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, 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!

Perhaps, a sculpture at County Operations Center!

A very creative sculpture rises between government buildings at the County of San Diego Operations Center in Kearny Mesa. It’s titled Perhaps.

Perhaps you’d enjoy some fun photos of Perhaps!

The sculpture was created by award-winning London-based artist Zadok Ben-David in 2012. The giant human form, made of hand plasma cut Corten steel, is composed of tiny joined figures in countless different poses.

So many potential activities in life. The complex story of every life is written by moment to moment choices.

Hmm. Perhaps…

If you’re wondering about the white fenced area near the metal legs of Perhaps, according to a sign it will be a small County of San Diego demonstration garden.

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!

Afternoon light and life at Tuna Harbor.

At the Embarcadero’s picturesque Tuna Harbor, photography is easy. Aim your camera in almost any direction and you’ll capture light, life and fascinating complexity.

I walked around Tuna Harbor late this afternoon and pointed my camera at workers loading equipment onto Gutsy Lady 4 (near a cool vintage truck), the usual crowd of commercial fishing boats docked side-by-side, and youth fishing on the pier by Seaport Village.

(In the final photograph you can glimpse three active aircraft carriers in the distance. Docked across San Diego Bay at North Island are the USS Carl Vinson, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt.)

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!

A colorful Cultural Fusion in City Heights!

City Heights is one of San Diego’s most culturally diverse communities.

Over the decades, immigrants have arrived in waves from different parts of the world, making this neighborhood in east San Diego their new home.

So it’s not surprising to find public art in City Heights that celebrates diversity and the dynamic interaction of people who have converged from different places.

Cultural Fusion is an abstract sculpture that stands near the entrance of the La Maestra Community Health Center in City Heights. The public art was created in 2015 by local artist Jim Bliesner, in collaboration with Victor Chavez Metal Works.

I took these photographs today!

To me, the colorful shapes that compose Cultural Fusion appear like symbols and ideas and fragments of life that continually collide and intermix, joining in places, producing new offshoots, creating endless combinations of complexity and beauty.

It sort of looks like music.

That’s what happens when many people with very different life stories come together in one place.

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!

UC San Diego student art exhibited in Balboa Park.

This weekend I stepped into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park to view their current exhibition, which is titled Measurements of Progress.

Graduating students (and a couple of professors) from UC San Diego’s 2021 Masters of Fine Arts program have contributed artwork that primarily concerns the ongoing human struggle to achieve certain ideals, particularly peace, liberty, and justice.

Given how the subject matter is largely political, it’s not surprising that some of the student art is ideological and simple. I was drawn to other more subtle, mysterious works that encourage the viewer to look open-eyed at a complex world and inward with questioning wonder.

A couple of pieces I really loved are sculptures made of fabric. Touched by soft light, they seem to hang in space like organic abstractions, sinuous, fragile, evocative, full of memory. One contains poetry.

Another strange, thought-provoking work is a series of prostheses that explores the “limited and flawed nature of human perceptions and the manner in which bodies experience the world…”

Another piece explores the cosmos in the artist’s own body. I’m not exactly sure what the 3-channel video depicts–possibly dyed slides under a microscope–but watching the movement of living cells in our immensely complex selves can make one less political, more philosophical.

Measurements of Progress is well worth checking out if you love endlessly fascinating productions of human creativity–particularly contemporary art.

The exhibition is free and will continue at the San Diego Art Institute through May 30, 2021.

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 library mosaic: To Light the Way Within.

An extraordinary work of public art welcomes curious eyes in southeast San Diego.

To Light the Way Within is a colorful glass mosaic mural that greets visitors as they approach the front entrance of the Malcom X Branch Library and Performing Arts Center in Valencia Park. It was created by local artist Jean Cornwell Wheat in 1995.

Last weekend I captured photographs of the 40-foot outdoor entry wall mural, working my way from left to right. The complex imagery relates the story of human language–its history and evolution. Ancient drawings, pictographs and symbols seem to mix and dance forward together when you examine the mural closely.

According to what I’ve read, the mural, created in collaboration with another San Diego artist, Raul Guerrero, incorporates a lantern, a symbol of enlightenment that lights up when it becomes dark. I’ll have to check that out one evening.

Learn more about artist Jean Cornwell Wheat at her website here.

A few days ago I posted photographs of her truly remarkable “hidden” public sculpture Dragonfly Dreams. See that here.

Several years ago I also blogged about an African American fine art exhibition at the San Diego History Center. Check that out here and you’ll see one of Jean Cornwell Wheat’s canvases, along with other great works by renowned San Diego artists!

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!

Perceiving time and space from a pier.

Linger on a pier.

It will seem you are suspended in fluid space and time.

The world all around you is ever changing.

I took these photos late this afternoon from the pier between Seaport Village and Tuna Harbor.

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!

Contrasts in a forever evolving city.

Some of these photographs are disturbing. They show a few of the many contrasts curious eyes will observe in a city. A city that is forever evolving.

People come and go. Businesses come and go. Buildings come and go. Dreams come and go. And we are always right here in the present, trying to recall what was.

These photos were taken during a walk on Saturday. I started up Fifth Avenue from downtown, climbed north through Bankers Hill, and finally entered Hillcrest.

I observed new high-rise and bike lane construction. Striking contrasts appear in photos that include St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Abbey.

I observed new signs and fresh ambitions, and dreams that were shattered.

I glimpsed a complex world, and now even those small glimpses are a fading memory.

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.