Irina Weiss, A/K/A Sugarbombing, resides in Mexico City, Madrid, Brooklyn and Oakland while traveling far and wide in-between


When I first moved to Oakland it was 1998. I lived on Market Street in West Oakland and loved that neighborhood. Some of the happiest memories of my life are from living there. When I moved out, I have always returned on a regular basis. I just couldn’t stay away from those streets.

Since then, I have witnessed how the city has changed exponentially. With a continuous stream of tech companies flooding in and real estate prices rising, the original residents of the city have been displaced. Newcomers bring commerce and new dynamics to working class neighborhoods.

Oakland has become more expensive than Brooklyn (a place that I deeply love and has been home to me for 10 years) with the main difference being the homeless encampments that have started sprouting under every bridge in the city.

I decided to document these changes and talk to the residents of the encampments, compiling their stories to better understand their daily struggles. And, the role that race, gender and capitalism play in homelessness in a city that has become completely gentrified by tech companies.

Every portrait has a story behind it. I have very strong bonds with some of my subjects, and more casual relationships and conversations with others, but every second I have spent with them has been precious and humbling. 

Together with a group of friends and graffiti writers, we conceptualized — “A House in Oakland” — a project created to give something back to the homeless community.

These images are a compilation of portraits taken in the 2-year span of the project. 


LOOK in the Windows
a stARTling Public Space™ Project

3, 2, 1 ... CONTACT