Inspiring murals celebrate human resilience.

Resilience, by Lydia Puentes Phillips.

A couple of murals that celebrate human resilience are presently on display at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

The two murals are an offshoot of the 1000 Cranes Project, that sought to bring strength and comfort to those isolated during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This modest exhibition concerning one very important topic was originally part of a pop up museum at the Beardsley Event Center in Barrio Logan. Now those who visit the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy the inspiring artwork.

Resilience, by David Lee.

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The mysterious Coastal Helix sculpture in Carlsbad!

Have you ever wondered about that mysterious shining sculpture in the traffic roundabout at the north end of Carlsbad? You know, where Carlsbad Boulevard meets State Street, just south of the Buena Vista Lagoon?

The fantastic sculpture is titled Coastal Helix. It was created by California artist Roger White Stoller in 2014. Learn more about him here.

As you drive past the silvery flame-like public artwork, watching for merging traffic, you can’t fully appreciate it.

During my walk up the Coast Highway last weekend in Carlsbad I approached Coastal Helix and took a variety of photos. You can see how small stories appear to be told in the metalwork. One sees birds, frogs, surfers, and many other lively elements all mixed together.

According to the artist’s description here: “A celebration of the Pacific Ocean and coastal lagoons, the stainless pattern incorporates abstracted imagery of local flora and fauna: a whale, pelican, heron, crab, bird-of-paradise, waves and many more elements can be discovered. Gateway to the city, it stands atop artisan boulders built by Boulderscape and designed to replicate the local sandstone cliffs…”

These coastal inhabitants all seem to have spiraled upward mysteriously from the rocks upon which the sculpture is perched.

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Rose Creek depicted on new Fire Station 50!

Monumental public art debuted late last year, when the new San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 50 opened in University City. I saw the artwork for the first time on Saturday and took these photographs!

The huge metal sculpture on the building’s side represents “blue” Rose Creek running through “coppery” Rose Canyon, which the fire station is positioned above!

The artist, Susan Zoccola, has an assortment of great photos on her website, including images taken at night when the sculpture is lit. (I had to take my own shots into the sunlight. A little photo editing produced the results you see here.)

At first sight I thought the bluish wire-like tubes that compose the river represent smoke! Or perhaps the tall grass by the sidewalk! But, no. The vertically arranged river runs across perforated copper layers that intentionally appear like a topographic map–the type of map firefighters often use.

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A colorful Cultural Fusion in City Heights!

City Heights is one of San Diego’s most culturally diverse communities.

Over the decades, immigrants have arrived in waves from different parts of the world, making this neighborhood in east San Diego their new home.

So it’s not surprising to find public art in City Heights that celebrates diversity and the dynamic interaction of people who have converged from different places.

Cultural Fusion is an abstract sculpture that stands near the entrance of the La Maestra Community Health Center in City Heights. The public art was created in 2015 by local artist Jim Bliesner, in collaboration with Victor Chavez Metal Works.

I took these photographs today!

To me, the colorful shapes that compose Cultural Fusion appear like symbols and ideas and fragments of life that continually collide and intermix, joining in places, producing new offshoots, creating endless combinations of complexity and beauty.

It sort of looks like music.

That’s what happens when many people with very different life stories come together in one place.

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Community sculpture at entrance to Escondido.

If you’ve ever entered or departed downtown Escondido via West Valley Parkway, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a large, quite interesting sculpture a short distance east of Interstate 15. The sculpture stands at the intersection of Valley Parkway and Tulip Street, right next to the Gateway Shopping Center.

The cast bronze sculpture is titled Community. It was created by local artist Jeff Lindeneau in 1990.

The sun’s light forms dynamic human shapes that are “cut out” of the two triangular sections of Community.

According to a City of Escondido walking tour brochure: “This bronze, copper and locally mined granite sculpture celebrates people living and building together to achieve a common goal. The dramatic sculpture’s shape is reminiscent of the mountains surrounding Escondido with a central passageway depicting the valley.”

I like how you can see trees, hillsides, signs, buildings, light posts and electrical wires inside the human shapes. They, too, are part of Community.

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A peculiar Brain/Cloud seascape in La Jolla!

Stand by the water at La Jolla Cove and look up toward the buildings on the hill above you. Is that the ocean up there, too?

See that lone palm tree painted on a building with a cloud shaped like a brain hovering above it? That’s one of the Murals of La Jolla, and it’s the creation of an internationally famous conceptual artist, John Baldessari. His Brain/Cloud (with Seascape and Palm Tree), 2011, can be viewed up close by diners at the George’s at the Cove restaurant.

John Baldessari explained: “A brain can look like a cloud if you manipulate it in the right way. We see things in clouds. It looks like it’s hovering almost from outer space. I like banal images and I can’t think of anything more banal than a palm tree and an ocean.”

In the present day, with the rising importance of artificial intelligence and cloud computing, this curious image might suggest something quite different!

Born in National City, Baldessari grew up in San Diego. According to Wikipedia: “In 1959, Baldessari began teaching art in the San Diego school system. He taught for nearly three decades, in schools and junior colleges and community colleges, and eventually at the university level. When the University of California decided to open up a campus in San Diego, the new head of the Visual Art Department, Paul Brach, asked Baldessari to be part of the originating faculty in 1968…” He passed away last year.

Baldessari’s work has been the subject of over 200 national and international solo exhibitions, and his awards are numerous. His provocative art often poses unusual questions, poking at accepted norms, directing the viewer’s perception and mind in unexpected directions.

In the past I’ve photographed a couple other representations of his art, which you can see here and here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Maxx Moses mural at Jerry’s Market.

This is one of the coolest murals I’ve seen! It was painted in 2018 by local artist Maxx Moses.

You’ve might have seen photos of his distinctive, highly inventive murals previously. Click here and you’ll see a variety of blog posts that include Maxx Moses’ work around San Diego.

This really great mural can be found on the parking lot wall outside Jerry’s Market, in San Diego’s southeast community of Mountain View, at the corner of Logan Avenue and 45th Street.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Wheel sculptures at Old Town’s Caltrans building.

If you driven down Taylor Street past Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, you’ve probably seen the big Caltrans building across the street. And you might have observed five sculpted wheels mounted atop a low wall by the sidewalk.

The five wheels together are titled Rodoviaria, and they made their first public appearance in 2006 when the new District 11 Caltrans Office Complex (also known as the Wadie P. Deddeh State Office Building) was dedicated.

Rodoviaria was created by two highly accomplished artists who are brothers: Einar and Jamex De La Torre. Their website describes this public art as: 2005. Rodoviaria, five 50” cantera stone wheels with sand cast glass inclusions, Caltrans District 11 New Campus Facility, San Diego, CA.

Look closely at the glass inclusions and you’ll see not only tiny cars, but all sorts of interesting imagery mixed in. I believe I see beetles, pre-Columbian motifs, masks, hands, abstract human figures…

A plaque on the wall beneath one of the wheels reads:

Einar and Jamex de la Torre
Rodoviaria, 2006

Transportation provides the mobility that enables cultural exchanges that in turn lead to the creations of new and dynamic cultural hybrids, most evident in California’s border towns and immigrant communities.

The first wave of sustained migration into California was made possible by the wagon wheel. Since then, many wheels have made the mobility and progress possible coupled with an ever changing and richly diverse culture.

Several years ago I posted photos of another example of inventive public art by these Mexican-born brothers. You might recall that big fun robot on Commercial Street. See it again here!

They also created the playful “dioramas” you see as you ride the main glass elevator at the San Diego Central Library. I hope to take photos of that one day, too!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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The unusual Rancho Peñasquitos Post Office!

The front of the Rancho Peñasquitos Post Office building doesn’t feature art, it IS the art!

I was walking through Rancho Peñasquitos yesterday when I saw something shiny and silvery up on a hill, so I investigated. These photographs show what I discovered!

Few people were around on a Sunday, which made this sight even more surreal. It was as though I’d stepped into a contemporary sculpture garden, and this was the enormous abstract centerpiece.

I don’t know a single thing about his unusual post office building. I tried to google its history, date of construction, designer . . . could find nothing.

If I do happen upon any information concerning the architecture of this very unique post office, I’ll “post” an update here!

If you know anything, please leave a comment!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Bursts of beauty in Solana Beach!

Yesterday I took some interesting photographs of the tall sculpture that stands just west of the intersection of Highway 101 and Plaza Street in Solana Beach.

This public artwork looks almost like bursts of confetti up in the sky, or exploding fireworks, or atoms with their packed nuclei and fuzzy electron clouds suspended in space, or sudden irrepressible explosions of joy!

The sculpture blends in quite nicely with nearby palm trees, as you can see…

A bronze plaque at the sculpture’s base reads:

Plaza Beautification
1965-1967
A Gift to the Community from
SOLANA BEACH
WOMEN’S CIVIC CLUB
with appreciation to
Wadell Austin
Wenetta Childs
and other contributors

I believe the sculpture is titled Child’s Fountain. See a map of Solana Beach public artwork here.

To learn more about the sculpture and the artist who created it, Wenetta Childs, read this article.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!