Artist Finds Beauty in the Windswept West Side

By Jonathan Farrell

One of the special aspects about the Sunset District that artist Douglas Gorney appreciates most is “the ocean light,” especially during the autumn and the city’s “Indian summer.”

Gorney says the Sunset’s landscape has inspired him to sketch and paint full time.


 Artist Douglas Gorney holds a painting of the iconic Doggie Diner dachshund
head that is located on a pedestal on Sloat Boulevard near the SF Zoo. Photos: Philip Liborio Gangi.

“The Doelger-style homes, the Art Deco, the atmospheric light, even at night with fog, the Sunset has ignited my artistic muse. I can’t get enough,” he said. “San Francisco has been painted, sketched and photographed well enough, almost to a cliché,” said Gorney. “But not much has been depicted of the Sunset District. I really didn’t realize it until I moved here over four years ago.

“I sense something special about the Sunset and it simply resonates with me,” Gorney explained.

Gorney was born in the Mission District at St. Luke’s Hospital and raised in San Francisco.

“I grew up in the Telegraph Hill, North Beach area and didn’t really venture much to other parts of the City,” he said. “I rarely visited the west side of the City. I think the only time I remember being near the Sunset was when I made an occasional visit to Ocean Beach, near Playland.”

After high school, Gorney went to the College of the Arts in Oakland and then on to the Art Institute of Chicago.

SB_InsidePhoto_DGorney“I enjoyed my time there. I traveled across the country and even to Europe,” he said. “But I am a San Franciscan and I had to come back home.

“In art school I majored in sculpture. But life took a series of turns for me and I really didn’t do art as planned until my dad had a stroke.”

Part of his father’s recovery was to do art therapy, through drawing and painting. To help his father he joined him in the use of pencils, pen and ink and water colors. Gorney discovered at this time that he liked sketching and painting and continued to do so even after his father passed away in 2014.

Gorney was living in the Mission but got pushed out by rising rents. He landed in the Sunset, on 48th Avenue, just a block from Ocean Beach.

“Much to my surprise, I found myself here in the Sunset,” Gorney said. “The first thing I noticed and appreciated most was how quiet it is and how the Sunset is like a little town, away from downtown, with lots of community.”

Gorney enjoys going to places like the Streamline Cafe and Art Gallery on Taraval Street. He had a showing of his works on the wall there this past spring.

“Doug is sincere, funny and very gifted,” said Dion Garcia, the gallery manager at Streamline. “His work shows our neighborhood in a positive and creative light and Doug has really taken to being a part of our community here out by Ocean Beach,” Garcia said.

Gorney hopes his local renderings will bring him more commissioned work.

“I don’t know how long I will be doing this,” said Gorney. “But I sense there is something special about the Sunset District and it wants me to tell its story.”

For more information about Douglas Gorney and his work, visit the website at or send an email to


Categories: Art

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