The Ghostship fire in Oakland hit really deep. These are my people - artists who live, breathe, and make art in a space that allows them to be themselves, to be truly free. Our culture doesn't really support artists. Most spaces don't allow artists to thrive, so the few that do are so important for our community. San Francisco has always been a city of artists, vagrants, and crazy optimists who dare to dream, and while it's been changing over the past few decades, I still hold on to the pockets where these communities continue forward.
Since the tragedy happened, I wondered what I could do as an artist to help. I realized in talking to people in my life that they didn't know about this community that gives this city life. I realized that what we really need is visibility into the culture, to show that yes, we are human, and yes, we deserve the freedom to imagine and create and choose to live in this area, the same as anyone else.
This is an ongoing project to add visibility and perceived humanity of the artist community. Here's a small glimpse into the lives of a few artists.
Julia O Test is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in San Francisco.