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!

Art purchased by the city from artists during COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, local artists were supported through a special initiative undertaken by the City of San Diego. The city purchased almost 100 works of art for the Civic Art Collection. The initiative was funded by a generous art lover and philanthropist.

An exhibition of this acquired artwork, titled SD PRACTICE, can now be viewed at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park, and at Bread & Salt in Logan Heights.

I visited the San Diego Art Institute on Sunday to view their pieces. I noticed some of the artists are widely known, including Hugo Crosthwaite and Mario Torero.

Contemporary art is often provocative: subversive, angry, skeptical, iconoclastic. But many of the pieces I saw conveyed mostly a feeling of loneliness. Which I suppose isn’t surprising. They were created during a pandemic–a time of forced social isolation.

One canvas shows an elderly woman alone at a table set with dinner and cold smartphones. Other works–often with political messages–show people trapped alone behind borders or squares or lattices of drawn lines, or wearing masks, or concealed beneath sheets, or in shadow.

One artist’s tintypes were created with random people on the street. The artist and strangers pose together as if they are family. But the tintypes are very dim like faded dreams. And the momentary “families” weren’t real.

In one piece, an isolating smartphone has been dropped to one side, and two people lean into each other for simple human warmth.

As I walked through the gallery, one plastic chair made to appear gleaming and precious seemed inviting. But it was only one chair.

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!

Tape Art at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

I didn’t know tape art was a “thing” until I happened to walk into the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden this weekend. And what I discovered blew me away!

This unique exhibition, simply titled Tape Art, has been on display for some time now, so shame on me, as a JFG member, for not knowing about it!

The artist is Chiho Harazaki. She utilizes adhesive tape that is cut into fine shapes to create artwork that is detailed and quite amazing. I photographed a few of her pieces so you can get an idea of what you’ll see when you pay a visit.

Some of the works on display depict daily life in Japan. Some appear like colorful Hanafuda, a style of Japanese playing cards. A few of her works, including a piece that is quite large and striking, concern the horror of Hiroshima at the end of World War II, and make an appeal to the viewer for peace.

Should you visit Balboa Park before July 25, 2021, step into the Japanese Friendship Garden. That’s when the exhibition Tape Art concludes.

Then, after viewing this art, be sure to walk down into the Lower Garden. It’s one of the most beautiful places 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!

Beautiful flowers throughout Little Italy!

I took these flower photographs last Friday morning in Little Italy.

I found blooms in sidewalk planters, leaning against painted restaurant walls, and adding color near outdoor dining tables. I saw them in front of homes and shops, and inside windows. And I came upon some fun floral artwork, too!

I’m tardy posting these photos because I’ve been a bit under the weather. But these flowers have been patiently waiting.

A life lesson, maybe.

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!

New mural on Seacoast in Imperial Beach.

Last year a colorful new mural was painted in Imperial Beach on Seacoast Drive, several blocks north of the pier, just south of Daisy Avenue. It decorates a stone wall next to three small eateries.

The female face and mandala-like designs around it were created by San Diego artists Gloria Muriel and Beth Emmerich.

I saw this mural for the first time during my Saturday walk near the beach. It seems our local muralists have been busy creating new outdoor art during the long COVID-19 pandemic. (Just yesterday I posted images of a new LOVE mural in San Ysidro here.)

I have many more new street art photos from around San Diego coming up. Stay tuned!

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 big LOVE mural in San Ysidro!

In late 2020 artists Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki painted this huge LOVE mural in San Ysidro. You can see it on a wall as you exit southbound I-805 at East San Ysidro Boulevard, a short distance before you reach the Mexican border. The mural is a Border Public Art Committee project.

If you think this spray paint art is amazing, you might enjoy checking out another cool mural this artist team created in San Diego’s East Village a few years ago here!

You gotta love it!

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Art explodes in James Watts’ studio window!

Three years ago I enjoyed an amazing tour of artist James Watts’ studio in downtown San Diego. See those photos here.

The small creative space (home of what he calls on his Instagram page The James E Watts Institute of Artistic Behavior) is one of the most fantastic and inspiring places you’ll ever visit. Every inch is crammed with inexhaustible imagination and obvious love of life.

Whenever I walk down Seventh Avenue past the James E. Watts Studio, I peer into the front windows to see what works he has chosen to display.

This morning I was delighted by an explosion of art…

Choose happy.

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!

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.

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!

Another very cool mural at Super Cocina!

Lorena Correa, a tattoo and mural artist from Bogotá, Colombia, completed painting a very cool mural a couple weeks ago at Super Cocina in City Heights!

If you like her detailed artwork, check out her Instagram @lorenaskunkrocker. You’ll see lots of hyenas!

This cool mural fills in a wall that features some earlier murals. It’s the latest addition to San Diego’s big outdoor art gallery that continues to grow in City Heights, on University Avenue between I-805 and I-15.

To see a couple other murals on the same wall at Super Cocina, click 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!

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!

An unusual Old Master mural in Normal Heights!

An unusual mural was painted in Normal Heights this year. It can be viewed on Adams Avenue, in a nook where this Prince mural used to be, and across from this Kobe Bryant mural. It was painted by local street artists Hasler and Shark, who also created the nearby Kobe Bryant artwork.

I say this mural is unusual, because street art is usually more like graffiti or contemporary artwork–abstract, extremely bold, and with a typically rebellious vibe. One doesn’t expect to see the recreation of a traditional Old Master painting.

The image that dominates this mural is of Italian artist Caravaggio‘s religious painting Saint Jerome Writing, 1605–1606. Words spray painted in the background are the Caravaggio quote: “All works, no matter what or by whom painted, are nothing but bagatelles and childish trifles unless they are made and painted from life, and there can be nothing better than to follow nature.”

Caravaggio usually painted realistic human forms, with dramatic lighting that emphasized emotion. His very popular work would influence other famous Old Masters like Peter Paul Rubens, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Rembrandt.

I wonder what Caravaggio would think if he visited San Diego today and looked around. Probably that he’d been transported to an alien world!

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!