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  • Writer's pictureSan Francisco Heritage

A Look Back at AIR Mark Dean Veca at 1506 Haight Street

SF Heritage's storefront space at 1506 Haight Street is playing host to pop-up art exhibitions from our newest artists-in-residence (AIR).

Mark Dean Veca stands in front of his artwork at the opening of his exhibition "Ornamental Illness," May 7, 2022.
Mark Dean Veca at the opening of his exhibition "Ornamental Illness," May 7, 2022.

In March 2022, we hosted Louisiana-born artist Mark Dean Veca. Veca premiered “Ornamental Illness”at 1506 Haight Street, an exhibition featuring a suite of screen-printed editions originally created during a residency at The Space Program in San Francisco in late 2021. The pieces were inspired by 18th-century French decorative arts and wallpaper patterns, with Veca’s improvised designs melding pop-art imagery and underground comics with abstract shapes and styles.

Outside of “Ornamental Illness” viewing hours, Veca lived and worked upstairs in the Doolan-Larson residence, a space furnished by the late owner Norman Larson and donated intact to SF Heritage upon his death in 2018. Joining a handful of artists, performers, and other creatives who have made a temporary home in the residence since SF Heritage launched its evolving artist-in-residency program, Veca created new drawings and paintings inspired by the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood’s past and present.

Speaking about his experience from the residence’s attic space in a video created in May, Veca said: “It worked out so perfectly because we had an exhibition space on the ground floor. I could live and work up here in this amazing attic in this historical building on the corner of Haight and Ashbury, and just to be up here and listen to music on Norm’s old sound system. It’s a really magical place to be and I feel like it’s priceless.”

Among the new pieces Veca created in the attic space was a drawing based on a Giovanni Piranesi (1720-1788) print that hung across from the bathroom in the Doolan-Larson residence. The drawing depicts a range of artifacts collected from Ancient Rome, and is one of the many eclectic pieces collected by Norm Larson over the years.

Veca took inspiration from a particular section of the drawing: “I kept seeing this one [a drawing of a stone figure of a male with a large mustache and beard] and it reminded me of Norman Larson, who had a big beard, and I’m assuming that’s one of the reasons he had that print... so I thought okay, that’s perfect, I’m going to take that and use that as my structure to improvise all my psychedelic, biomorphic line work."



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