Category Archives: emeryville border


I haven’t posted much street art lately so I thought for the next few days I’d focus on some new pieces I’ve seen recently.  Here’s the first…

oakland murals, west oakland graffiti art

west oakland mural, west oakland graffiti art, oakland murals

I don’t know who the artist is. If you can decipher the lettering between the two gargoyle figures, that is likely the artist’s name (or moniker). I think I can make out an ‘A’ in the middle, but that’s about it. Anyone good at reading these tags?

west oakland creatures mural, oakland murals, oakland graffiti art

It caught my eye last Friday as I was running errands in West Oakland/Emeryville. I’m pretty sure it’s fairly recent because I’ve been over there a bunch lately and this is the first I’ve seen of this. Located on 35th street (a prime dumping spot despite the cameras and signs that say dumpers will be prosecuted), I think it’s pretty excellent.

west oakland graffiti art, west oakland creatures mural, 35th street mural

Maybe with these guys keeping watch over the street, things will be kept a bit tidier, eh?

Alliance Metals Sculptures

Alliance Metals is a recycling plant located a few blocks from my old loft in West Oakland. They recycle everything… plastic, glass, & aluminum of course. But also, steel, brass, copper, and more. They pay cash for these items.

The folks you see pushing shopping carts full of bottles and cans through West Oakland, or riding bicycles laden with huge black garbage bags full of recyclables, are undoubtedly making their way to Alliance. And when boarded up houses get raided for plumbing and copper wires, you can bet your crack pipe the goods were carted down to Alliance for a pocketful of change, which is exactly what happened to the house across the street from me.

So I have mixed feelings about this place… The clankety-clank of shopping carts up and down my street at all hours of day and night. Garbage strewn about the neighborhood as scavengers dig for bottles and cans. People aggressively trying to break into our parking lot to steal our recyclables.

On the other hand, the center does provide a means of income for those who seemingly have no other means. Unfortunately, many of those people take their hard-earned cash and promptly smoke it or shoot it, leaving a trail of associated unpleasantries throughout the adjacent residential blocks. sigh.

In any case, Alliance has some pretty awesome metal sculptures fabricated out of junk, stationed in front…

west oakland scrap metal, west oakland recycling plant

scrap metals sculpture, west oakland metal sculptures, alliance metals

alliance metals west oakland, alliance metals recycling, west oakland recycling, west oakland scrap recycling

gorilla sculpture metal, west oakland metal sculptures, alliance metals sculptures

metal scrapyard west oakland, sculptures from scrapmetal, recycling plant west oakland

There once was a garden here…

I was in my old hood the other day and passed a fenced in triangle of property at the intersection of 32nd and Union streets. I’ve driven or biked past this spot hundreds of times over the years.

It’s right in front of a couple loft developments, an older converted building called West Clawson Lofts (the building once housed the Clawson Elementary School ) and a newer development called Magnolia Row, built from scratch on the neighboring empty lots in the early 2000’s.

There once was a community garden installed in the small lot. I thought it was wonderful. I never knew who installed it there, but it existed for a year, maybe more, and consisted of raised vegetable beds surrounded by more ornamental flowering plants. One of the cool features was the reuse of old bicycle wheels (without the tires) along the chain link fence. They were used as trellising to encourage climbing plants (like morning glory) to obscure the ugly fence. I thought it was a lovely addition to the neighborhood.

But soon after it was established it was removed. My information is only hearsay so I can’t verify its validity, but someone told me that there was a dispute over the ownership of the lot and that, apparently, the rightful owner was intent upon installing a coffee stand/shop there.

I thought, well it’s a shame the garden is gone. But a coffee stand could be cool too.

It never came.

Years went by, and at one point it seemed promising as a small wood shack was erected inside the fence. But nothing ever followed.

And so for years, we West Oakland neighbors were deprived of our pretty little community garden, and instead, were left with a ramshackle hut inside a weed and litter strewn lot locked inside a chain-link fence. sigh.

empty lot west oakland, vacant lot art installation, west oakland graffiti

But recently some artists have taken measures to reclaim the lot, repurposing the walls of the hut as outdoor gallery space for their art. It currently houses a number of pieces but it looks like the bulk of it was jointly installed by a number of artists working collaboratively: Ras Terms, Dead Eyes, and Safety First included. I’m not sure about other participants.

Ras Terms, Safety First, Dead Eyes, Turnip, empty lot art

collaborative art installation, west oakland graffiti art, empty lot 32nd street

safety first graffiti art, safety first west oakland art

I hope more artists follow suit.

And who knows… maybe one day we could have our garden back too. A peaceful green space to sit and reflect upon the art…

Diversity is the one thing we all have in common.

Filling the ground floor windows of the California Hotel, these repeating posters – featuring two of the world’s great civil rights leaders, the iconic “power salute” of the 1968 Summer Olympics, and the promotion of diversity as strength – create a powerful mural running the block of San Pablo Avenue.

mural of civil rights posters, celebrate diversity

posters ground floor hotel california, civil rights posters san pablo

california hotel, san pablo ave, diversity posters

black power, 1968 olympics, martin luther king jr.