Most people who walked out of the Kevin Costner movie “Waterworld” left unsatisfied. The premise was ridiculous, and the acting was completely trashed by almost every critic in the country. But the film has gained a cult following, and has still managed to lay the groundwork for a bizarre counter-culture comprised of people who consider themselves Sea-Punks.
Although the anthropologists will likely groan at the label counter-culture and the word movement, the Sea-Punk wave seems to be catching on just enough to make its first documented appearance; a bizarre mural on Market Street and 12th in San Francisco that depicts sea creatures rocking out to music with a tattooed shark and an octopus holding a skull.
Each of these strange underwater symbols actually represents a part of the movement. Sea-Punks aren’t just a group of kids who dress up, although they do tend toward the Gothic style, along with brightly-dyed blue hair. Along with their outlandish dress, Sea-Punks have an ideology, a prediction for the future, and a whole lot of music, obviously also called Sea-Punk.
According to internet feelers, just picking up and tracking the movement’s progress, Sea-Punks believe the future will look something like Costner’s warrior-filled “Waterworld,” although they are not technically associated with the film. Within this framework, the Sea-Punks create their persona. Ocean-colored hair and tattoos of sea animals are commonplace, as are dolphin noises looped over your average grungy, angsty counter-culture music.
Keep your eyes peeled for young Sea-Punks dressed in “internet-fashion garb,” and wielding spray paint, ready in a heartbeat to add a fishy mural to a city near you.
Update January 2018: The mural is no longer there.
Know Before You Go
While the mural itself is closest to Market St., the easiest access to get up close to the mural is through the Public Parking lot at the corner of Franklin Street and Oak Street, near the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.