The extraordinary mosaics of Azalea Park!

Some of the most extraordinary public art in San Diego can be found in Azalea Park, a neighborhood at the south end of City Heights. Walk or drive along the streets of Azalea Park and you’ll discover unexpected mosaics decorating the sides of trashcans and round sidewalk benches.

When you stop to look closely at these mosaics, it becomes evident that a great deal of effort, thought and artistry was involved in their making. The beautiful designs are truly stunning. Look at the coming photographs and see for yourself.

I was surprised to learn that all of these fantastic mosaics were created by a volunteer group of Azalea Park residents! The team of community beautifiers call themselves the Azalea Park Mosaic League!

Led by local artist Vicki Leon, members of the Azalea Park Mosaic League continue to make their neighborhood a more attractive and welcoming place.

A couple days ago I posted photos of their Art’s Popping Up mosaic sculpture on Poplar Street. If you haven’t seen that yet, click here!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Vicki Leon’s art studio in Azalea Park. The following two photographs show beautiful lotus mosaics that will be installed in Little Saigon, and how she is helping friends and neighbors to create their own mosaic street address signs! Check our her website here.

Her work, and the volunteer efforts of the Azalea Park Mosaic League, can inspire us all to make our own neighborhoods more beautiful!

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!

Famous painting by Bruegel turns to chalk!

This afternoon a famous painting displayed in the Timken Museum of Art was turned to chalk! I witnessed part of the transformation myself, right in front of the museum in Balboa Park!

The Timken Museum’s summer weekend Creation Station event continued today. Part of the fun was a chalk art recreation of the 1557 painting Parable of the Sower, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Anybody walking through the Plaza de Panama could watch the chalk artist at work. If you want to compare the chalk art I photographed with the actual oil painting, click here!

The outdoor Creation Station’s amazing chalk art flows from the talented hands of @sidewalk_chalk_dad.

Unfortunately, I didn’t walk by after the artwork was completed. Use your imagination!

You can see another chalk art recreation of a painting in the Timken’s fine art collection by clicking here!

That smiling guy covered with chalk? The artist, of course!

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’s Popping Up in Azalea Park!

Art’s Popping Up in colorful Azalea Park!

It is quite literally!

That’s because Art’s Popping Up is the name of a welcoming mosaic sculpture in the median of Poplar Street, at the entrance to Azalea Park, a friendly community in south City Heights!

I enjoyed an inspiring tour around Azalea Park yesterday and will be blogging about lots of amazing artwork.

The bright mosaics on the four sides of Art’s Popping Up were created in 2018 by members of the community. The lead artist, Vicki Leon, has a nearby studio. A team of friends and neighbors, who go by the name Azalea Park Mosaic League, not only helped to create this fantastic sculpture, but with the help of Vicki Leon they’ve produced numerous mosaics throughout Azalea Park.

Several tiles on one side of Art’s Popping Up explain: “This mosaic celebrates art emerging from within our neighborhood. It follows the theme of the Pop Street mosaics on Poplar Street…Framed artworks pop out of an Art Nouveau background, a style of art inspired by the curved lines of plants and flowers, used here to reference Azalea Park’s botanical theme and natural canyons…The continuous rainbow of color is created from hand-cut stained glass and represents our unity and diversity…”

At the top of the tall sculpture are four words selected during meetings of community members. They are: Community, Diversity, Unity and Creativity.

I love how the rainbow of color seems to splash, curl and spurt upward along the four sides of Art’s Popping Up. The mosaic shines brilliantly in the San Diego sunshine as it greets residents going to and from their homes.

Two awesome members of the Azalea Park Mosaic League smile for a photograph of Art’s Popping Up!
Azalea Park is bounded by Manzanita Canyon and Hollywood Canyon. Trails from residential streets provide easy access to nature. Images of hiking, plants and other natural elements that have been sandblasted on colorful ceramic tiles add meaning to the community mosaic.

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 barber shop mural in North Park!

Check out this cool new mural on the side of Matte Blvck Cuts & Shaves in North Park!

It was painted in 2021 by artist Clarione Gutierrez-Owens. He is also a live speed-painter who has performed at Downtown Disney, the San Diego Zoo, Legoland. Here’s his website.

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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Colorful flower mural at Mission Valley mall.

If you’ve driven down Camino de la Reina past Westfield Mission Valley, you might have glimpsed this colorful mural painted outside the mall.

The mural resembles a blue and yellow inkblot made of flowers–you know, one of those Rorschach psychological tests where a symmetric shape, depending on your perception, might seem like either a face or a vase.

Well, this huge mural appears to me like an explosion of flowers!

A couple days ago I went to the Westfield Mission Valley shopping center to watch a movie, and to look for a series of murals that I had once read about. But this was the only one I happened to stumble upon.

It’s pretty cool, as you can see!

The artwork was created by Nick Napoletano, a widely known artist from Charlotte, North Carolina.

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!

More art discovered around Barrio Logan!

I arrived at the Danza event in Chicano Park about an hour early on Sunday, so I walked randomly around the Barrio Logan neighborhood, curious to see what I might find.

What I discovered was a lot of cool art!

Some of the murals appeared fairly new; other time-faded artwork I hadn’t observed or photographed during previous walks…

Colorful mural spray painted on side of Corner Studios Barrio Logan.
La Tortuga painted on the FamilyHealth-Youth Counseling Center.
The amazing front of Farallon Design in Barrio Logan.
Tiles with shell designs.
Ocean waves in one swelling sculptural mosaic.
Colors fill a beautiful seashell.
Skater girl on one side of a utility box.
Devilish second side of the same box.
One happy and one stubborn character painted on a third side.
Amazing huge mural painted by San Diego artist Michelle Ruby, aka Mrbbaby, on wall of U-Stor-It Barrio Logan.
Fun graphic by entrance to Barrio Cuts Barbershop by @paradigmartworks.
Pig on a box.
Mexican dancers painted on ¡SALUD TACOS! by ShoLove.
Aztec figures brighten the restaurant’s black exterior, again by ShoLove.
Barrio Logan building on Logan Avenue painted by graffiti artist Dave “Persue” Ross.
BunnyKitty among other fun characters.
I’ve seen this fearsome simian in other Persue artwork. Don’t know his name.
Big eyes above the door of Hola Swim.
All sorts of murals on either side of a construction site on Logan Avenue.
Young smiling face on tiles at the Chicano Federation of San Diego County Barrio Logan Child Development Center.
A second face at left side of front entrance. I think this art might be by Mario Torero.
Very colorful spray painted fence by local Chicana artist Jessica Petrikowski.
Painted silhouettes of cacti and bird of prey.
Painted skeletons on boards appear to be by Mexican artist Mizar Martin (MZR MRTN).
Feline eyes by Ground Floor Murals.
Feline mouth by Ground Floor Murals.
Trashcan in front of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 7 painted with a firefighter skull!
Family rides bike on a nearby electrical box.
More street art with bright sunny abstract designs.
Other side of the same box.
Smiling mural in alley remembers a departed loved one.

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!

Smiles and creativity at North Park Book Fair!

The first annual (hopefully) North Park Book Fair was held today!

Book lovers, authors, poets, artists, and everyone and anyone who loves reading, writing and creativity showed up for the two block long festival!

As you can see from the upcoming photos, North Park Way between 29th Street and Ray Street was absolutely alive!

At first I just wandered past the booths, trying to absorb it all, amazed by everything that I saw. Then I figured I’d blog about the event and began to record smiles!

Read the photo captions to learn more about what I discovered…

Not only was there live painting, local authors and small presses, but one could enjoy poetry readings, storytelling for kids, and perusing thousands of books for sale! And food, too!
When I reported the street was packed, I wasn’t kidding!
A friendly North Park Main Street volunteer smiles for a pic. Thanks for the great event!
The San Diego Public Library had tables full of used books for sale.
Friends of the San Diego Public Library smile! I’ve purchased oodles of used books at the Central Library over the years.
I almost bought this book about San Diego. I have too much to read, already.
Kids could draw fun comic panels at the Little Fish Comic Book Studio booth.
Keithan Jones of KID Comics smiles. Look at all the cool independent comic book art he created!
He did this great Wonder Woman sketch!
I listened for a while as poets presented their words to the gathered crowd.
Live poetry at the North Park Book Fair! This animated poet received big applause!
A smile from an Accidental Aliens writer!
Smiles from two Accidental Aliens artists!
Beatrice Zamora wrote award-winning children’s book The Spirit of Chicano Park. She’ll be dancing at the big Danza event at Chicano Park tomorrow!
Book, books, books everywhere!
Armando Elizarraras created some very cool artwork based on portraits of famous authors. Check out his tattooed Edgar Allan Poe with The Tell-Tale Heart!
MORE. LESS. etc. Three sequential books by artist, author and poet Ted Washington! Can poems include mathematical formulas?
The folks of Write Out Loud were at the North Park Book Fair, presenting this fun, fishy Kamishibai street theatre story!
Book fair goers could indicate with chalk the place where they most like to read…
In bed, on the toilet, by the pool, at the beach, with a cat . . . or anyplace!
The smile of superhero creator @boypoetic!
Tamra L. Dempsey took photographs for the beautiful book A Journey Through Literary America! It includes literary passages by famous authors.
One smile and one semi-smile. It’s all good. Keep on creating!
Cynthia Diamond wrote all these Wyrd Love books. I remembered seeing her years ago at a big Liberty Station book event!
Douglas W. Mengers wrote a book about San Diego Trolleys. I learned some interesting history when we chatted.
This book contains lots of old images of rail transportation in San Diego.
Lots to see and do at the North Park Book Fair!

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!

Inspiration at Timken Museum’s Creation Station!

A small but wonderful Creation Station can be enjoyed in front of the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park this summer!

While the world-class art museum undergoes its renovation, people walking along the construction fence in the Plaza de Panama can linger at the Creation Station and be inspired!

This afternoon I paused for a bit to watch Erick Toussaint (@sidewalk_chalk_dad) work on amazing chalk art that recreates a piece in the Timken’s collection. Then I looked at the fun chalk drawings by kids and families that passed by earlier this beautiful Sunday!

Erick will be recreating some of the fine art museum’s great masterpieces every other weekend through August. Check out the museum’s page concerning the Creation Station here. On the other weekends, family’s will help design a huge outdoor mural!

Today Erick was working on reproducing Nicolas de Largillière’s elegant Portrait of Marguerite de Sève, Wife of Barthélemy-Jean-Claude Pupil, 1729. His work on the gold frame alone is stunning! As you can see, I took photos at various stages of progress during the afternoon.

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!