What does the Gnome know?

You might miss him. … The Gnome. There are little blocks of wood stapled to the base of utility poles around Lake Merritt and Grand and Lakeshore avenues. An artist has painted a little, impish Gnome on these blocks of wood. I remember when I first saw one, near the parking lot of Safeway on Grand Avenue, and I thought, “How cute!” Then a few months later, I saw another one, a block or two over, near the Ace Hardware.

I saw one today, over in a residential area behind the big Grand Lake Theater – its red pointed hat caught my eye from down below, despite the large imposing shadow of the “Grand Lake” sign up above.

There have been news article written about this little Gnome, and the anonymous artist who paints him, and pays for the materials. … The¬†Gnome also caused a controversy with PG&E, which finally allowed the Gnomes to stay.¬† Here are articles in:

the Los Angeles Times

New York Daily News

San Francisco Chronicle

There’s also a Facebook page called “Save the Lake Merritt Gnomes.”

I want to know who this artist is. But therein lies part of the charm, the anonymity. Gnome artists would be like that. Bringing cheer and good fun, but without acclaim or accolades.

I have a Gnome – he came with me when I moved from San Francisco to Oakland, and now he sits on my apartment patio and looks in the window. His paint is almost completely gone; the San Francisco damp fog wiped them away. He likes it better over here.

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