The extraordinary mosaics of Azalea Park!

Some of the most extraordinary public art in San Diego can be found in Azalea Park, a neighborhood at the south end of City Heights. Walk or drive along the streets of Azalea Park and you’ll discover unexpected mosaics decorating the sides of trashcans and round sidewalk benches.

When you stop to look closely at these mosaics, it becomes evident that a great deal of effort, thought and artistry was involved in their making. The beautiful designs are truly stunning. Look at the coming photographs and see for yourself.

I was surprised to learn that all of these fantastic mosaics were created by a volunteer group of Azalea Park residents! The team of community beautifiers call themselves the Azalea Park Mosaic League!

Led by local artist Vicki Leon, members of the Azalea Park Mosaic League continue to make their neighborhood a more attractive and welcoming place.

A couple days ago I posted photos of their Art’s Popping Up mosaic sculpture on Poplar Street. If you haven’t seen that yet, click here!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Vicki Leon’s art studio in Azalea Park. The following two photographs show beautiful lotus mosaics that will be installed in Little Saigon, and how she is helping friends and neighbors to create their own mosaic street address signs! Check our her website here.

Her work, and the volunteer efforts of the Azalea Park Mosaic League, can inspire us all to make our own neighborhoods more beautiful!

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!

Famous painting by Bruegel turns to chalk!

This afternoon a famous painting displayed in the Timken Museum of Art was turned to chalk! I witnessed part of the transformation myself, right in front of the museum in Balboa Park!

The Timken Museum’s summer weekend Creation Station event continued today. Part of the fun was a chalk art recreation of the 1557 painting Parable of the Sower, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Anybody walking through the Plaza de Panama could watch the chalk artist at work. If you want to compare the chalk art I photographed with the actual oil painting, click here!

The outdoor Creation Station’s amazing chalk art flows from the talented hands of @sidewalk_chalk_dad.

Unfortunately, I didn’t walk by after the artwork was completed. Use your imagination!

You can see another chalk art recreation of a painting in the Timken’s fine art collection by clicking here!

That smiling guy covered with chalk? The artist, of course!

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!

National Carousel Day in Balboa Park!

Everyone got a free ride on the Balboa Park Carousel today! That’s because it’s National Carousel Day!

Lots of excited kids and families were waiting for their ride on the historic carousel when I walked by. Every year on National Carousel Day people head to Balboa Park just for the special occasion!

The wonderful old carousel was built in 1910 by Herschell-Spillman Co. in North Tonawanda, New York. It ran for a few years in Luna Park, Los Angeles, then was moved to Coronado’s Tent City in 1913. In 1922 it was transported to Balboa Park where the Fleet Science Center is today. Finally it was moved to its present location near the San Diego Zoo in 1968.

Whenever I pause by the whirling carousel, I enjoy looking at the amazing carved animals, the carnival-like lights and mirrors, and the nostalgic art painted on passing panels. And I love listening to stirring music from the original band organ. I also gaze into a display case that contains historical information and artifacts concerning this special merry-go-round!

I’ve included two photos of the carousel being built back in 1910. Creating the carved animals required true artistry.

When beloved author Ray Bradbury turned a carousel into a time machine, I think he was onto something. Because whenever I ride one, I find that I’m a young boy again.

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!

Art’s Popping Up in Azalea Park!

Art’s Popping Up in colorful Azalea Park!

It is quite literally!

That’s because Art’s Popping Up is the name of a welcoming mosaic sculpture in the median of Poplar Street, at the entrance to Azalea Park, a friendly community in south City Heights!

I enjoyed an inspiring tour around Azalea Park yesterday and will be blogging about lots of amazing artwork.

The bright mosaics on the four sides of Art’s Popping Up were created in 2018 by members of the community. The lead artist, Vicki Leon, has a nearby studio. A team of friends and neighbors, who go by the name Azalea Park Mosaic League, not only helped to create this fantastic sculpture, but with the help of Vicki Leon they’ve produced numerous mosaics throughout Azalea Park.

Several tiles on one side of Art’s Popping Up explain: “This mosaic celebrates art emerging from within our neighborhood. It follows the theme of the Pop Street mosaics on Poplar Street…Framed artworks pop out of an Art Nouveau background, a style of art inspired by the curved lines of plants and flowers, used here to reference Azalea Park’s botanical theme and natural canyons…The continuous rainbow of color is created from hand-cut stained glass and represents our unity and diversity…”

At the top of the tall sculpture are four words selected during meetings of community members. They are: Community, Diversity, Unity and Creativity.

I love how the rainbow of color seems to splash, curl and spurt upward along the four sides of Art’s Popping Up. The mosaic shines brilliantly in the San Diego sunshine as it greets residents going to and from their homes.

Two awesome members of the Azalea Park Mosaic League smile for a photograph of Art’s Popping Up!
Azalea Park is bounded by Manzanita Canyon and Hollywood Canyon. Trails from residential streets provide easy access to nature. Images of hiking, plants and other natural elements that have been sandblasted on colorful ceramic tiles add meaning to the community mosaic.

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!

Cool barber shop mural in North Park!

Check out this cool new mural on the side of Matte Blvck Cuts & Shaves in North Park!

It was painted in 2021 by artist Clarione Gutierrez-Owens. He is also a live speed-painter who has performed at Downtown Disney, the San Diego Zoo, Legoland. Here’s his website.

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!

Colorful flower mural at Mission Valley mall.

If you’ve driven down Camino de la Reina past Westfield Mission Valley, you might have glimpsed this colorful mural painted outside the mall.

The mural resembles a blue and yellow inkblot made of flowers–you know, one of those Rorschach psychological tests where a symmetric shape, depending on your perception, might seem like either a face or a vase.

Well, this huge mural appears to me like an explosion of flowers!

A couple days ago I went to the Westfield Mission Valley shopping center to watch a movie, and to look for a series of murals that I had once read about. But this was the only one I happened to stumble upon.

It’s pretty cool, as you can see!

The artwork was created by Nick Napoletano, a widely known artist from Charlotte, North Carolina.

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 art discovered around Barrio Logan!

I arrived at the Danza event in Chicano Park about an hour early on Sunday, so I walked randomly around the Barrio Logan neighborhood, curious to see what I might find.

What I discovered was a lot of cool art!

Some of the murals appeared fairly new; other time-faded artwork I hadn’t observed or photographed during previous walks…

Colorful mural spray painted on side of Corner Studios Barrio Logan.
La Tortuga painted on the FamilyHealth-Youth Counseling Center.
The amazing front of Farallon Design in Barrio Logan.
Tiles with shell designs.
Ocean waves in one swelling sculptural mosaic.
Colors fill a beautiful seashell.
Skater girl on one side of a utility box.
Devilish second side of the same box.
One happy and one stubborn character painted on a third side.
Amazing huge mural painted by San Diego artist Michelle Ruby, aka Mrbbaby, on wall of U-Stor-It Barrio Logan.
Fun graphic by entrance to Barrio Cuts Barbershop by @paradigmartworks.
Pig on a box.
Mexican dancers painted on ¡SALUD TACOS! by ShoLove.
Aztec figures brighten the restaurant’s black exterior, again by ShoLove.
Barrio Logan building on Logan Avenue painted by graffiti artist Dave “Persue” Ross.
BunnyKitty among other fun characters.
I’ve seen this fearsome simian in other Persue artwork. Don’t know his name.
Big eyes above the door of Hola Swim.
All sorts of murals on either side of a construction site on Logan Avenue.
Young smiling face on tiles at the Chicano Federation of San Diego County Barrio Logan Child Development Center.
A second face at left side of front entrance. I think this art might be by Mario Torero.
Very colorful spray painted fence by local Chicana artist Jessica Petrikowski.
Painted silhouettes of cacti and bird of prey.
Painted skeletons on boards appear to be by Mexican artist Mizar Martin (MZR MRTN).
Feline eyes by Ground Floor Murals.
Feline mouth by Ground Floor Murals.
Trashcan in front of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 7 painted with a firefighter skull!
Family rides bike on a nearby electrical box.
More street art with bright sunny abstract designs.
Other side of the same box.
Smiling mural in alley remembers a departed loved one.

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!

Bike Coalition and muralist show love in City Heights!

Have you noticed a super colorful shipping container in City Heights? In a corner of the lot east of I-15, north of University Avenue? I found out its purpose yesterday!

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, working with Love City Heights, has created this cool little bike workshop, where they have a bicycle mechanic apprenticeship program. Donated bikes are repaired and given away to residents of the community!

I learned the shipping container was painted for free by muralist Erick Delarosa, who believes in showing love for others. That’s why he signs his work ShoLove! Learn more about him and his other work by clicking 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!

The creativity of new graffiti in Flash Alley!

There’s a special alley in Normal Heights that’s an outdoor gallery for many of San Diego’s most creative and known graffiti artists. It’s called Flash Alley. The alley is a few steps north of El Cajon Boulevard and City Heights, just east of 34th Street.

In my last blog post I shared photos of a very cool Junior Seau mural. It was painted a couple months ago at the south end of the alley.

After taking those photos, I walked north along Flash Alley and aimed my camera at lots of amazing, super colorful spray paint art. It all was painted in the last year or so.

I last visited Flash Alley in May 2020, and as you can see by comparing those old images here, all the current artwork is new. I recognized several artist signatures, including Sake, Persue and the Tortilla Crew.

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!

The amazing Junior Seau mural on El Cajon Boulevard!

If you’ve driven down El Cajon Boulevard between 34th and 35th Street in the past couple months, you might have seen this incredible huge mural celebrating San Diego Chargers superstar linebacker Junior Seau!

The mural was painted in early May by the artists of Ground Floor Murals. (Two days ago I posted photos of their new Manny Machado mural in Chula Vista here.)

Junior Seau is one of San Diego’s most beloved sports heroes, an NFL football legend whose life ended tragically nine years ago. It’s hard for me to believe that almost a decade has passed already.

Ground Floor Murals is composed of Paul Jimenez and Signe Ditona, a couple who began painting murals in earnest during the COVID-19 pandemic. They now have many cool murals all around the city! Read their story at their website here.

Their awesome tribute to Junior Seau is located at the border of Normal Heights and City Heights.

If you’re wondering about the graffiti directly beneath the Junior Seau mural, that’s part of extensive new art that was spray painted in the past year or two along Flash Alley. Yesterday I also photographed the fantastic urban artwork along the long alley and I’ll be posting those pics shortly!

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