Sara Thustra At Needles & Pens.

Here’s my writing piece that I wrote for Ashcan Magazine. Check out the whole article here (with pics) and the rest of the site. Pretty sweet San Francisco stuff.

Sara Thustra at Needles & Pens
By Chris Huqueriza
Photos by Alexander Zeddemore/Sean Logic

Sara Thustra is an artist, and he demonstrates his wildly creative nature through his aura and his attire. While wearing a skirt with bright heels accentuating his height, he crouches on the cement pavement with a coca cola can in his right hand. He’s living through the moment, minutes after unveiling his artwork inside an art store.

“It’s a chance for people to look at my shit,” Thustra comments. “I cater to the back art.”

Thustra presents his paintings and his new 2010 calendar at Needles and Pens. Infused between a zine/crafts store with an art gallery, the petite store showcases Thustra’s vividly visual masterpieces starting on December 12.

Thustra showcases a few pieces, but the liveliest—and hard to ignore— piece was the gigantic mural, constructed of silkscreen stencil designs held together with wood and staples. A collage of a tiger can be seen in the middle of the mural with a vibrancy of light blue, muted brown, and dark blood red colors.

“It’s a statement of a large art that should be out in the world, but within a small space. I’m a muralist,” says Thustra. He adds that he gathers his thoughts of what he does not like in the world and reassesses what he does like. Like a symbol of our youths, Thustra’s art is reminiscent of what can be found in a trapper keeper.

Thustra labored for seven weeks, starting from November 1, to complete the massive and inspiring wall painting. “I worked a lot on it and had a bit of freedom,” Thustra jokes wishing he could have been greedy had he had a 6-month timespan.

His art reception also provides five vending machines to own a miniature piece of Sara’s art ranging from calendars, jewelry, wristwatches, jokes, and paintings for only 25 cents apiece. Revealing one vending machine to be nearly empty, many spectators crowded around the slots while scavenging for extra change.

“I like to give all the art and not be singular,” says Thrustra. “I don’t want to make paintings for rich people.”

With previous works, he’s focused on a wide range of issues concerning gender identity, violence, mass consumerism, sexuality, and economic and social inequalities. Thustra has presented his painting numerous times at Needles and Pens, the earliest harkening back to 2003.

Thustra is known for complimenting his art galas with free dinners and has made his presence known through his zines, Gay Shame protests, polemical posters, and street graffiti.

As an artist, Thustra is inspired by art that he describes as “rough, crazy, and real.” He soon starts citing works from social activists to farm workers to the galleries presented in San Francisco’s Mission Cultural Center. “What I like most is the old deep-rooted Latin cultural murals,” Thustra points out as many of his influences inspire many of his paintings.

For Thustra, San Francisco is his inspiration as he was raised as an artist in the city. “I love that San Francisco is about safety, compared to the rest of the muthafuckin’ country,” says Thustra. He later adds that San Francisco is “mellower” than the East coast when riding across country.

The reception continued with music by Boyie and Jamie while providing one of Thustra’s trademarks, free dinner. Sara Thustra’s art gallery will continue until the month of January, but unsure of the vending machines will be fully stocked.

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