San Francisco

The Story Behind San Francisco's New Robin Williams Mural

A muralist from far away says he wanted to paint someone close to San Francisco's heart

What to Know

  • Andreas Iglesias, known as "Cobre," paints photorealistic murals all over the world
  • On a 6-day layover in San Francisco, he wanted to paint a mural of a beloved local figure
  • He chose to paint Williams in his senior years because he feels lines and wrinkles express character

Like many muralists, Andreas Iglesias began his art career writing graffiti on just about anything he could find.

"Being a little kid with spray paint in my hand, it was always trouble," said Iglesias, who goes by "Cobre" in the art world.

Now, at the age of 30, he's all grown up — a professional artist who travels the world painting giant, photorealistic portraits on walls and buildings — especially portraits of those in their older years.[[492432971, C]]

"In this part of my life i'm painting senior people," he said. "I like to paint them because the wrinkles … I can play a lot with all the little details here and there."

Iglesias spoke to us from his home in Argentina, where he'd just returned after six days in San Francisco. The visit to the Bay was a spontaneous detour after meeting San Francisco mural painter Cameron Moberg at a street art festival in Indiana. Moberg offered him a place to stay and a wall to paint on, near the corner of 7th and Market Streets — a wall where Moberg's own mural had fallen into disrepair over the years.[[492433011, C]]

The two decided to cover up the old mural with a new painting — one of somebody universally loved by the city and the region. The painting of a bearded Robin Williams, as he was depicted in a 2014 issue of Time Magazine, has quickly become a tourist attraction.

Watch the video above to meet the artist and learn about the hidden details of the painting you may not have noticed.

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