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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More street art on Black Mountain Road.

I found more great examples of street art during my Sunday walk up Black Mountain Road, from Mira Mesa Boulevard to Mercy Road.

Here are my photos…

Everything will be okay.
FOREVER LOVE YOU NANA

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!

Superhero team guards entrance to El Cajon!

For many years, a mighty team of superheroes has stood guard at the entrance to El Cajon. As I walked past the motley, costumed group on Saturday, I noticed they were fending off a variety of dangerous supervillains and otherworldly menaces!

I immediately recognized some of the universe’s most powerful heroes. I saw Thor, Spider-Man, Hellboy, Yoda, Batman, Superman, Hulk and Wolverine. Together they were engaged in an epic battle against evil on the wall of Comics-N-Stuff, on El Cajon Boulevard!

A clerk at the comic book store told me this huge, fun mural was painted about 14 years ago by a local artist. It has really faded in El Cajon’s sunshine over time, so I’ve increased the contrast of various photographs.

Will Doc Ock and Venom get past Spidey and invade the city of El Cajon? I doubt it!

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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Cool old cars, planes spotted in El Cajon!

During my walk through El Cajon yesterday, I spotted a some cool old cars and airplanes!

The cars were on a couple of electrical boxes! This fading street art, on Main Street just west of Sunshine Plaza, is filled with all sorts of colorful hot rods and custom cars, racing imagery and even a tribute to Route 66.

I suppose this art was painted to celebrate the Cajon Classic Cruise weekly car show on Main Street at Magnolia, near the El Cajon landmark archway. It might also refer to the Cajon Speedway, a race track that used to exist north of here, near the Gillespie Field airport.

You can see the El Cajon landmark sign a couple blocks to the east…

A couple blocks farther east, at the Prescott Promenade park near El Cajon’s Civic Center, I spotted a couple of banners that celebrate old Cajon Speedway…

Finally, check out what I first heard, then spotted high in the sky as I was walking along Main Street!

Six restored World War II-era planes belonging to Air Group One, which is the San Diego Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, were flying in a tight formation!

Air Group One flies out of El Cajon’s Gillespie Field. (I often spot their vintage planes flying over the USS Midway Museum in downtown San Diego.)

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!

Nostalgic old parade mural in El Cajon!

Today I went for a very long walk through El Cajon, in San Diego’s East County. I took so many photographs, lots of interesting blog posts are on the way!

During my walk I came upon this faded mural on a building at the corner of East Main Street and Roanoke Road. It depicts an old-fashioned American parade, apparently from the mid-20th century. I’m assuming the parade is proceeding down El Cajon’s Main Street, but I don’t really know. I could find no date or artist signature. I believe Jackson Hewitt Tax Service used to occupy at least part of this building.

This artwork is so faded, I had to dramatically increase the contrast of my photos.

I’m sure somebody out there knows the history of this nostalgic old mural. 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!

More colorful art near National Avenue!

During my walk through Barrio Logan last Saturday, I enjoyed looking at many colorful works of art on or near National Avenue.

These photos are of artwork I hadn’t seen previously.

The first three photos, including the one above, were taken of a beautiful new mural decorating a wall and fence on National Avenue, right next to Chicano Park.

Juan Diego opening his cloak, revealing that flowers had miraculously produced the Virgin of Guadalupe’s image, is a religious account cherished by many Catholic believers, particularly those in Mexico.

Next, I saw a number of vivid paintings in the windows of the Attitude Brewing Co. I believe all were signed by artist Paco Racru. They appear to be for sale.

Here are two of the paintings. Reflections from the street are mixed in…

The very colorful mural and graffiti you see in the next two photos can be found at the Travelodge on Beardsley Street.

This eye-catching street art is signed @icygrapestudios, which is the handle of artist Brock Landers.

And finally, laugh at something funny! Is that a raccoon on a bicycle? Whatever it is, it’s on the front of the Thorn Brewing Co. building.

And it’s by William Salas (@inkpaint)!

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!

Valentine’s Day love in Balboa Park!

Love could be seen everywhere in Balboa Park today!

On signs, on banners, on balloons, on surprising canvases, even on hands! But mostly on the faces of those passing through the park on a sunny Sunday in February.

Perhaps that’s because today is Valentine’s Day…

Many vendors set up in the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain had love-themed crafts and goodies for sale.
Two love birds on a banner, beside the Balboa Park Visitors Center front door.
A heart-shaped balloon in colorful Spanish Village.
Artist Susan Mae Hull of Studio 23 was creating beautiful Valentine’s Day cards in Spanish Village Art Center. I noticed her delicately brushed images include animals from the Chinese Zodiac.
A henna tattoo artist on El Prado could put your heart on your hand. (Or maybe you can wear your heart on your sleeve.)
Artist Jean Pierre made all sorts of colorful hearts and had them for sale near the International Cottages.
One of Jean Pierre’s many bright hearts.
Love balloons could be found everywhere!

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!

Another very colorful mural in Barrio Logan, Part Two!

Last year I discovered a very cool mural in a Barrio Logan alley by artist Jessica Petrikowski (@artbypetrikowski). You can see those photographs here.

Yesterday, during another walk in the same area, I saw the mural has expanded! It now decorates the fence along Sigsbee Street. I also saw more art has been painted in the original alley!

These first photos are of Jessica Petrikowski’s newer artwork on Sigsbee Street, a short distance from National Avenue…

Now back to the original alley. You can see that fresh urban art was spray painted on the fence past the flower faces…

Plus this cool art on a gate!

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!

Mural of Padres hero Tony Gwynn in City Heights!

I finally got around to checking out the big, bold mural in City Heights depicting one of San Diego’s greatest heroes, Tony Gwynn. You can see it on the south side of the Undisputed City Heights building.

The mural was painted last November by Chula Vista artists Paul Jimenez and Signe Ditona of Ground Floor Murals. They were invited to participate in this inspirational project by community organization Love City Heights.

Tony Gwynn, one the greatest hitters in the history of Major League Baseball, was loved by many in San Diego for his easy smile and bright laughter. But when the legendary Padres player stood behind home plate holding a bat, his expression changed to one of complete concentration. You can see focus and determination in this mural.

Undisputed City Heights is an MMA, boxing and martial arts training facility on University Avenue. Their programs emphasize character building and personal empowerment. On the west side of their building is another inspirational mural that reads: I AM POSSIBLE. I posted photographs of that mural 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!

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!

Public art at 70th Street trolley station.

Riders of the San Diego Trolley might not notice any public art at the 70th Street station at first glance. This Green Line station in La Mesa, which opened in 2005, has a simple, practical appearance, with the usual benches and a nearby parking lot.

Curious eyes, however, will see a number of sculpted markers in the vegetation, and quotes written on the bases of 36 light poles on either side of the trolley tracks.

The cast metal markers relate the historical importance of native San Diego plants, and indeed these very plants can be found nearby–or at least it was that way originally. Most of the markers explain the importance of each plant to the Native American Kumeyaay people, who inhabited this land for thousands of years before the arrival of Spanish explorers.

This very unique public art was created by Nina Karavasiles. You can see more of her work here and here and here. She also helped design the Rosa Parks Memorial at a San Diego Mesa College bus stop, which I recently blogged about here.

Artwork at the 70th Street trolley station also includes bits of recycled colored glass embedded in the platform. Cobblestones from nearby Alvarado Creek that were obtained during the station’s construction were used to create planters and the bases of benches.

Girls tied redbud blossoms to their shoulders and waists for the spring ceremonial dance of womanhood.
Deer grass. The principal foundation material for coiled baskets.
This plant used as a diuretic medicine gets its astringency from tannic acid. Bear berry.
Before going hunting the Diegueños rubbed white sage on their bodies to eliminate odor.
Early miners used it to deter fleas. Coastal sagebrush.
Fresh elderberry leaves produce a light yellow dye for baskets.
Arroyo willow. Kumeyaay use shredded bark to pad cradle boards in which women carried their babies.
The sycamore was an indicator to California natives that underground water or a stream was nearby.
The oak can live for 250 years. It takes 8 months for the acorns to mature. A family of 4 would gather 500 pounds for the next year. They would travel here and set up temporary camp to harvest the acorns, collecting them in conical baskets. Acorns are 20% fat, 6% protein, 68% carbohydrates.

The following photographs show just a few of the quotes inscribed on the light pole bases. Most have an environmental theme, and of these, most concern the importance of water.

All the stones here have been gathered from the original Alvarado Creek.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The average annual rainfall in La Mesa is 13 3/4 inches (2004). The average American uses 150 gallons of water a day.
Many of the world’s people must walk 3 hours to fetch water.

Ready for some fun? Part of the answer to the cryptic Alvarado trolley station riddle (which you can see and solve here) can be found in one of the above quotes!

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!