Drawn From the City: Illustrations of Essential San Franciscans

by Crystal Vielula
May 20 at 11am

By Crystal Vielula

San Francisco is known for being a city of innovators, artists, weirdos, revolutionaries, and radical thinkers.  The diversity of ideas here is visible even as you walk down the street; clear in the way people dress and present themselves. As the city changes, these people of interest are at risk of being pushed out. For years there have been individuals that I’ve seen around town who captured my imagination. This project, Drawn From the City, became an excuse to introduce myself to them and find out about their lives through interviews, documenting the cultural life-blood of the city. 

Check back on Tuesdays for a new Drawn from the City sketch of San Francisco. 

Cara Vida

Occupation: I’ve been a visual artist, a spoken word poet, and a cabaret singer. As they say: doing strange things in the name of art.

How long have you lived in the city? Long enough to have had a love affair with this greedy, bejeweled old whore San Francisco.

What neighborhood do you live in? In the very pretentious Hayes Valley.

Favorite place: I have a favorite karaoke bar happy hour, but I refuse to tell the name for fear of it getting too crowded.

What is your favorite neighborhood? I can’t play favorites because I’m still in love with every inch of this boomtown gal, San Francisco.

Style inspiration: Halloween, people in the city, drag queens.


Bonus quote: “I know for a fact that I am a trendsetter”

Occupation: A do-nothing

Favorite neighborhood: I’m a Native San Franciscan, so it’s hard for me, but I think I have to say Chinatown because you can buy fireworks there.

Favorite article of clothing: I went on an odyssey all around the city to find the perfect sweater.  I ended up at the Irish Sweater store.  Each of the sweaters has a different pattern to identify sailors if they get lost at sea.

I also wear women’s jackets and shoes. I saw a really nice pair of red patent leather shoes, and asked for my size. The clerk said they were women’s shoes. Who the fuck cares?

How long have you lived in your home? We have lived here for 32 years. It was a converted garage. Our landlords were teachers who had small properties all around the city that they rented out to artists. Since I actually had a real job we were their best tenants, we were never late on rent. In their will they gave us buying priority, and when they passed away about five years ago we were able to purchase the building for some insane amount. Since then we put in skylights and built a stage where we host shows and open mic nights.

Are you working on a conceptual visual piece about San Francisco? The Bold Italic wants to hear from you: email us at tips@thebolditalic.com