Out beyond Golden Gate Field's sprawling parking lot at the tip of the mile-long rubble-heap-in-the-bay-turned-state-park known as the Albany Bulb, some of the East Bay's brightest colors are beginning to fade. The once-mysterious band of artists who signed as Sniff (which they say stands only for the thing dogs do) has left a playfully provocative artistic legacy that, as their Web page wryly notes, "will remain on display at their self-created outdoor gallery until nature or governmental agencies decide otherwise." For more than five years the four friends -- artists Bruce Rayburn, David Ryan, Scott Hewitt, and Scott Meadows -- snuck out to the westernmost shore of this peninsula of weed-choked riprap and twisted steel early each Saturday morning to create a rough-hewn art environment of painted concrete slabs, driftwood sculptures, and a long line of outsize paintings on sheets of plywood in a singular style suggestive of Hieronymus Bosch catapulted into a 21st-century urban purgatory. Unsought publicity came to the collaborative last summer when murder defendant Scott Peterson's lawyers suggested a satanic cult was responsible for both the artwork and the killing of Peterson's pregnant wife. "After that, it was no longer fun," Rayburn said in explaining why the group had broken up a few months ago. "And it was all about having fun." But there is still fun to be had viewing the results of this extraordinary collaboration, until the elements or the state have their way and wipe the beach clean.
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