There’s an opportunity that, the subsequent time you utilize a San Francisco bar’s picture sales space, it is one Graham Loft made.
Loft was killed on August 11, when a automobile struck and killed him as he rode his pink motorbike close to Market and Danvers streets, within the Castro neighborhood. He was the co-founder of Glass Coat Photograph Sales space, an organization that rented out and constructed customized cubicles, and specialised the cubicles’ image expertise.
Based in 2010, the corporate established a photograph sales space mini-empire, dotting watering holes on either side of the Bay Bridge with its creations, and attracting orders by the likes of LinkedIn and the Grammys. Shoppers who wished to intimately doc private milestones, like weddings and birthdays, rented them, too. So, it was solely proper that one was delivered to Loft’s memorial.
Loft died simply 4 days shy of his 42nd birthday. That Thursday morning, he ensured a crockpot filled with his household’s dinner was cooking earlier than he left the home. Days later his spouse, Pia, marked the site visitors mild on the intersection with a card. She signed a message on behalf of their two youngsters, Niko, Four and a half, and Remy, 2 and a half. “We love you and miss you.”
Loft was born as Graham Michael French on Aug. 15, 1980, in Memphis, Tenn. By center faculty, his mom, Mary Corridor, and Loft landed in Lawrenceville, Ga., the place, every day, Loft, then a bleached-blonde teen, skateboarded to Collins Hill Excessive College. He attended from 1995 to 1999.
It was the ’90s, and Loft proved himself a disciple of skate tradition by erecting a self-made altar in his childhood room: From ground to ceiling had been photos of skateboard icons that Loft lower out of magazines. Solely hawk-eyed visitors found that Loft cheekily changed among the skate boarders’ faces together with his personal.
“We had been misplaced boys who discovered one another,” childhood buddy Wes Duvall mentioned.
As ringleader of their daredevil group, Loft satisfied his buddies to sneak out to Atlanta previous curfew, and to plot pranks towards his youthful brother, Robert. “Do you keep in mind that?” Robert jokingly accused just a few of Loft’s buddies ultimately week’s memorial on the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park. That sport the place Loft pinned Robert to the bottom and would knuckle his sternum till the youthful sibling efficiently listed 10 fruits?
Regardless of his mischievous escapades, Georgia couldn’t include Loft’s spirit. At age 10, Loft informed his mom: “After I develop up, I wish to journey the world,” Mary recalled on the memorial. “And he did.”
After highschool, Loft ventured to Canada, England, Spain, Egypt, and Asia. He took a biking and images journey in Tibet and China, the place he dodged police and discovered firsthand that yak meat wasn’t certainly one of his favourite meals. Pals recall Loft gifting Polaroid photographs to the Tibetan households he met.
San Francisco days
In 2001, Loft moved to San Francisco “to pursue his love of skateboarding.” That love would lead him, uncharacteristically, to church, the place a skateboard-riding congregant may stand out. He caught the eye of Dan Whiteley, who credit that day as the start of a long-lasting friendship.
The pair rapidly bonded over different music and shredding. Whiteley, on the time the artwork director for the skateboard journal Thrasher, roped Loft into taking freelance music photographs of long-admired stars and musicians. The pair noticed Billy Idol on the Warfield, and Loft photographed Moby’s Los Angeles home for an structure journal. Whiteley and Loft launched a band, Franc-Blanc, a riff off their final names.
To complement his freelance work, Loft valeted. He additionally enrolled in images courses at San Francisco Metropolis School, spending his days in a darkroom.
In the meantime, a chance to purchase a barn-full of low-cost mopeds arose and loft, as he usually approached life, seized it. Loft took a Puch Magnum, and determined his buddies and others ought to begin a moped-riding group. “Should you journey mopeds, we would like you,” his Craiglist adverts would say. By 2004, the San Francisco moped military Creatures of the Loin was born.
If a creature wanted to repair a damaged bike, Loft would do it for a commerce. Loft constructed a customized moped for his buddy Chuck Donoghue, who repaid him in tattoos. He and Zach Levenberg beat a casual moped file for his or her journey to South America.
By 2008, buddies mentioned, Loft grew to become a photograph assistant. Then the recession hit, together with the belief that an financial downturn did not pair properly with a freelancing profession. With a buddy, Loft launched Glass Coat Photograph Sales space, a rental and customized picture sales space firm.
“We simply noticed there are no picture sales space rental corporations, and we determined to construct one and bid our time whereas issues smoothed over,” Loft informed me in an interview about his office earlier this month. “After which the corporate type of took off,” he mentioned. He appreciated how picture cubicles appealed to a time when there was nonetheless “appeal in a stolen kiss.”
Fittingly, Loft spent twenty years doing this work inside an artist collective on the Heinzer Warehouse. Regardless of the chaotic and odd characters who crammed the crumbling area, Loft’s work desk was at all times tidy, mentioned Ethel Brennan, an artist who shared an area with him for a yr. In the course of the pandemic, the pair mentioned parenting, artistry, and unconventional well being suggestions.
Loft, a believer in toe socks and toe sneakers, consuming meat straight from the bone, and consuming bulletproof espresso, tried to transform his buddies to those practices. “I mentioned, ‘I am by no means carrying toe-shoes,'” Brennan informed him when Loft confirmed up carrying a pair.
Open to his well being recommendation, nevertheless, what Pia, his future spouse. Loft laid eyes on Pia at a Yoga for the Individuals Class, the place she elusively decamped earlier than he might method her. Loft resorted to Craiglists’ Missed Connections part to land a date. “She mainly came to visit for dinner one evening and by no means left,” Levenberg recalled.
The couple wed at Metropolis Corridor in 2015, and celebrated at a Hawaiian-themed occasion on the Alexander Valley Lodge in Northern California. A photograph they took there — Loft in an open-mouthed, goofy expression, and Pia kissing his cheek — could be the primary picture prospects noticed on the Glass Coat Photograph Sales space Yelp web page. “Solely the very best high quality photographs ALL THE TIME!” the caption reads. The couple welcomed two youngsters: Niko in 2017, and Remy in 2020, whose photographs occupy quite a lot of area on Loft’s Instagram.
When the pandemic hit, enterprise for picture cubicles plummeted. Undeterred, Loft remodeled into “Helpful Graham,” and accomplished odd jobs. “He informed me as soon as that he screwed in a lightbulb for somebody for $100,” Whiteley mentioned.
Graham Loft of Glass Coat Photograph Sales space in his part of the studio on the Heinzer Warehouse. Forward is a photograph sales space he’s designing for the brewery, Almanac Beer Co. in Alameda. Photograph taken by Annika Hom, August 10, 2022. Graham Loft of Glass Coat Photograph Sales space firm. Loft was a tenant on the Ernie Heinzer Warehouse. Photograph taken by Annika Hom, August 8, 2022.
By 2022, the orders had picked up once more. He took day off to finish a bike journey to Utah, “a serious bucket-list journey,” Donoghue mentioned, earlier than resuming work. In a latest textual content to a different buddy mentioned, “4-5 extra cubicles and I will be capable to get this fam to Hawaii :).”
This summer season, Loft discovered the Heinzer Warehouse, the place he’d labored for a dozen years, could be offered. He fretted over his unfinished tasks, together with a photograph sales space he designed for Almanac Beer Co. in Alameda. He secured one other work spot in El Cerrito, the place his household moved, however nonetheless would grieve shedding his “foothold” within the metropolis. He cherished the warehouse for the friendships.
“There’ve been so many individuals out and in of the constructing, individuals I might usually not meet. So many artists,” Loft mentioned. About one artist, Erik Otto, he mentioned: “I will know him for the remainder of my life, you realize?”
Discover extra about Loft right here.