Russell H.

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Hey there, I've been wandering the streets of San Francisco and staring at the walls, poles, fences, and sidewalks, since 1997. The City's urban landscapes can be filled with graffiti, murals, stickers, stencils, and other creative styles.

I have been documenting, writing about, and making stencils since 1995.

In 2008, I wrote the book "Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art." It has over 500 photos, 400 artists, from 28 countries. I also have a website (since 2002) with over 20,000 photographs of street art documented. I have exhibited art shows as well as written essays for art books.

Go here for more info: www.stencilarchive.org

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Reviews for Russell H.
Anya M.

Fantastic, insightful, exciting- can't say enough good things about this tour! Russell is very down-to-earth and knowledgeable about the art and artists. He navigates the nuances and various view points around the street are in a thoughtful way. I also appreciated how personal the tour felt in our small group of 3.

Pam W.

Best tour ever! My 18 year old son and I loved it. The history, the stories, the inside scoop, the art, the artists, the neighbors, the architecture, the playground, the alleys, the Guide. Russell was interesting, informative, insightful, and fun. I highly recommend this tour. And I learned a lot! Inspired me to learn more. Fascinating new world.

Anne D.

Russel really knows the subject History, artists, pieces, Great quality tour If you like street art a must do

Anne D.

Russel really knows the subject History, artists, pieces, Great quality tour If you like street art a must do


Nothing to say - it was great) Everyone should try that)


Wow, it looks so modern

Andreas P.

Had a great solo street art tour with Russel Howze in the mission district. He was informative and very knowledgable. We strolled align taking good time to talk about the history of the neighbourhood art scene and great details about the different pieces since he knows many of the local artists personally. Can warmly recommend it!


Russell is an excellent guide with a wealth of information about street art, its creators, and its intricate history. He actually wrote a book about it! Russell gracefully navigates through SF's Tenderloin and SoMa neighborhoods and points out the beauty sprouting out from the darkest corners, streets, and alleys. I personally have been looking forward to taking this trip for several years, but have never gotten around to taking it. Russell and the art he showcased definitely did not disappoint. I took a private trip, and it was wonderful. He gives you a new, beautiful perspective to the city. With so much going on, it's easy to miss many of the artistic wonders that are right in front of your eyes. Russell points them out for you. I took a two-hour tour, which I thought would be more than enough. It barely skimmed the surface! I could have easily continued happily for an additional two hours! Russell knows such intricate detail and history about the artwork and the artists behind them, that with all the information he shares, you almost want to take out a notebook and take notes to reference later! However, there's no need to take the trouble to do so! Why? Russell provides you with a link to a map of the places visited during the tour, as well as an email list of all the artists, and additional galleries and websites of interest. I really considered that above and beyond! I highly recommend this tour!


Our group loved the tour, Russell was extremely knowledgeable and engaging. We only had an hour and a half for the tor but wish we had more time with him as it was so good. I highly recommend.

Gila C.

We took a 3 hours tour with Russel. It was a wonderful experience. Russel was very knowledgeable, and his guidance was facinating, easy going and made the 3 hours fly. We walked the alleys that we otherwise would never go there and saw the many faces that Mission District offers. We strongly recommend this tour as a way to explore a different angle of San Francisco.

Casey C.

This is an off-the-beaten trail unique San Francisco experience you can't miss. Russell is an incredibly knowledgable and cool guide who gives you a relaxed tour at your own pace. He's met, and knows personally, many of the artists that he shows on the street and gives you insight into that world with its undercurrents and unwritten stories and laws. Since the tour, it's been fun to begin to really see all of this art that I had previously just walked by!

Nirmal T.

We took a tour with Russell around the Mission district in SF. Russell is an awesome tour guide! For one Russell really knows his way around the best street art in SF. Russell understands the theory and types of art and walks you through identifying these on the streets. Finally Russell loves the art around SF, knows a lot of artists personally and loves the vibrant diversity of the city and its expression! I'd go out scouting the streets of SF with Russell again!


Russell was a great and knowledgeable guide on my tour of the Tenderloin last weekend. Some really fabulous, large murals in this neighborhood, which is definitely a neighborhood in transition. Russell gave great background on the art and the area, and is clearly passionate about his work. Recommended!

Tyrrell S.

Russell was a super legit street art guide! I always felt comfortable on the tour, knew I was seeing the art the way it should be seen, and with an insider who truly appreciates all the gems on the tour. Highly recommended!

Michelle K.

This was a great tour! San Francisco has lots of interesting street art and Russell is super knowledgeable about it and a great tour guide - really flexible and helpful. This is a really fun thing to do on a free afternoon in SF.

Rosemary H.

I was looking for something different to do that would interest a group ranging in age from 18 to 60 years old. This fit the bill perfectly. Russell is a great tour guide. Enthusiastic, articulate and well-informed. We were a group of 5 and took a weekend tour. Russell was reliable, met us at the agreed upon spot at the agreed upon time. I would do this tour again.

Julie P.

I highly recommend this experience! We had a fantastic time with Russell. Being an artist himself, Russell is passionate and knowledgeable about all forms of street art. The tour is well-curated: you will get to see and learn about a wide range of pieces and street art history in general. The tour is great for both Bay Area denizens and out-of-town visitors. My eyes have been opened, and I now not only see street art in all the places I never noticed before, but I can appreciate it as well. Thanks Russell!

Martha W.

This tour was excellent. Russell was very knowledgeable, passionate, answered many questions and took us to lots of streets filled with street art where we were able to see fantastic art. We managed to book him last minute just for the 4 of us. Fully recommended.

Jeff A.

Russell gave us a fantastic tour - he is the ultimate street art historian with many interesting stories and perspectives. We loved it. And he took us on the hottest August 15 in SF history. Don't miss Russell's version of San Francisco!

Lisa C.

Looks like so much fun!