San Francisco muralist and street artist fnnch, whose yellow honey bears are unmissable about town, is paying “direct homage” to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can paintings with a new show called 9 Cans of LaCroix. On Friday, fnnch will unveil his sparkling drink inspired pop art, which like Warhol’s original 1962 work seeks to elevate an everyday food item to high art status.
9 Cans of LaCroix is presented in the gallery portion of a secret Mission creative space known as the SUB — think of it, says fnnch, as the 2017 version of Warhol’s famous studio The Factory. At the show, patrons can enjoy a cocktail bar featuring Thistle Juice and, of course, LaCroix mixed drinks. Due to the event’s popularity, which has been on par with the beverage itself, a second Sunday show is being added.
fnnch’s work has been inspired by food before, and graces everything in San Francisco from sidewalks and mailboxes to popular restaurants. Recently, he painted a flamingo mural at the new Cuban-inspired Media Noche, and one of his signature honey bears can be seen in the bathroom of Lazy Bear — chef David Barzelay is a friend and former neighbor. Stay tuned for fnnch’s latest, a band of mariachi honey bears, which the artist touched up yesterday at a forthcoming Tenderloin Mexican restaurant.
As a contemporary pop artist, which is how fnnch decribes himself, he’s drawn to items like LaCroix cans. As with Campbell’s before them, they’ve “entered the Zeitgeist,” fnnch observes. That’s especially true in cities like San Francisco, where he’s heard LaCroix referred to as “startup water.”
Unlike Warhol’s cans, which were painted, fnnch’s are spray painted stencils, like all of his art. For the nine cans, the artist selected the original LaCroix flavors: Coconut, cran-raspberry, orange, berry, lime, lemon, pamplemousse, peach pear, and “pure.” His favorite? For flavor, it’s pamplemousse, but in terms of appearance, he’s come around to coconut. “Coconut I thought was pretty bad at first,” fnnch says, “who would put brown and grey together?” But after painting the can, it’s become his favorite. Peach-pear, not so much. “Peach-pear is terrible, as a can... it’s the ugly stepchild of LaCroix cans.”