Artist Kurt Dalen, 30, Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver on Valencia Near Duboce

Kurt Dalen, a 30-year-old Mission District artist, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Valencia Street south of Duboce Avenue at about 2:45 a.m. last Thursday.

Kurt Dalen. Screenshot from a 2009 video about his work on Vimeo.

The SF Chronicle, describing Dalen as “a painter whose work has been heavily influenced by the Mission’s street culture,” reported Friday:

He was struck near Clinton Park, an alleyway, by a dark, four-door sedan that fled the scene, police said.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Investigators have been looking for leads, but the driver and his whereabouts remained unknown Friday, said Officer Gordon Shyy, a police spokesman. Police have not detailed exactly how Dalen was hit.

According to SFist, a friend of Dalen’s said he had “left a nearby bar and was trying to hail a cab when he was hit in the street.”

Dalen is the 14th pedestrian known to have been killed by a driver in San Francisco this year. Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider pointed out that Dalen is one of six people hit and severely injured or killed by a driver in the past two weeks.

“Unfortunately, the holidays will mark a time of mourning, rather than celebration, for too many families this year,” Schneider said. The city shouldn’t wait to build out the permanent safety infrastructure called for in the SFMTA’s Pedestrian Strategy before taking action, she added. Walk SF is “calling on the city to step up efforts to protect people who walk by building more temporary projects on our most dangerous streets that prevent traffic crimes now.” Last month, the SFMTA installed the city’s first sidewalk extensions using paint and other temporary materials on Sixth Street.

Dalen went by the name ‘Vote’ in street art circles, according to SFist, and his moniker can be seen on memorials placed on Valencia. The Chronicle continues:

Dalen was known locally for his figurative paintings, which friends and associates said were largely inspired by his time spent in the Mission. Murals, graffiti and cartoons color his portfolio.

He graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in the fall of 2010, and he remained close to fellow students and faculty.

“I think Kurt really embodied the ethos of the art institute,” said Jennifer Rissler, associate dean for academic affairs. “He was tenacious, he had the do-it-yourself sensibility, and he was committed to art.”

In a 2009 interview posted on Vimeo, Dalen spoke about his work.

“I’m not a technical painter. I don’t say, ‘Oh, OK,’ I’m going to be in the studio painting for a while and then my paintings are going to get better,” he said. “It’s more the idea.”

A memorial for Dalen. Photo via Uptown Almanac