SF-based creative fnnch, the artist behind our city's beloved honey bear and pink flamingo murals, has raised more than $125K for two COVID-19 charities from sales made through his online store. And those donated funds will go toward bolstering local communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
Art can help remedy periods of stress, anxiety, and general unease. On a physiological level, eyeballing a painted canvass can lower your blood pressure and calm your nervous system. Products of creativity, as well, can have more utilitarian perks — like helping procure over six-figures to support Bay Area residents struggling in these despondent times.
Mural I painted last year in the Inner Richmond. Lawn flamingos, like honey bears, are bizarre and surreal objects we take for granted because we’ve seen them all our lives. I’m attracted to objects like these for my art because they are nostalgic, posit… https://t.co/PPUF07cSfA pic.twitter.com/9SiWVAFkyK— fnnch (@fnnch) May 5, 2020
Per KPIX, local muralist fnnch has raised $129K for two Bay Area nonprofits, each one offering assistance to those who need a helping hand amid the COVID-19 crisis, courtesy of art sales funneled through his online store at fnnch.com. After his honey bear murals — the COVID-19-inspired iterations in The Castro, especially — gained popularity across the internet, new fans of his work quickly flooded his website to buy a "universal symbol of happiness."
“To me, [honey bears are] a universal symbol of happiness,” fnnch told KPIX in an interview, remarking that he thinks his honey bear murals evoke strong, "positive" emotions in those who view them. “[The honey bear is] positive. It’s nostalgic. It’s inclusive.”
Orders started coming in at rates he'd never seen before after murals like Soap Bear and Mask Bear debuted in The Castro in early April. Fast forward to now, and fnnch has sold 750 prints and 250 wood paintings in mere weeks, donating $129K (earned from those transactions) to Safety Net Fund and SF New Deal.
“We were so thrilled when we saw fnnch’s donation come through on our website it was a complete surprise,” said SF New Deal Executive Director Lenore Estrada. “[His donation] has allowed us to provide more than two thousand meals to people who are vulnerable and food insecure.”
Currently, fnnch is working on a new Honey Bear Hunt Kit product, which includes a printed Mask Bear to display in a window of the buyer’s choice. Should they wish, the purchaser can opt to have the location of where they’ll display said bear added to the Great Honey Bear Hunt for others to seek out.
“When you walk your dog, stroll alone, or with your partner, you can get some exercise, do something that’s fun and safe,” added fnnch to the local CBS affiliate. “That’s been one of the goals of my art is to promote more public art in the world.”
Almost all of his artwork is sold out, though restocks of some products are apparently coming soon; fnnch plans to finish up pre-orders during his next in-studio session.
Check out some of our favorite coronavirus-themed honey bear murals uploaded to his IG handle, below:
View this post on Instagram
Meet Soap Bear. I have been wheat pasting these along with the Mask Bears all over San Francisco. The corner of the bear says “Wash Your Paws”. It is just a gentle reminder that washing your hands is an easy and effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thank you everyone for the incredible response to these pieces. I have received many heartening messages from both residents and businesses. I’ll be putting up more bears this week, hopefully in your neighborhood, so that you can enjoy them on your walks. Photo credit: @andrewrettmann #fnnch
And you can learn more about the mysterious, philanthropic painter here.
Image: Twitter via @PamDavis_CA