Mushroom with a view: New public art for the Upper Haight

SAN FRANCISCO -- Initially proposed last year, work is finally underway on converting a former Fotomat kiosk at the corner of Haight and Shrader streets into a giant psychedelic mushroom.

The work was commissioned by Rob Schwartz, owner of San Francisco Bicycle Rentals, who plans to use the kiosk for small item sales.

Schwartz retained Alex Skelton and Joff Jones, two Bay Area artists who often park a large yellow van on Haight Street that's used as a home base for selling their original artwork.

Skelton, who hails from Oregon and is currently based out of Santa Cruz, said working in the Haight--home of psychedelic and pop-art luminaries like R. Crumb--was a dream.

He said Schwartz happened across them by chance in the neigbhorhood, and approached them about the job. Although work on the mushroom kiosk is becoming a little more involved than they originally anticipated, it's well on its way to getting wrapped up, said Skelton.