For some reason, people tend to assume I’m from Boston and was raised in a strictly Calvinist New England setting. If you’ve seen a recent speaking engagement by me you know that’s not true, and you probably left with bad dreams for weeks. When I was four, my parents moved to San Francisco to live in the Haight (Haight-Ashbury). This was 1968 and the Summer of Love was still in full bloom. Our upstairs neighbors were members of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin’s band. My mother bought a grand Victorian bed from one of the Grateful Dead guys and gave it to my grandmother as a Christmas gift. My parents were free spirits, which is the opposite of me. I have several items from that time: my Dad’s Hendrix records, some Richard Brautigan books, a collection of Fillmore posters, and the book, This is San Francisco.
The book shows some of San Francisco’s famous spots: Fisherman’s Warf, Coit Tower, and the cable cars. But, I love the less famous but specifically local images: the maze of streetcar and bus wires, the flower stand shaped like a cable car, and the Chinese styled street lamps of Chinatown. There is a Jesuit saying, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” This certainly must be true visually. Even with years at art school, and over two decades working in the design industry, I look at these images and say, “Yes, this is right.”