I painted this mural in 2006 after returning home from living in New York and adventures as a vagabond wandering minstrel/farm-hand in Europe. I wanted to express the generosity and gratitude I encountered while living in multi-cultural communities around the world, and plus make a visual statement as to what western hospitality might look like. Growing up in Mendocino, I apprenticed under a Japanese Tea Master learning about zen-buddhism and nature inspired art-philosophy. This background influences my work to this day as a carpenter/builder. The piece itself was the winning entry in a contest sponsored by the Precita-Eyes Mural organization, and my friends Carey Lamprecht and the late Jubal Stedman helped me paint it. I call it "Compassion Lives Here" as it shows a woman holding the inhabitants of a city working in their various roles within it. The woman symbolizes our feminine loving nature that we humans are all capable of.
The artwork is much more a neighborhood and Bay Area narrative than an autobiographical piece. The evidence is in the worker with a broom, the sleeping man, the homeless figure digging through a garbage can, and the side-by-side housing that overlooks the scene — along with a long-haired woman whose hair blends in with the curves of a blue Golden Gate Bridge.
“It’s taking care of the people who live in the neighborhood, like homeless people,” Karpov says. “I was playing a lot of music at the time, so I painted myself playing the guitar, and a bass player, and the guy rifling through the garbage. I wanted to say that compassion exists in San Francisco — at least in some places. But it’s also about music and art.”
Karpov, who grew up in Mendocino and now lives in the East Bay, says his style is heavily influenced by a teacher who specialized in the Japanese arts. Compassion Lives Here has a strong symmetry of colors, shapes, and lines that easily integrate the scene’s disparate parts.
“I’m influenced by black ink lines,” says Karpov, who has drawn and published two children’s books. “I’m strong with that.”
“I’m just glad it’s still up,” he says of the mural, then adds an afterthought that references the area’s eviction rates and rapidly changing demographics: “I hope for peace in the Mission.”
Source: André Karpov