A group of Academy of Art University artists who created a large public mural depicting a sailing scene on San Francisco Bay were on hand Wednesday morning to honor Artemis Racing sailor Andrew "Bart" Simpson, who died during a practice in May.
The mural, located at Hayes and Polk streets, was dedicated to the 36-year-old British sailor who was killed when his team's boat capsized on the Bay on May 9.
The 116-by-50-foot mural was painted on the side of a university-owned building at 150 Hayes St. It depicts three boats sailing near the Golden Gate Bridge and was completed in late May after about four months of design work.
After Simpson's death, a message was added at the bottom of the mural that reads, "In memory of America's Cup sailor Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, Double Olympic Medalist, Artemis Racing."
University President Elisa Stephens credited the student artists for working "diligently on this beautiful mural." She also said this was the largest public mural the university has ever produced in San Francisco.
Artemis team member Iain Percy, a skipper and longtime friend of Simpson's, spoke on behalf of the Sweden-based team and Simpson's family Wednesday.
"What he really enjoyed was working together with a team of people," Percy recalled of Simpson.
Percy said the artists' team effort and passion would be something Simpson would have been proud of and humbled by.
The students presented Percy with a framed painting of the mural, which Percy promised to pass along to Simpson's family. The students signed the back of the painting, including Kris Liwanag, 24, who graduated this spring.
Liwanag said that after hearing about Simpson's death, "it made us [the students] feel like we had to put more art and soul into it."
As part of the making of the mural, the team of students immersed themselves in the nautical world, studying the 72-foot catamarans and watching the America's Cup teams in their practice runs, he said.
Fellow artist Steven Stodor, who also recently graduated, said he researched international maritime signal flags and used those images on the top of the wall to spell out "Academy of Art University."