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!

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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!

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Three colorful faces in National City!

Enjoy these photos of an amazing mural in National City!

In 2014, local artist Gloria Muriel, who often signs her work with the moniker Glow, painted three colorful faces on the front of the One-Ten Liquor Store and Puff Bar, located at the corner of National City Boulevard and 1st Street.

She painted additional images on the building’s side and rear, but I didn’t take photos because parked cars blocked the most interesting parts.

These three elemental faces, themselves a little weathered and faded by the passage of time, still stand out beautifully as you drive (or walk) past! (I did add a little contrast to my photographs, however.)

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!

Beautiful art painted on The Nola in San Ysidro!

This September I enjoyed a special tour of murals that had been painted in San Ysidro for an international cross-border exhibition of urban art. You can revisit those photos by clicking here.

Today during my walk along West San Ysidro Boulevard I noticed one of the murals, which had been a work in progress at the time, is finished!

The stylish artwork is by Filipino artist Mary Jhun. It beautifies an historic apartment building called La Nola, located across the street from The FRONT Arte Cultura gallery.

I learned that The Nola is presently being renovated. The front of this building will be stuccoed so that it more closely resembles its original appearance.

I also learned that artist Juan Carlos Galindo, known as GRVR, who participated in the same cross-border exhibition, will be adding his unique graffiti-like artwork to this very cool building as well!

As an extra added bonus, please enjoy these photos of new street art that I found in the vicinity of The Nola. They were painted by Gerardo Meza, whose fun art can be found all over San Ysidro!

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!

Contemporary art sculptures at UTC mall.

I stopped by the UTC mall in University City last Saturday on my way from downtown San Diego to North County.

Laugh if you want, but it’s probably thirty or forty years since I last took a leisurely stroll around what used to be called University Towne Center. (When I was a young man, a friend and I would visit the arcade above the ice skating rink and play pinball, Defender, Galaga, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede…)

Over the past ten years, Westfield UTC has been renovated and enlarged. Today it’s not just a popular outdoor mall, but a major entertainment destination. (And before long the Mid-Coast Trolley extension, the construction of which appears to be making great progress, will terminate at the UTC Transit Center.)

As I wandered randomly about the mall last weekend, I noticed a number of very interesting sculptures along a stretch of its perimeter. Out came my camera. I read on some plaques that the three Beverly Pepper sculptures belong to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

After I got home and did a little research, I found out I’d missed other sculptures scattered throughout the mall. Perhaps I’ll have to make another visit in the future!

Here’s what I saw:

Three Graces (Madam in Bloom, Madam Elegance, Madam Beauty), Yuriy Akopov, 2016/2017…

Octo, Anthony Howe, 2015…

The First Amphitheater, Beverly Pepper, 1965…

West Coast School, Laddie John Dill, 2017…

Severio Column, Beverly Pepper, 1978…

Zeus Triad, Beverly Pepper, 1997-1999…

Radix, Joshua Koffman, 2017…

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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Murals behind San Ysidro’s The Front gallery!

An astonishing abstract face painted on the rear of The FRONT art gallery in San Ysidro!
An astonishing abstract face painted on the rear of The FRONT art gallery in San Ysidro!

As you saw in my last blog post, yesterday I enjoyed a tour of the “Walls – Cross Border Urban Art/Muros – Arte Urbano Interfronterizo” outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro.

After Francisco Morales, Gallery Director of The FRONT Arte Cultura, provided a walking tour of the exhibition’s public murals, we took a short walk through The FRONT gallery building itself. When we stepped out back, where there’s a small parking area, my eyes opened wide. More amazing murals!

The dazzling abstract face, which appears to me like a joining of the technological and the spiritual, was painted in 2013 by two popular, well-known artists.

The left half was created by Gibran Isaias Lopez, commonly known as Isaias Crow. His work appears in several places on Cool San Diego Sights. A few weeks ago I posted photos of his incredible mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School here!

The right half of the mural is the creation of Jari “Werc” Alvarez, who was born in Cd. Juárez, Mexico and raised in El Paso, Texas. He spends a lot of time working in New York City. You might have seen a past mural he painted at San Diego International Airport. I took a photo of it four years ago here.

A second, very wonderful mural beside The FRONT’s rear parking area depicts colorful, smiling sea creatures. I learned it was painted years ago by lots of happy kids.

The FRONT Arte Cultura is a very cool gallery operated by the San Ysidro community organization Casa Familiar. The gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions, educational programs and community events.

Check out The FRONT’s website here. If you’re a lover of art, music and culture, you should listen to their series of podcasts!

The FRONT Arte Cultura is an art gallery in San Ysidro operated by the community organization Casa Familiar.
The FRONT Arte Cultura is an art gallery in San Ysidro operated by the community organization Casa Familiar.

This extraordinary mural, created in 2013, can be found behind The FRONT art gallery, beside a parking area. The left side was painted by Isaias Crow, the right side by Werc Alvarez.
This extraordinary mural, created in 2013, can be found behind The FRONT art gallery, beside a parking area. The left side was spray painted by Isaias Crow, the right side by Werc Alvarez.

Francisco Morales, Gallery Director of The FRONT, smiles for a photo by this very cool mural.
Francisco Morales, Gallery Director of The FRONT, smiles for a photo by this very cool mural.

Another fun mural beside the parking area was painted years ago by happy kids. I've never seen so many smiling sea creatures!
Another fun mural beside the parking area was painted years ago by happy kids. I’ve never seen so many smiling sea creatures!

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!

Amazing mural at Chula Vista Yoga Center!

Check out this amazing mural!

Today I went for a walk through Chula Vista. My camera really started clicking on E Street outside the Chula Vista Yoga Center.

If you recognize the distinctive style of this very colorful, abstract mural, that’s because it’s by local artist Maxx Moses, and you’ve seen other examples of his work on my blog. His artwork, which seems a fusion of familiar forms and strange, layered dreams, produces a feeling that is both cosmic and spiritual. Definitely fitting for a yoga studio!

Very cool!

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!

More murals painted in amazing Hillcrest alley!

Maxx Moses mural in a Hillcrest alley. Son, mommy LOVES YOU.
Maxx Moses mural in a Hillcrest alley. Son, mommy LOVES YOU.

More murals have been painted in an amazing alley in Hillcrest! You can find this alley directly behind The Studio Door on Fourth Avenue, where many local artists exhibit their work.

I last visited the alley a year and a half ago and found two fantastic murals by Fizix, which you can see here. (The second and third murals I photographed in that blog post–the Cigar Cave and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eating pizza.)

Well, now there’s a huge, super cool mural by Maxx Moses, and another equally cool mural across the alley from it by Gloria Muriel. All of this creativity flowed from the hands, minds and hearts of prolific local artists whose street art can be seen all over San Diego!

Continuation of the Maxx Moses mural around the corner.
Continuation of the Maxx Moses mural around the corner.

Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.
Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.

Gloria Muriel mural in a Hillcrest alley.
Gloria Muriel mural in a Hillcrest alley.

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!

Photos of more sculptures on Shelter Island!

There’s a surprising abundance of public art on Shelter Island. Sculptures seem to be everywhere! I’ve already shared photos of most.

Amazing sculptures along the length of Shelter Island can be seen here and here and here and here and here and here and here!

As you might recall, yesterday’s blog post featured a few photographs from a walk in front of the Silver Gate Yacht Club. I looked skyward at a bronze sailor high on a ship’s mast holding a spyglass. During that same walk along Shelter Island Drive yesterday, I paused to admire three additional sculptures!

The first graces a parking entrance to Humphrey’s world-famous outdoor concert venue. I’m not sure who created the artwork. I could see no plaque, nor find any information. Part of the metal sculpture looks like an electric guitar. Or perhaps it’s an abstract face producing jagged sound waves! I hope someone out there knows more about it.

The next photo is of a small sculpture perched outside the lobby of the Island Palms Hotel.

It appears to have been created by Alber de Matteis, the same artist who created that very first sculpture I linked to. He has a distinctive style.

Lastly, the third sculpture is definitely by Alber de Matteis! According to a nearby plaque, it’s titled Timeless Wave.

Like a blue wave curling in to the earthy shore, the graceful artwork stands between Shelter Island Drive and a hotel parking lot, directly in front of the Island Palms Hotel’s Casa Del Mar Building. It was dedicated June 2009.

The plaque features a short but evocative poem that begins:

The Waves ebb and flow,
they are the breath of the ocean.
Like two hands reaching out for one another…

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