Everlasting Love is a DIY artist co-op in San Francisco’s Mission District. I thought the concept was so interesting, and there are some respectable punkers involved, so I interviewed Ami LawLess and co. for your pleasure. (Click here to read more in our Create to Destroy series!)
MRR: How many people are in your co-op?
Currently we have about a dozen artist and artisans in our co-op who are all showing/selling their works in the shop on Treat and 24th St. in SF. These works range from paintings, one-of-a-kind jewelry and Dia de Los Muertos art to handmade candies, zines, buttons and t-shirts to just weird and curio-type items. We also have a really cool plant/succulent selection, with the plants potted in off-beat items, like in sea shells, glassware and terrariums too. We also work with musicians to come in for special event “pop-ups” and perform acoustic sets. So far we’ve had John the Baker from FUCKTARD, Mykee Ramen of ILL GOTTEN GAINZ and Burnt Ramen, Revik and Eric of JACK KILLED JILL, BOBBY JOE EBOLA AND THE CHILDREN MACNUGGITS and we have Blag from the DWARVES scheduled to do a rare acoustic set of Dwarves songs next month. The main coordinators of the co-op are Sandee Lawless, a.k.a. Sanderella, Angela Lazarich. a.k.a. La Calaca Loca and me, Ami LawLess.
Can anyone join?
We’ve had luck with knowing everyone that’s been a part of this so far. Once we put the word out about what we were doing, it all fell into place as far as people wanting to get involved. Seems like the local punk community here is chock full of artist/artisans that share our passion of bringing art into our community for a fair price. If folks are interested in getting involved we’d like to hear from them.
Why did you decide to do a co-op versus a more typical business model? Do you think punk ethics played a role?
Punk ethics and nurturing a DIY community definitely played a role. It’s who we are, where we come from and how we live our daily lives. We live in a greatly gentrifying neighborhood and want to preserve the art that this hood is known for and is made here. We have a couple of artisans who have looked into selling their wares in other stores in the Bay Area only to be met with the capitalist attitude of having to mark their prices up and give a higher percentage to the shop. We created a business model that works for both the artists and the co-op as well as the customers who support us. A co-op gets everyone involved and that’s what our vision has always been.
The Everlasting Love Crue
Have any of you been in co-ops previously?
I’m a DJ at Radio Valencia, which is a local radio station collective here in SF, and was involved with Food Not Bombs in the North Bay about 15 years ago. As for being part of a true co-op, nah, this is our first rodeo.
The Mission is rapidly gentrifying, like all of San Francisco, and has for the past few decades been a predominantly working class Latino neighborhood. Do you feel that you are contributing to the neighborhood?
My mother moved to this neighborhood in 1957 in order to be around more Spanish speaking people, coming from Mexico it was the community she was looking for, a haven…so yes, seeing this hood gentrifying at such a rapid rate was a definite reason we wanted to have our shop/co-op here. I hope we’re contributing by preserving the art that we all love and get inspired by. And it doesn’t hurt we live four blocks away. There’s a definite neighborhood pride here and I’ve even felt it from some of the newer neighbors that have moved in over the past few years. I mean where else in this amazing city can you see such diverse street art as you can strolling through Balmy Alley, 24th St., Lucky Alley, Clarion Alley and of course just wandering around this hood? We are so fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best street art in the world. This neighborhood is on par with Berlin, Mexico City and Athens, Greece, in regards to the vast amount and quality of street art. Read the rest of this entry »