(photo from San Francisco Bay Area Murals: Communities Create Their Muses 1904-1997 by Timothy W. Drescher)
When Star Wars debuted in theaters everywhere in 1977, fans everywhere couldn’t get enough of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Darth Vader and the droid duo of C-3PO and R2-D2. Fans paid tribute to their favorite characters with filk songs, comics, fanzines and street art.
During this time, San Francisco artist and muralist Xavier Viramontes joined other artists from the Galeria de la Raza to send positive messages to neighboor kids living in the Mission District. They had become frustrated with all the billboards promoting cigarettes and liquor, so they “appropriated” one of the street-level billboards on Bryant Street by painting over it with positive messages for the community. Over the years the billboard has been home to murals painted by both local and guest artists.
In 1977, Viramontes painted his “Avoid Junk Food” billboard which featured none other than the helpful droids C-3PO and R2-D2 as they explained which healthy foods are good sources of minerals and vitamins.
Check out the full image here.
The billboard has since be repainted, but you can learn more about it and other murals in the book San Francisco Bay Area Murals: Communities Create Their Muses 1904-1997 by Timothy W. Drescher, published by Pogo Press.