Mission Gold magazine shows a different side to San Francisco’s homeless

Published out of San Francisco, Mission Gold magazine wants to change the narrative around homelessness. Rather than tugging on the heartstrings of his readers, founder Nick Marzano has created a treasure trove of incredible art, inspiring interviews and characterful photography that focuses on the personal stories of what Nick calls, “a different creative class [that] struggles to survive” in the ever-growing shadow of Silicon Valley.

Originally from Australia, he arrived in the city’s Mission neighbourhood in 2013, and explains that his aim is, “to challenge Silicon Valley’s assumptions about entrepreneurship, and posit ways to involve the city’s community across all income brackets in the boom.

From its non-profit philosophy to besmirching the memory of H.R. Geiger, read on for Nick’s inside guide to Mission Gold.

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1. What is Mission Gold?

Founded in 2016, Mission Gold is a non-profit publication about looking: elucidating the lives and art of the overlooked and disenfranchised street residents of San Francisco.

The first three issues of the series — Money, Magic and Misfits — present a holistic view of the street, its undiscovered gems and untold stories, in an era of rampant gentrification and income inequality that leaves many behind.

2. Storm Chasers, Mayan Talismans and Alien Archaeology

Mission Gold’s second issue, Magic, moves beyond issue one’s marketplace of cans, bottles and second-hand sex toys to showcase an incredible inventory of the imagination. Time-travelling radios, Mayan talismans, tiger mobiles, cosmic comedy, and 24-karat shopping carts comprise issue two’s moonshine of fact, fiction and the fantastic.

3. An incredible inventory of the imagination

Ever suspect the Bay Area was once populated by a race of nine-foot-tall insectoid beings? Want to glimpse a supernatural volume of occult artwork that would make H.R. Geiger roll in his grave? Could the mathematics of tropical storms predict Wall Street volatility? The makers featured in Magic explore earthbound and extraterrestrial phenomena, collaborating with Mission Gold to reproduce their art, writing, and mixed media for a broader context and audience

4. An agent for change

Critical to Mission Gold’s mission is its distribution model: the issues are distributed along with the Coalition on Homelessness’ Street Sheet, an entrepreneurial initiative empowering homeless men and women to earn money by selling the weekly periodical. Mission Gold’s vendors become de facto stockists, and retain 100% of the profits.

All profits from commercial sales of Mission Gold are donated to The Coalition on Homelessness, helping to organise and create permanent solutions to homelessness, while working to protect the human rights of those forced to remain on the streets. It is our hope that in the process, otherwise overlooked artists can share their work with the city’s vibrant community and contribute to a greater cultural conversation.

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