February is Black History Month, and there are plenty of awesome ways to honor it all around San Francisco. One of our favorite new public installations is this series of bus stop posters on Market Street, courtesy of artist Fred Noland. If you happen to take the bus from there, keep an eye out for these colorful posters about famous Black historical figures, most of whom have ties to the Bay Area.
The posters have a lighthearted comic style and are easy to read while you wait for the bus. “I wanted it to be very approachable, not photorealistic,” Noland told SFGATE. “In the realm of caricature, but without lapsing over into mockery. My style tends to have large heads and smaller bodies, because I’m more interested in the story and the people than the action.”
The designs showcase people such as musician Sly Stone, Underground Railroad conductor Mary Ellen Pleasant, San Francisco founding father William Alexander Leidesdorff, and many more. You can see the posters here in digital form. Noland’s drawings are accompanied by uncomplicated descriptions of the person or the era, telling each story in an interesting and engaging way.
Fred Noland is a visual storyteller based in Oakland, whose comics and illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, Popula, LA Weekly, Nickelodeon Jr., and many more. Be sure to follow him on Instagram at @frednoland, because he’ll be posting a series of drawings featuring even more Black historical figures in collaboration with other artists under the hashtag #blackhistorymonthart.
Noland created 7 unique designs to be distributed on 18 bus stops on Market Street between Hyde St and the Embarcadero. They’ll be up through the end of March 2022.
Featured image: Artist Fred Nolan’s comic-style portrait of Audre Lorde. Image courtesy of Fred Nolan