Haighteration: Were you born in San Francisco?
Jesus: No, I’m from SoCal: Santa Clarita. Near Magic Mountain.
H: How long have you been in the city?
J: 4 years. I’ve been in the Lower Haight for 3 years.
H: And what brought you to the neighborhood.
J: (Laughs) Craigslist. And I started hanging out at the Cool Café (now it’s called Bean There). I ended up working there myself for two years and I got to know everyone in the neighborhood.
H: Are your parents artists as well?
J: No, but my uncles had a band until I was 12 years old.
H: Did you ever do any artwork for their band?
J: No, I got into art after they had finished playing music. But I did get all of their old records. I have a ton of Spanish rock and roll.
H: Is your family a big influence on your work?
J: Yes, I’m very inspired by my family and community. I am also inspired by laborers. I think a lot of my inspiration is unintentional, subconscious. When I look at all of my paintings I see similarities in theme.
H: Do you sell any of your paintings?
J: Every Friday I used to hang my paintings on the front gate of my house and some would be bought. But every Friday became too much. I’m thinking about selling my art every first Friday of the month.
H: Being next door to a bar you must get a lot of foot traffic in front of your place. Do you like living next door to Danny Coyle’s?
J: I don’t mind, It’s lively. Actually, I do like living here because people buy my art. Once, a drunk guy leaving the bar tried to impress the lady he was with and offered to buy her a painting. She picked the most expensive one.
H: Did he buy it?
H: Do people from the bar ever try and hang out on the patio?
J: Oh yeah. If they’re cool we’ll let them.
H: So tell me about some of the work you’ve done around the neighborhood. The most recognizable would probably have to be Jerry.
J: Yes, I painted Jerry Garcia on the door. I’ve had my work featured at Bean There twice and D-Structure has had my work up in their store once. Right now I’m working on a dog mural on Page and Fillmore. It’s a mural of dogs in the neighborhood.
H: Was it easy to find people willing to have their dogs painted on a wall?
J: Oh yeah, people were excited. They wanted their dogs up there. It’s such a dog neighborhood.
H: Have you noticed any changes in the neighborhood since you have moved in?
J: Yeah, the neighborhood has become more gentrified and I notice that there are more tourists. It’s still a mellow neighborhood though.
H: What’s your favorite place?
J: When it comes to food its between Al Fanoose for a falafel and Rosamunde for a duck and fig or a wild boar sausage with peppers and onions.
H: What would you like to see the neighborhood get?
J: Another sandwich spot. Deli style.
H: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Where can we go to get a look at more of your artwork?
J: You can check out my blog: JesusPenaloza.wordpress.com.