If San Francisco is the renegade city of the art world, Justin Giarla is most definitely captain of the ship. Since first opening the Shooting Gallery in 2003 (in a neighborhood that gently put, is a little shady), he’s become the shining beacon of a city excluded from both the nexus of New York City and the star-studded vault of Los Angeles, a city no longer taken seriously when it comes to fine art. Specializing in urban contemporary and pop surrealism, Giarla’s spreads his expertise between four different art spaces including Gallery Three and the Shooting Gallery’s influential sister gallery, White Walls. Known in local circles as equal parts philanthropist and curator, Giarla’s work outside the galleries speaks at even higher volumes about his commitment to community engagement through the conduit of art. He hosts annual fundraisers for local nonprofits and is closely involved with Hospitality House, an organization that offers facilities and art resources to the homeless free of charge, no questions asked.
Giarla’s newest progeny, 941 Geary will host its inaugural show on September 18 with a circus-inspired “art opera of epic proportions” including real life carnies and interactive games courtesy of Mike Shine. PLANET picks the brain of the man who is single-handedly attempting to reinvigorate the San Francisco art culture by example and sheer force of will.