300 year old Kannon statue in Balboa Park!

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden by crane!
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden!

Several days ago an astonishing 5750 pound bronze statue, created in 1735 by Takumi Obata, was installed by crane at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

I must apologize, because up until now I have been referring to the new statue as a Great Buddha. After seeing the magnificent sculpture firsthand today, and reading more about it, I’ve learned that it’s actually a kannon statue, representing Kannon Bosatsu, a Buddhist goddess of mercy that is popular in Japan. The deity is called Guanyin in other parts of Asia, and has its origin in India in the 1st or 2nd century.

The amazing, nearly 300 year old cast bronze statue sits beside the Japanese Friendship Garden’s new stream in the Lower Garden, among peaceful trees that invite meditation.

Originally this Kannon Bosatsu was located at the Middlegate Japanese Garden in Pass Christian, Mississippi. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed that garden, the damaged statue was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Gabrych, who later donated it to San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

A second statue that was donated to JFG also was installed several days ago. The large guardian deity stands in the Upper Garden, opposite the bonsai collection. I’m told that less is known about the exact history of this particular sculpture. I believe it represents Kongorikishi, one of the two Nio guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.

Enjoy these photos, then head over to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park for the full experience!

Kannon Bosatsu sits tranquilly in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden near the source of a new stream.
Kannon Bosatsu sits tranquilly in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden near the source of a new stream.
Nearby sign describes Kannon Bosatsu, created in 1735 by Japanese sculptor Takumi Obata, an accomplished iron smith during to Tokugawa period. (Click photo to enlarge image.)
Nearby sign describes Kannon Bosatsu, created in 1735 by Japanese sculptor Takumi Obata, an accomplished iron smith during to Tokugawa period. (Click photo to enlarge image.)
The large bronze Kannon Bosatsu represents the Japanese goddess of mercy.
The large bronze Kannon Bosatsu represents the Japanese goddess of mercy.
A closer photo of the serene Kannon Bosatsu.
A closer photo of the serene Kannon Bosatsu.
A leaf has turned and fallen into the lap of a merciful deity
A leaf has turned and fallen into the lap of a merciful deity.
Gazing from the statue down the new stream toward a new bare wood observation platform.
Gazing from the statue down the new stream toward a new bare wood observation platform.
A simple, elegant wooden platform straddles the new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A simple, elegant wooden platform straddles the new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Nature's elements will make this structure more beautiful over time.
Nature’s elements will make this structure more beautiful over time.
Gazing down at the second half of the new stream to where it joins the Lower Garden's main river.
Gazing from the platform down at the second half of the new stream, to where it joins the Lower Garden’s main river.
The new stream is already very beautiful.
The new stream is already very beautiful.
It's now winter in the Japanese Friendship Garden, and great beauty is everywhere.
It’s now winter in the Japanese Friendship Garden, and great beauty is everywhere.
The guardian deity statue that now stands opposite the bonsai collection in the Upper Garden.
The guardian deity statue that now stands opposite the bonsai collection in the Upper Garden.
I believe this statue represents Kongorikishi, one of the guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.
I believe this statue represents Kongorikishi, one of the guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a place to find peace, wisdom and healing.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a place to find peace, wisdom and healing.
An historic addition to an already very special place.
An historic addition to an already very special place.

To see photos that I took as the stream and observation platform were under construction, click 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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La Jolla Library and the Voyage of Discovery.

Visually stunning public art dominates the interior of the La Jolla Library.
Visually stunning public art dominates the interior of the La Jolla Library.

Enter the La Jolla Library, take a few steps into the central atrium, then look up.

In this public library, curious minds become part of an amazing Voyage of Discovery!

Voyage of Discovery, an abstract catamaran hull by artist Christopher Lee, reminds visitors to the La Jolla Library that they are on a journey of exploration.
Voyage of Discovery, an abstract catamaran hull by artist Christopher Lee, reminds visitors to the La Jolla Library that they are on a journey of exploration.
A sculpture of an abstract catamaran is suspended beneath a large skylight at the La Jolla Library.
A sculpture of an abstract catamaran is suspended beneath a large skylight at the La Jolla Library.
Photo from the ground floor atrium of the La Jolla Library of Voyage of Discovery.
Photo from the ground floor atrium in the La Jolla Library of Voyage of Discovery.
Looking up at the stunning skylight.
Looking up at the stunning skylight.
Someone reads near the sail-like cast glass panels of the north window inside the La Jolla Library.
Someone reads near the sail-like cast glass panels of the north window inside the La Jolla Library.
A wood and muslin chandelier is the keel of the abstract catamaran.
A wood and muslin chandelier is the keel of the abstract catamaran.
The inner face of each half of the hull is lined in gold leaf.
The inner face of each half of the hull is lined in gold leaf.

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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A 180 ton teddy bear made of boulders!

Here come a few astonishing photos!

Eight enormous boulders form a jaw-dropping 180 ton teddy bear in the Academic Courtyard at UC San Diego. It might look cute and cuddly, but try wrapping your arms around this public art!

Bear, part of UCSD’s fantastic Stuart Collection of art, was created by Tim Hawkinson in 2005. The immense stone sculpture seems to defy gravity as it sits limply on a patch of green grass between three buildings where engineering and technology are taught.

What is the good of science without imagination?

Perhaps an infant troll one day will stride onto campus to retrieve their lost toy. Or perhaps in the distant future, among the ruins of ancient buildings, perplexed scientists will discover Bear and conclude that a race of giants once inhabited our planet.

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 new ocean mural at PB Water Store.

In October many artists came together in Pacific Beach to paint a beautiful new mural on the long north wall of the PB Water Store. The large mural depicts life under the ocean’s surface.

Images include a jellyfish, a mysterious underwater siren, a seahorse beside delicate coral, a grumpy-looking turtle, many hammerhead sharks, several colorful fish, an oyster with pearl, and a couple of crabs. According to names I observed on the wall, the artists involved in this amazing project included Beth Emmerich, Gloria Muriel, Diana DeAugustine, Erin Yoshi, Kara “KJ” Ashley and Justin Pelletier.

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 comic book and superhero street art!

Cool comic book superheroes, villains and other characters are spray painted on a long wall in Logan Heights!
Cool comic book superheroes, villains and other characters are spray painted on a long wall in Logan Heights!

Check out this awesome spray paint street art on a wall south of the intersection of 31st Street and Commercial Street in Logan Heights! It’s loaded with comic book superheroes, villains and other cool characters!

The mural is a work currently in progress. Today I was fortunate to meet the primary artist, who goes by the name Fizix. I learned that most of the characters in the large, colorful mural are his artwork. I also learned that additional work on this very cool mural is by the artist ABSO.

Does the name Fizix ring a bell? Perhaps you’ve seen his work here and here. Because I photograph so much street art all around San Diego, it’s possible his work appears elsewhere on Cool San Diego Sights and I simply don’t realize it.

Fizix is actually Alex Julian, a talented artist in San Diego who can be found @alexfizix. His blog, which features some really good graphic novel art and his bio, can be enjoyed here.

His expertise is illustration, book covers, digital art, murals, horror caricatures and comic book coloring. His artwork has a distinctive style that I really like.

Check out the following photos!

Judge Dredd street art by Fizix.
Judge Dredd street art by Fizix.
Fizix at work on a new commissioned mural featuring superheroes, supervillains and a few other characters.
Fizix at work on a commissioned mural featuring superheroes, supervillains and a few other characters.
A neighbor in Logan Heights loves old school Jazz, so Fizix included this cool musician in the large mural.
A neighbor in Logan Heights loves old school Jazz, so Fizix included this cool musician in the large mural.
Another neighbor in Logan Heights has a dog that resembles this cool spray paint artwork by Fizix!
Another neighbor in Logan Heights has a dog that resembles this cool spray paint artwork by Fizix!
This very awesome sunset portion of the mural is by the artist ABSO. It looks like street art one might find in Ocean Beach.
This very awesome sunset portion of the mural is by the artist ABSO. It looks like the sort of street art one might find in Ocean Beach.
Carnage street art by Fizix.
Carnage street art by Fizix.
I don't recognize this character. Leave a comment if you do!
Rose of Black Dog and Rebel Rose street art by Fizix.
Spawn street art by Fizix.
Spawn street art by Fizix.
Leave a comment if you know this character. I'm clueless.
The Maxx street art by Fizix.
Hela street art by Fizix.
Hela street art by Fizix.
Ghost Rider street art by Fizix.
Ghost Rider street art by Fizix.
Iron Man street art by Fizix.
Iron Man street art by Fizix.
Wonder Woman street art by Fizix.
Wonder Woman street art by Fizix.
Miles Morales street art by Fizix.
Miles Morales version of Spiderman street art by Fizix.
Hellboy street art by Fizix.
Hellboy street art by Fizix.
Rocket Raccoon street art by Fizix.
Rocket Raccoon street art by the artist ABSO.
Cool characters from pop culture can be enjoyed by anyone who drives down Commercial Street in San Diego!
Cool characters from pop culture can be enjoyed by anyone who drives down Commercial Street in 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!

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!

Art along Park Boulevard in University Heights.

A small sign with ostrich welcomes those walking up Park Boulevard to University Heights.
A small sign with an ostrich welcomes those walking up Park Boulevard in University Heights.

Last weekend I walked along Park Boulevard in University Heights. I headed north from El Cajon Boulevard to Adams Avenue, then back south on the opposite sidewalk. I saw all sorts of fun art during my journey!

Why so many ostriches? University Heights has adopted the ostrich as a unique and memorable symbol. Back in 1903 this neighborhood was the home of Harvey Bentley’s ostrich farm, where visitors could ride the large birds!

Artistic mural painted on south wall of Park Blvd Artworks.
Artistic mural painted on south wall of Park Blvd Artworks.
Wall painted by New Zealand artist Cinzah for the PangeaSeed Foundation informs passersby that each year 100,000,000 sharks are killed for their fins.
Wall painted by New Zealand artist Cinzah for the PangeaSeed Foundation informs passersby that each year 100,000,000 sharks are killed for their fins.
Electrical box street art near the Diversionary Theatre.
Electrical box floral street art near the Diversionary Theatre.
People walk up the Park Boulevard sidewalk toward the University Heights landmark sign.
People walk up Park Boulevard’s sidewalk toward the University Heights landmark sign.
Some small colorful tiles in a stucco wall.
Some small colorful tiles in a stucco wall.
Transformer box painted with an image of The Pavilion at Mission Cliff Gardens.
Transformer box painted with an image of The Pavilion at Mission Cliff Gardens.
Street lamp banner with ostrich proclaims University Heights - Founded in 1888.
Streetlamp banner with ostrich proclaims University Heights – Founded in 1888.
Faded flowery street art on a utility box.
Faded flowery street art on a utility box.
A small, peaceful sculpture in front of Buddha's Light Bookstore.
A small, peaceful sculpture in front of Buddha’s Light Bookstore.
Spiritual image above front entrance of San Diego Buddhist Association's Hsi Fang Temple.
Spiritual image above front entrance of San Diego Buddhist Association’s Hsi Fang Temple.
Part of a cool mural painted on store wall at the corner of Park Boulevard and Monroe Avenue.
Part of the cool mural painted on a store wall at the corner of Park Boulevard and Monroe Avenue.

I photographed the above mural four years ago. See more images of this street art here!

Some more cool but faded street art.
Some beautiful but faded street art.
Silly faces!
Silly faces!
Love Your H2O, a mural painted by local artist Gloria Muriel for the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project.
Love Your H2O, a mural painted by local artist Gloria Muriel for the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project.

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!

A paradise of fine art in San Diego!

Jorge Luis Borges wrote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” As someone who loves to read and write, I agree.

But I also love to experience life, contemplate and be inspired in other ways. So paradise, to me, would also be like a museum full of extraordinary artwork.

Anyone who’d like to enter such a paradise in San Diego should visit the San Diego Museum of Art. Every time I go, I feel that I’ve ascended to a blissful place–an elevated place where I become fully alive.

My docent pal Catherine guided another great tour of the museum this weekend, and as I and other guests walked from gallery to gallery, my eyes couldn’t stop jumping from wonder to wonder. And I had to chuckle a couple of times, too. Catherine has been known to spontaneously inject bits of wry humor into her tours. With this simple blog post I would like to thank her for being so generous.

The San Diego Museum of Art never ceases to amaze me. I’m always discovering something new. It contains a truly world-class collection of fine art, including masterpieces by some of history’s most celebrated artists. The museum has also collected many pieces that have a special connection to San Diego.

I’ve always thought it would be amazing if one small gallery were permanently dedicated to San Diego–to San Diego’s most renowned artists, and to timeless works of art inspired by our beautiful and surprisingly diverse city. Just imagine!

Do you love art, too? If you ever find yourself in Balboa Park, please walk over to the San Diego Museum of Art.

Then step through the front door into Paradise.

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!