Copper printing blocks form storytelling art.

These copper Batik Printing Blocks, combined like words on a page, seem to tell a beautiful story. A complex story about life.

You can find this huge “panel” of Indonesian tjaps at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. The artwork has been installed on the second floor, near one of the doors that leads to the outdoor terrace overlooking the Plaza de Panama.

The copper blocks were used for wax resist textile printing. Each block, whose intricate design would be repeated on fabric, is combined with about 200 other unique blocks.

The cumulative effect is like a pile of golden Autumn leaves. Or shining memories collected like precious coins, spread on a table before one’s hands. Or a page ready set for a printing press.

It’s the story of a culture, created by many hands.

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!

Life, death, joy and pessimism in La Jolla.

Art is often a stir of moods and strange contradictions, like life itself.

I saw this complexity during a fun visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. A major exhibit in the recently reopened, beautifully renovated museum concerns the often experimental artwork of world-renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle, who spent her last years living in La Jolla. The exhibition is titled Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s. It will be on view through July 17, 2022.

As I walked around several spacious gallery spaces, observing the artist’s sensuous sculptures, and fantastic drawings, and paintings created by shooting guns, I saw joyful, fertile, exuberant life displayed side-by-side with bleak, shattered, debris-filled pessimism. It seemed that positivity was associated with female experience, negativity with modernity. As if the two are absolutely separate.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s female sculpture Nanas dance everywhere one turns, bursting with life. Her large Tirs, or performance art “shooting paintings,” looked to my eye like dead junkyards: rigid, punctured, streaked, drained.

As I gazed at the various artworks, whose elements often seem primordial or mythical, I wondered how seemingly opposed ideas could tangle in the mind of an artist–how paint and gunshots could so easily coexist. Oh, wait. Life and death is the prime subject of art.

Go visit this amazing exhibition of rampant creativity and form your own conclusions!

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 many colors of a living city.

The life of any city is endlessly complex and interesting. The colors one encounters reflect this truth.

Early in the morning I walked around downtown San Diego–primarily through Little Italy and the Columbia District. Then in the evening I walked down Broadway.

My camera found these colors…

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!

San Diego college faculty art exhibition.

Selected works by artists teaching at colleges around San Diego County are now on display at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

Campus Creatives: Featuring San Diego’s Fine Art Faculty showcases pieces created by 49 teaching artists from 14 local institutions, ranging from smaller community colleges to San Diego State University, University of San Diego, and UC San Diego.

I headed up to Escondido today to experience this mostly contemporary art.

The museum galleries contain many unusual and experimental pieces that utilize a surprising variety of materials. As one might expect from college faculty, certain social, environmental and political themes were plentiful. I also saw examples of arresting beauty and art for art’s sake.

Some of the pieces obviously required a good deal of time and effort. I was stunned by a couple of large, very complex woven tapestries. You’ll see one in the upcoming photographs.

I asked the friendly gentleman at the museum’s front counter what he liked best about the exhibition. The variety, he told me.

I concur one hundred percent!

Go check it out!

Meanwhile, enjoy a few examples.

Campus Creatives: Featuring San Diego’s Fine Art Faculty will be on public view through May 15, 2022.

Corvid: Suspicion, 2021, Joanne Hayakawa. Graphite on mylar with steel frame.
Explanation of Colors, 2019, Leslie Nemour. Oil, mm on found map.
Petals to the Metal, 2019, Joshua Eggleton. Charcoal.
Albedo, 2021, Bill Mosley. Oil on canvas.
The Creation of the Virus, 2021, Carlos Castro. Woven tapestry.
Maintaining Bearings, 2022, Stephanie Bedwell. Wood, fiber.
Cactus Transformation, 2019, YC Kim. Porcelain and light.
Yuri-Tobabay, Japan 1932, 2017, Julie Goldstein. Woodcut, graphite, recycled fabric.
Masquerade, 2021, Serena Potter. Oil on canvas.

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!

Amazing fiber art exhibited in Escondido!

Dance Break Oaxaca, by Linda Anderson. Cotton, bamboo batting, textile paints, thread.

I headed to Escondido today to experience an incredible art exhibition on its final day.

Surface, Substance, Structure featured work by artists who belong to the guild California Fibers. Dozens of amazing pieces filled the galleries at the Museum of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

The thing about fibers is they curl and intersect and tangle and twist and naturally form beautiful complexity, even if you must look closely.

I was completely amazed by the creativity of these regional fiber artists. Innovative quilts, wire sculptures, baskets, fabric portraits and constructions–there seemed no end to the artistry their hands could produce.

Well, the exhibition is now over, so this blog is a bit late in coming. But you might be awed, or even inspired, by some of the pieces I photographed…

Surprising fabric creations awaited around every corner!
Visitors to the museum were encouraged to feel the texture of these fiber art samples.
SoCal Mama, by Kathy Nida. Commercial and hand-dyed fabric.
Earth Vessel, by Brecia Kravolic-Logan. Reed, paper, patinaed copper, beach glass, driftwood stand, twined, glazed, netted.
Small Wonders, by Charlotte Bird. Art quilt. (Microbes remain, even after a good washing!)
Exploring Too, by Peggy Wiedemann. Pine needles, Irish waxed linen.
Styling, by Peggy Wiedemann. Pine needles, waxed linen, rag cordage from India, old metal wheels, glass beads.
Time Warp, by Lydia Tjioe Hall. Steel wire, waxed linen, cast bronze.
LAVAfolds, by Cameron Taylor-Brown. Weaving photographic transfer, quilting, embroidery.
Wandering the City, by Debby Weiss. Cotton, stitching, applique.

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!

Excalibur rises sharply in downtown San Diego!

A black sculpture rises skyward at the entrance to the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building in downtown San Diego. Composed of triangular steel forms, the sculpture and its sharp edges pierce the space around it. The monumental public artwork is titled Excalibur.

Excalibur was created in 1976 by Beverly Stoll Pepper, whose pieces have been exhibited and collected by major museums around the world. Beverly Pepper passed away two years ago, but her unique artistic vision continues to enrich our lives.

I walked around Excalibur recently and took these photographs. It was interesting how joined triangles, observed from different angles, produce very different images. It’s like how the larger world, composed of basic elemental structures, achieves its complexity.

The sharp, jutting steel seems to have emerged from underground. And doesn’t the sculpture look almost like folded origami?

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Visions and contrasts in downtown San Diego.

The ordinary . . . the bizarre.

The familiar . . . the dreamlike.

Countless intersecting paths down the same streets.

Turned corners, reflections, glimpses, mysteries.

The complexity of living.

Happiness . . . despair.

You will encounter many complex visions and contrasts when walking through downtown San Diego. Which is what I did yesterday morning.

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 and science in two amazing East Village murals!

Two amazing murals by well known regional artists can be found in a new public plaza located in San Diego’s East Village neighborhood.

The murals, designed by artists Rafael Lopez of San Diego and Joel Sotelo of Tijuana, decorate opposing walls in the amphitheater-like space between the UCSD Downtown Center building and the 34-story The Merian apartment tower. Walk north up the sidewalk from the corner of Market Street and Park Boulevard and you’ll find it.

This welcoming new plaza is so remarkable that it earned a San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchid Award!

For many months I’ve been waiting for a construction site fence to come down, and it finally did, allowing entrance to the new plaza.

If you’d like to read more about this unique public plaza’s inspiration, design and construction, here’s a great article.

My first photos are of the Rafael Lopez mural, titled Iluminación, which was painted by Gran Prestoz. It was completed a couple of summers ago, but not accessible to the public.

Lopez is widely known for his award-winning illustrations in numerous acclaimed children’s books. He has even designed several United States postage stamps!

The next photos are of the mural on the plaza’s east side, by artist Joel Sotelo. The mural’s title is Pulsar Ultra-Marino. According to a plaque I found, “Sotelo’s colorful mural is based on the idea of wonder, from the micro to the macro, from the beauty of nature to the revelations of science.”

(Doing a little research, I was surprised to find out that Joel Sotelo helped conceive of the Tweet Street linear city park with its artistic birdhouses. Tweet Street on Cortez Hill is only a few steps from where I live!)

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!

Students reveal genealogy, humanity at History Center.

An exhibition at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park assembles the genealogical research of students at High Tech High.

The High Tech High “Rubber Duckies” have discovered the fascinating stories of their ancestors, and have shared them online. The stories contain joys, struggles, successes and failures–they are memories of complex lives filled with humanity whose echoes still touch the living.

At the museum, visitors can scan QR codes to read the stories. Or you can read them now by clicking Pre 1900, 1901-1950, or 1951-Present. Then click Family History at the top of each story summary to read the student report.

Many of the students have immigrant ancestors with stories that will break or lift your heart. Some distant ancestors are quite surprising, such as William the Conqueror.

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!

Gamboa Seasons mural adds color to La Jolla.

Over the past decade, different Murals of La Jolla have appeared, then been replaced.

On Sunday I saw this particular mural, titled Gamboa Seasons in La Jolla, for the first time. It was created by Beatriz Milhazes in 2020.

It’s one of my favorites so far!

The four complex images, from left to right, represent the four seasons. Every season is uniquely beautiful.

Learn more about the artist and this dazzling, super colorful 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!