in the area.

(San FranciscoThe City That Knows How®… to sit around and dawdle. Oh well.)

Leaving you with what the Chinatown Community Development Center has to say about all this:

“Gold Mountain Mural Restoration

The Gold Mountain Mural is located at Romolo Alley, near Broadway and Columbus, on the side of the Swiss American building owned and managed by Chinatown CDC. It is the joint effort of Ms. Ann Sherry, the muralist, and Chinatown CDC depicting the lives of Chinese Americans in San Francisco. It was created in 1994, and once restored in 2004 due to heavy tagging. At that time, to honor her, we added the image of our local heroine, Ms. Betty Ann Ong. Ms. Ong is the American Airline stewardess who was the first one to contact ground crew informing them of the plane being hijacked on that fatal flight into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Recently, this historic mural caught the eyes of the President of the National Museum of Murals and Mosaics in Philadelphia, and will be featured in their online museum website.

Once again, due to tagging, we will start restoring the mural in the near future. We have so far secured some funding to install surveillance cameras to safeguard the mural. Once restoration is complete, we will daily monitor the mural and assist the SFPD to apprehend taggers. (Volunteers interested to help can contact Cathie Lam at 415-984-1461.)

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5 Responses to “The Longest-Lived Mural Graffiti in San Francisco – Epoxy Plus Paint Equals Forever”

  1. I happen to know some people who know the people at Chinatown CDC. I hear they are going to begin mural restoration on March 27th, during their annual Workathon.

  2. Paul Watts says:

    I ran across you issue with the graffiti on the mural. I own a national graffiti removal company in Sacramento and would be willing to come look at the graffiti to see if I can help you remove it. Our products and methods are very safe and would possible not damage the epoxy or mural itself.
    If you would like some help please give me a call or email me at grs.paul@comcast.net / 916.233.7739
    we would be willing to help in a volunteers capacity.
    thank you
    Paul Watts
    Founder/CEO
    Graffiti Removal Services
    http://www.removegraffiti.net

  3. Mike says:

    Whole Wheat, good to know. Maybe I’ll try to hook up with them to help.

    It was still there last night when I biked by on Broadway.

  4. sfcitizen says:

    Thanks Mike. I was figuring the tags were still there…

    Thanks Paul. I forwarded your offer to Cathie Lam/The CDC by email. Feel free to call her at the number listed in the body.

  5. Mike,

    Actually, it’s kinda too late to sign up to help, I think. Or at least that’s what I heard from somebody I know in the organization…