Fresh street art along 30th Street in North Park.

Some panels on a mural on Gunn Street west of 30th Street have been repainted. The two shown are by Jorge Gutierrez and Maxx Moses.
Some panels on a mural on Gunn Street west of 30th Street have been repainted. The two shown are by Jorge Gutierrez and Maxx Moses.

North Park is brimming with street art. During a walk yesterday down 30th Street, from University Avenue to Upas Street, I encountered fresh artwork that I haven’t blogged in the past. You can see some of those old photos here and here and here.

As I proceeded down the sidewalk I noticed that a number of electrical boxes and walls have been repainted in the past couple years.

Enjoy these new photos. North Park is alive with creativity!

This box showing the four cardinal directions has been repainted by Jonny Alexander.
This box showing the four cardinal directions has been repainted by Jonny Alexander.
East.
East.
South.
South.
West.
West.
A purple claw has emerged from this electrical box!
A scary purple claw has emerged from this crate-like electrical box!
The yellow eyes of a mysterious monster peer out!
The yellow eyes of a mysterious monster peer out!
Let's be friends. That love potion appears intoxicating . . . and possibly toxic!
Let’s be friends. That love potion appears intoxicating . . . and possibly toxic!
A skull in a bottle. Sink or swim.
A skull in a bottle. Sink or swim.
More fun street art on the same utility box on 30th Street in North Park.
More fun street art on the same utility box on 30th Street in North Park.
Stenciled on a wall. For my hustlers, here's some motivation. He who has begun is half done.
Stenciled on a wall. For my hustlers, here’s some motivation. He who has begun is half done.
A cute little critter that seems to be inside a living heart.
A cute little critter that seems to be inside a living heart.
Exotic street art on an electrical box.
Exotic street art on an electrical box.
Strength through Peace.
Strength through Peace.
Three sitting female figures contain spiritual symbolism.
Three sitting female figures contain spiritual symbolism.
A wild splash of color.
A wild splash of color.
Mural on side of 30th Street Laundry. A Beautiful Morning by Sentrock.
Mural on side of 30th Street Laundry. A Beautiful Morning by Sentrock.
An ankh symbolizing life in the hand of a lady with colorful abstract hair.
An ankh symbolizing life in the hand of a lady with colorful abstract hair.
Fun robot graphic on the front wall of Soi 30th, a North Park Thai Eatery.
Fun robot graphic on the front wall of Soi 30th, a North Park Thai Eatery.
A cool Pangea Seed Foundation Sea Wall created in North Park by Lauren YS. A beautiful underwater mermaid is contrasted with a skeleton.
A cool Pangea Seed Foundation Sea Wall created in North Park by Lauren YS. A beautiful underwater mermaid is contrasted with a skeleton.
The mural concerns ocean acidification and the resulting death of kelp and sea life.
The mural concerns ocean acidification and the resulting death of kelp and sea life.
San Diego Padres baseball player under painted fireworks.
San Diego Padres baseball player under painted fireworks.
This final North Park electrical box was painted last month. You can find it on Upas Street east of 30th Street, in front of The Taco Stand.
This final North Park electrical box was painted last month. You can find it on Upas Street east of 30th Street, in front of The Taco Stand.
An old salt by the ocean and a sailing ship.
An old salt by the ocean and a sailing ship.
A friar by the old mission.
A friar by the old mission.
Hecho a Mano. Made by hand.
Hecho a Mano. Made by hand.

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Steampunk vehicles exhibited in Balboa Park!

One of many cool vehicles you'll see at the San Diego Automotive Museum during their show Steampunk: The Exhibit.
One of many cool vehicles you’ll see at the San Diego Automotive Museum during their show Steampunk: The Exhibit.

There’s an amazing show that just opened yesterday at the San Diego Automotive Museum. It’s called Steampunk: The Exhibit. About half of the museum’s large floor is now occupied by mind-blowing steampunk vehicles and fantastic works of art!

Before I show you some cool photographs, let me introduce you to a friendly artist who I happened to meet as I walked about the museum. His name is Jeff Steorts. He creates all sort of Medieval-like artwork using wood, metal and a variety of found objects. As a young man, he attempted to create a suit of armor out of aluminum. Today he writes poetry and produces sculptural objects that take one back to the Age of Chivalry. He showed me his many gleaming works that are on display. Most of his pieces are symbolic. Some have keys that unlock a deeper meaning. Each piece contains a bit of himself.

Jeff has had his fantastic creations displayed in many places–even at San Diego International Airport! Check out his Facebook page here!

Now on to the exhibition! Once you see these photos, I think you’ll want to head over to the San Diego Automotive Museum in beautiful Balboa Park. Do so before September 30th when Steampunk: The Exhibit comes to an end!

The museum floor is filled with every sort of cool steampunk and unusual, retro-looking vehicle you might imagine!
The museum floor is filled with every sort of cool steampunk and unusual, retro-looking vehicle you might imagine!
The Cyclops, a steampunk trike with a 3-cylinder Triumph Daytona engine, by artists Baron Margo and Jaime Martinez.
The Cyclops, a steampunk trike with a 3-cylinder Triumph Daytona engine, by artists Baron Margo and Jaime Martinez.
Time Machine, by artist Richard P. Ingalls. This was commissioned in 2014 by the Salk Institute of Biological Studies for its annual staff service awards program!
Time Machine, by artist Richard P. Ingalls. This was commissioned in 2014 by the Salk Institute of Biological Studies for its annual staff service awards program!
Assemblage artist Dan Jones created this cool little robot sculpture. He exhibits his work at San Diego Comic-Con, as well as many galleries, steampunk and sci-fi conventions.
Assemblage artist Dan Jones created this cool little robot sculpture. He exhibits his work at San Diego Comic-Con, as well as many galleries, steampunk and sci-fi conventions.
Another cool work of art by Dan Jones.
Another cool work of art by Dan Jones.
Artist Ken Whitney created these body-like Hardware Sculptures out of metal washers, gears and other stuff.
Artist Ken Whitney created these body-like Hardware Sculptures out of metal washers, gears and other similar material.
Jeff Steorts poses for a photo. Some of his created objects are clocks or resemble them. He explores many themes including Time and Space.
Jeff Steorts poses for a photo. Some of his symbolic objects are clocks or resemble them. He explores many themes, including Time and Space.
Jeff shows me some of his fantastic art.
Jeff shows me some of his fantastic art.
Many of Jeff's creations resemble lockets, or golden hearts with keys. Others resemble shining religious relics.
Many of Jeff’s creations resemble lockets, or golden hearts with keys. Others resemble shining boxes or religious relics.
One of many super cool vehicles you'll see when you visit the San Diego Automotive Museum during Steampunk: The Exhibit.
One of the many super cool vehicles you’ll see when you visit the San Diego Automotive Museum during Steampunk: The Exhibit.
I apologize for failing to note what this is. But it's definitely awesome!
I failed to note what this is exactly. But it’s definitely awesome!
Loki, a custom 1981 Harley Davidson Ironhead Sportster, by metal artisan Marko Djoric.
Loki, a custom 1981 Harley Davidson Ironhead Sportster, by metal artisan Marko Djoric.
1929 Dodge Brothers Copper Rat, by Jeff Jones. The car has been on the cover of Ol' Skool Rods.
1929 Dodge Brothers Copper Rat, by Jeff Jones. This amazing car has been on the cover of Ol’ Skool Rods.
The car's interior is all hand-built copper and aluminum. 10,000 rivets were hammered into place.
The car’s interior is all hand-built copper and aluminum. 10,000 rivets were hammered into place!
The Rocket Roadster, a driveway build by Baron Margo.
The Rocket Roadster, a driveway build by Baron Margo.
The Metamorphosis, a Moderne Nautilus co-created by Baron Margo and Jaime Martinez. A Jules Verne inspired cross between an airplane and submarine!
The Metamorphosis, a Moderne Nautilus co-created by Baron Margo and Jaime Martinez. A Jules Verne inspired cross between an airplane and submarine!

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!

Bold urban art in a Logan Heights alley.

The Mad Hatter in street art at one end of a Logan Heights alley.
The Mad Hatter in street art at one end of a Logan Heights alley.

That alley in Logan Heights where I discovered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles street art is home to even more spray paint characters and graffiti. Bold images reflect life in a sometimes tough urban setting.

I read that a public art project in Logan Heights targetted several neighborhood alleys, so I assume these images were part of that effort. As I walked along, I spotted many different artist names.

Lewis Carroll characters have been spray painted alongside graffiti in Logan Heights.
Lewis Carroll characters have been spray painted alongside graffiti in Logan Heights.
The blue Caterpillar on a mushroom smoking a hookah is from Alice in Wonderland.
The blue Caterpillar on a mushroom smoking a hookah is from Alice in Wonderland.
A section of bold urban art on a long wall.
A section of bold urban art on a long wall.
A wicked-looking character seems to be spray painting the graffiti next to him.
A wicked-looking character seems to be spray painting the graffiti next to him.
Another section of colorful graffiti.
Another section of colorful graffiti.
Somos Todos Pistoleros above a pyramid in the Alley Gallery.
Somos Todos Pistoleros above a pyramid in The Alley Gallery.
A bird-like character drinking from a green bottle.
A bird-like character drinking from a green bottle.
A character with sunglasses and headphones holds a boombox with his fang-like teeth.
A character with sunglasses and headphones holds a boombox with fang-like teeth.
Elaborate urban artwork completely covers a long alley wall in Logan Heights.
Elaborate urban artwork completely covers a long alley wall in Logan Heights.
That looks like one mean cockroach!
That looks like one mean cockroach!

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!

Pop culture and other cool art downtown!

Bold pop culture art in a downtown San Diego window. I spotted these on Ninth Avenue in East Village.
Some bold pop culture art inside a window. I spotted these on Ninth Avenue in East Village.

The past few days, while walking along sidewalks in downtown San Diego, I’ve photographed all sorts of cool artwork. Some of the art is relatively new. Some of it, as you’ll see, is derived from or influenced by the popular culture.

Which reminds me! This year I’ll be covering San Diego Comic-Con again! I’m taking a week off from work, and because I live downtown I should be able to get lots of photos of cosplay, special exhibitions, building and trolley wraps, fun offsite events . . . and hopefully some unexpected surprises!

I can’t wait!

A green fiendish creature awaits those who might venture into Suite 102.
More bold art on Ninth Avenue. A green fiendish creature awaits those who might venture into Suite 102.
A face painted by VISUAL on a transformer box in downtown San Diego. I photographed this (and the following two boxes) while walking down A Street.
A face painted by VISUAL on a transformer box. I photographed this (and the following two boxes) while walking down A Street.
Circle around these two utility boxes and you'll read the words: create future.
Circle around these two utility boxes and you’ll read the words: Create Future.
A beautiful window above the entrance of Sidiropoulos Law Firm on Sixth Avenue depicts blind Justice holding her scales.
Beautiful glasswork above the entrance of Sidiropoulos Law Firm on Sixth Avenue depicts blind Justice holding her scales.
Ornamentation above the front door of the historical McClintock Storage Warehouse building on Kettner Boulevard.
Ornamentation above the front door of the historical McClintock Storage Warehouse building on Kettner Boulevard.
All sorts of amusing graphics decorate the windows of the restaurant AAHARN by Koon Thai.
All sorts of amusing graphics decorate the windows of the restaurant AAHARN by Koon Thai.
William Dorsett near the USS Midway created some fun spray paint Pokémon artwork!
William Dorsett near the USS Midway created some fun spray paint Pokémon artwork!
Marvin the Martian inside the front door of Funko South. The office is located on Market Street, and serves as Funko's cool Pop! Up Shop during San Diego Comic-Con!
Marvin the Martian inside the front door of Funko South. The office is located on Market Street, and has served as Funko’s Pop! Up Shop during San Diego Comic-Con.
Elaborate art by Kelsey Montague in the courtyard of The Headquarters. People can take photos of themselves with wings!
Colorful art by Kelsey Montague in the courtyard of The Headquarters. People can take photos of themselves wearing ocean-themed wings!
A super cool mural on the east side of Pokez Mexican Restaurant. A few years back different spray paint art was here, which I also photographed!
A super cool mural on the east side of Pokez Mexican Restaurant. A few years back different spray paint art was on this wall, which I also photographed!

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!

The little-known studio of an amazing artist!

A small army of Japanese kokeshi fill the James E. Watts Studio in downtown San Diego.
A small army of life-size Japanese kokeshi fill the James E. Watts Studio in downtown San Diego.

I had an utterly amazing experience today.

I was walking through downtown San Diego, along Seventh Avenue, when I noticed a small table saw out on the sidewalk. It was set up in front of an unmarked door–one that I’ve passed many times over the years. When I peered through the open door my eyes nearly popped out of my head!

Through that mysterious door I saw a wonderland!

A friendly person told me that I might step inside. That very cool, funny and interesting guy was James E. Watts, a local artist who has been creating unique works of imagination for decades in San Diego. His pieces have appeared in a variety of exhibitions and at important museums, including both the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Why the table saw? James Watts was just beginning a new sculpture of Quasimodo, and wooden blocks would be used to form the interior structure. Thin aluminum sheets nailed to the surface would produce the sculpture’s skin.

As you can see from the above photograph, his studio is dominated by a series of these large sculptures. They are based upon Japanese kokeshi, and his fun, symbolic pieces represent all sorts of characters from literature and history. He showed me a female Atlas, Don Quixote (with two small horses), Prometheus, Pandora, Jonah and Leviathan, and Joan of Arc. The humorous, collage-like skins were originally lunchboxes, signs, cans and other bits of colorful aluminum.

Another cool piece he showed me appears to be a combination of the Shroud of Turin, a horizontal religious shrine, and that wacky game Operation. Human anatomy is partitioned. Old age is contemplated. Bones fill box-like compartments. Colorful foam dots and dashes spell out a message in Morse code around the perimeter. The word BEAUTIFUL appears beneath the skull. (If you decipher the Morse code message, please leave a comment!)

And so I found myself standing in the middle of a fantasy world turning my eyes every which way. Rampant creativity jammed every wall, crammed every corner, was stacked high upon the floor. I could have happily lingered in that extraordinary studio all day long.

Thanks to James Watts for showing me around his artistic playground! There’s a special, little-known nook in the heart of San Diego, where one man’s imagination produces great treasures, and now I recognize the door!

James Watts near some artwork in progress. The wood blocks will fill the interior of a hunchbacked Quasimodo. I was told a bell will be placed atop the literary character's head!
James Watts near some artwork in progress. The wood blocks will fill the interior of a hunchbacked Quasimodo. I was told a bell might be placed atop the literary character’s head!
On the left a female Atlas holds up the world. To the right Don Quixote appears ready to tilt at windmills.
On the left a female Atlas holds up the world. To the right Don Quixote appears ready to tilt at windmills.
Many nudes also decorate the walls of the art gallery. They are done in various styles, reflecting famous painters of the past.
Many nudes also decorate the walls of the art gallery. They are done in various styles, reflecting famous painters of the past.
James Watts opens up a brain pan to reveal a brain!
James Watts opens up a brain pan to reveal . . . a brain!
So much cool artwork that I could barely take it all in.
So much amazing, cool artwork that I could barely take it all in.
Like a playground for a creator whose imagination seems to have no limits.
Like a playground for a creator whose imagination seems to have no limits.
I was told this abstract piece represents that brave person who stood in front of the tanks at Tiananmen Square.
I was told this abstract piece represents that brave person who stood in front of the tanks at Tiananmen Square.
An imaginative piece that represents the artist's contemplation of aging. Those colorful dots and dashes form a Morse code message!
A playful piece that has emerged from the artist’s contemplation of aging. Those colorful dots and dashes form a mysterious Morse code message!

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!

That moment you see inexplicable magic.

There are moments when this world seems suddenly, inexplicably transformed.

New light.

New perception.

New understanding.

A short story came to me yesterday while I sat in Balboa Park across from a splashing fountain. My eyes were resting on the broad scene.

So many people, engaged in every sort of activity. So much humanity. And at the center of it all, that everlasting fountain.

Shimmering and shining like magic.

I took out my pen and wrote down a few inspired words.

They might form a short story, or they might form a poem–I’ll let you decide. Read it here.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles street art!

Cool spray paint street art in a Logan Heights alley includes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Bold spray paint street art in a Logan Heights alley features the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Several long alleys in Logan Heights have been spray painted with super cool street art. I visited one alley recently that contains awesome images of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

This particular “Alley Gallery” can be found north of Commercial Street and west of 32nd Street. The colors are bold and the artwork is fantastic. Walking down the alley is almost like turning the pages of a TMNT comic book or graphic novel.

Enjoy these fun photos!

Leonardo, leader of the Ninja Turtles, stands alert beside some bold, colorful graffiti.
Leonardo, leader of the Ninja Turtles, stands alert beside some bold, colorful graffiti.
Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles surrounded by enemies.
Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is surrounded by enemies.
Donatello appears to be ready for action in an alley mural in Logan Heights.
Donatello appears to be ready for action in an alley mural in Logan Heights.
An ordinary turtle wandering through the sewers is caught in some strange glowing green ooze. This innocent reptile is certainly destined to mutate into a humorous humanoid martial artist!
An ordinary turtle wandering through the sewers is caught in some strange glowing green ooze. This innocent, unassuming reptile is almost certainly destined to mutate into a humorous humanoid martial artist!
Splinter, the rat sensei, is hanging out between more cool graffiti.
Splinter, the rat sensei, is hanging out on a wall between more cool graffiti.
Raphael emerges from a spray painted city. This particular turtle does not appear to be amused.
Raphael emerges from a spray painted city. This particular turtle does not appear to be amused.

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!