Mona Caron is a Swiss-born, San Francisco-based artist, using muralism, illustration and photography in both her art and artivism. Her focus is on community-informed and site-specific murals in public space. She has created large-scale murals in the US, Europe, South America and Asia, has delved into stop-motion animation as part of her "WEEDS" project, and co-creates visuals for street actions and outreach with social and environmental movements.
Murals in public space are Mona's primary focus. Her goal is to activate public space by simultaneously creating artwork and interactive street happenings, using the painting’s narratives to spark conversations and critical awareness of the space we share.
On this website, Mona's mural work is loosely grouped into the following, sometimes overlapping categories:
- Narrative murals
Mona's first decade in muralism was defined by extremely site-specific, detailed, and community-immersive narrative murals, reflecting the past, present, and future imaginaries of their neighborhoods through a uniquely permeable participatory process, considered part of the artwork. This process has been featured in an Emmy-winning documentary film, "A Brush With the Tenderloin", and has been the underlying praxis for most of Mona's work in her home town of San Francisco.
In recent years, Mona’s stop-motion animation and botanical mural series titled ”WEEDS", a metaphor about resilience and resistance, has been growing in numbers and geographic reach, as well as in the scale of the pieces. This series communicates on a poetic level, through the contrast of scale of each painted weed seedling with its environment, and has found reception across cultures and languages.
- Recent works
Currently, Mona is circling back towards including narrative elements into her botanical poetic metaphors, within surreal emotive/oniric visions, as can be seen in recent works such as "Outgrowing" in Taiwan or her collaborations "Emergentes" and "Mujeres Custodias".
Her art has been used in climate justice movements, water rights, and labor rights groups with organizations including 350.org, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Zero-waste Detroit, US Social forum, La Coordinadora por el Agua y la Vida and Fundación Abril of Cochabamba Bolivia, Acción Ecologica(Ecuador), Land is Life, among others.
She also has collaborated with urban commons and bicycle advocacy groups on 3 continents, including several World Bicycle Forums. A few examples of her art for street actions can be seen in this website under Artivism, as well as in in the Studio archive under keywords such as Climate Justice and more.
Mona's book illustrations have included collaborations with author Rebecca Solnit, and a children's book based on an Afghani Sufi tale that has been translated into Spanish, Dari and Pashto. She has also created a number of posters for music and cultural events in her home town of San Francisco, some music album art, and editorial illustration.
Mona's illustration work can be seen in the Studio side of this website.
Born and raised in the wild and verdant Centovalli region of Ticino, Switzerland, Mona owes her love of botany and the natural form to her childhood's natural surroundings, and to her mother and grandmother's teachings. She mysteriousy inherited her style of depicting plants from her grandfather, a botanical illustrator, even though were never close.
Her father, theater set designer Peter Bissegger, also influenced her concern with a visual environment’s influence on a viewer's emotions and vitality.
Mona briefly studied English literature at the University of Zurich before relocating to San Francisco, where she attended the Academy of Art University, graduating with honors BFA in illustration.
In the last decade, through her Weeds projects, she had delved into artwork that combines painting with photography, through the creation of stop-motion mural animations and short videos.