Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ramon Pablo Vidali - Artist of the Castro

This is an ode to an unknown artist who painted history but who seems to be lost to history. I have Googled info about him from every angle and can only find these 3 examples of his work but I'm sure he painted hundreds of canvases. A little back story: I moved to SF in 1979 - young, gay and free at a time when SF was the mecca for people of all stripes wanting to be free. And the Castro district was the hub - the epicenter, the birthplace - of the nationwide gay movement. I would walk around those blocks all the time, to shop, eat, drink or just people-watch. And I would see this artist all the time. He would ALWAYS be out painting on the sidewalks. He would paint street scenes and neighborhood characters. I admit I didnt like his style - the paint was too thin, the bodies too elongated. HAH! Little did I know he was painting a "time" that would soon be gone. He died of AIDS in 1985. I didnt notice his passing and have only begun to wonder about his art lately. He documented an historic time! The Castro doesnt look like that anymore, even though I remember every storefront and scene he painted. San Francisco, sadly, isnt "calling" the young and free anymore - more like the young and aggressively capitalist (but I digress). This artist's name was Ramon Pablo Vidali. He sat on sidewalks and street corners to follow his muse and recorded history. Oh I wish, I wish, I wish I could find his art in a flea market or a Goodwill store. Better yet I wish I had bought just one of his pieces back then! More info here: http://thecastro.net/street/vidali.html And if anyone has any info on who this "Uncle Donald" person is, I would love to get in contact with him for more info.

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