Wheel sculptures at Old Town’s Caltrans building.

If you driven down Taylor Street past Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, you’ve probably seen the big Caltrans building across the street. And you might have observed five sculpted wheels mounted atop a low wall by the sidewalk.

The five wheels together are titled Rodoviaria, and they made their first public appearance in 2006 when the new District 11 Caltrans Office Complex (also known as the Wadie P. Deddeh State Office Building) was dedicated.

Rodoviaria was created by two highly accomplished artists who are brothers: Einar and Jamex De La Torre. Their website describes this public art as: 2005. Rodoviaria, five 50” cantera stone wheels with sand cast glass inclusions, Caltrans District 11 New Campus Facility, San Diego, CA.

Look closely at the glass inclusions and you’ll see not only tiny cars, but all sorts of interesting imagery mixed in. I believe I see beetles, pre-Columbian motifs, masks, hands, abstract human figures…

A plaque on the wall beneath one of the wheels reads:

Einar and Jamex de la Torre
Rodoviaria, 2006

Transportation provides the mobility that enables cultural exchanges that in turn lead to the creations of new and dynamic cultural hybrids, most evident in California’s border towns and immigrant communities.

The first wave of sustained migration into California was made possible by the wagon wheel. Since then, many wheels have made the mobility and progress possible coupled with an ever changing and richly diverse culture.

Several years ago I posted photos of another example of inventive public art by these Mexican-born brothers. You might recall that big fun robot on Commercial Street. See it again here!

They also created the playful “dioramas” you see as you ride the main glass elevator at the San Diego Central Library. I hope to take photos of that one day, too!

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!

Mural honors WorldBeat Cultural Center founder.

Last year a striking mural was painted in East Village near the corner of Imperial Avenue and 17th Street. If honors Makeda “Dread” Cheatom, founder of the WorldBeat Cultural Center. The mural portrays her playing what is most likely reggae music, which is one of her passions.

White doves perched at the edge of a turntable represent Peace. The theme of the mural is Unity. For decades Makeda Cheatom has worked to bring culture, peace and unity to the San Diego community.

I suspect the vegetation in the design’s background is inspired by the unique EthnoBotany Children’s Peace Garden outside the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.

This beautiful, colorul mural was created by artist Taylor Gallegos of Carlsbad.

As you can see in the final photo, this is an area of San Diego where those who are homeless tend to gather. In a place where dreams might lie broken, the mural imparts its hopeful 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!

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!

Kumeyaay exhibit area in Old Town takes shape!

I swung by Old Town San Diego State Historic Park this afternoon for a short walk.

While most of Old Town has been very quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction of the new outdoor Kumeyaay exhibit space in one corner of the park has been going full speed ahead. And it’s really taking shape!

I last posted photos of the construction in October. See those here. At the time, I was calling it the “new Kumeyaay park.” But I see there’s now an updated California State Parks web page concerning the project, and this outdoor area featuring interpretive exhibits is officially called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok, which translates to Land of the First People.

To see that web page, which includes a rendering and a map, click 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!

Cool photo memories from February 2016.

As we make our way into another month, it’s time to revisit half a dozen blog posts from five years ago!

Back in February 2016 I observed a variety of fun San Diego events. Probably my most unique photos were taken on the day that hobbyists ran their small live steam trains by the Bonita golf course. I also snapped photos of Chinese New Year in downtown and Valentine’s Day in Balboa Park.

I’ve provided links to these past blog posts for your viewing pleasure!

Click the following links to see photographs from five years ago…

San Diego residents learn a cool craft in a park!

Local authors honored by San Diego Public Library!

Outdoor sculptures being installed in Balboa Park!

Lion dances and fun in downtown San Diego!

Love and life on Valentine’s Day in Balboa Park.

People ride cool “live steam” trains in San Diego!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Permanent murals coming to Automotive Museum!

Today, during my walk through Balboa Park’s new Palisades Plaza, I saw that four long-anticipated permanent murals are now being installed above the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum!

Over three years ago I posted photographs of temporary murals above the museum entrance. But now the real deal is coming! Once finished, beautiful ceramic tile artwork will replicate murals created in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition.

If you’d like to learn more about this historic project, and see photographs of each individual mural, check out my old blog post here.

Here’s a bit of the sign on the construction fence that provides more information…

And here’s an image of those four temporary murals, which anticipate what the permanent ceramic tile murals will look like!

(The building’s color appears different in this older photo. That’s because it recently received a brand new paint job.)

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!

Colorful community mural at Sawaya Brothers!

A large, super colorful mural was painted last year on a wall of Sawaya Brothers Market, at the corner of Ocean View Boulevard and 30th Street.

The mural celebrates the dynamic life and culture of the community. Sawaya Brothers, a grocery store, tortilleria y panaderia (said by many to have the best tortillas in San Diego), is located in the Memorial neighborhood of Logan Heights.

Check out this great artwork! I see a profusion of diverse, positive images, including an Aztec dancer, kids playing soccer, a Don Carlos Ice Cream paleta cart, beloved musician Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez, social activism, Our Lady of Guadalupe, a lowrider, cool images honoring African Americans and the Kumeyaay, a lady making tortillas, Quetzalcoatl, a skateboarder, local school mascots, even the San Diego Padres and a trolley!

According to this article, the mural and its message of unity was painted over the course of a month by David Mena and several other artists with the help of local youth in 2020.

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!

History mosaics at Chase Bank in Pacific Beach.

Eight extraordinary mosaics decorate two sides of the Chase Bank at Mission Bay Drive and Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. Six of the mosaics depict figures representing San Diego history; the other two show delightful scenes unique to our city.

This beautiful public artwork was the creation of Millard Owen Sheets, who in the mid-20th century designed Home Savings Bank branch buildings around Southern California. Sheets Studio in Claremont, California employed a team of artists that produced numerous amazing mosaics for the buildings, one of which Chase Bank now occupies. You can see another very fine example in Coronado, which I blogged about here.

These eight mosaics set in travertine were created in 1977. Like the mosaics that were created for other bank branches, they celebrate the local community’s unique heritage.

These mosaics–at least one–appear specifically to be the work of Sheets Studio artist Susan Hertel. The initial S.H. can be seen in the corner of the mosaic titled Children’s Zoo.

Mosaic depicting a Native American.
Mosaic depicting a Spanish explorer.
Mosaic depicting a Californio.
Mosaic depicting a frontiersman or 49er.
Mosaic depicting a tuna fisherman.
Mosaic depicting a construction worker or shipbuilder.
Mosaic titled The Harbor.
Mosaic titled Children’s Zoo.

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!

Lowrider art outside Esquina in National City.

Check out these three cool works of art painted on the outside of Esquina Vintage and Coffee in National City!

This unique coffee shop has a lowrider, cruising theme that fits with its South Bay setting. In addition to more ordinary coffee shop offerings, Esquina serves up a variety of Mexican specialties.

According to this article, the owners are part of the local lowrider group Viejitos Car Club.

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!

Native American flute mural in Barrio Logan.

There’s an extraordinary mural in Barrio Logan. It’s one of my favorites.

The spray painted art appears to feature Kokopelli, the flute-playing fertility deity from some Native American cultures in the Southwest. The landscapes and dwellings in this mural might indicate the people being portrayed are the Hopi. But I can’t say for certain. I’ve walked past this mural three different times searching for an artist signature, so that I could do more research, but to no avail.

The mural was painted on a row of three small buildings along Main Street, just southeast of the Coronado Bay Bridge. I asked a postal delivery person during one walk if he knew anything about the mural, and was told it has been there for years. Another person who works in one of the buildings could provide no information.

What follows is a series of photographs that I took walking along the sidewalk by this amazing mural, from right to left.

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 photo memories from January 2016.

2021 has finally arrived!

Hopefully we’ll eventually return to a more normal state of affairs, once vaccines are widely distributed and the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. The past year has been extremely difficult.

What was going on back in 2016?

Plenty!

It’s time to look back at photographs that I took five years ago…

Click the following links to see some of the photographs I shared on Cool San Diego Sights in January 2016!

Pianos placed around San Diego for public to play!

Amazing public art is a hidden San Diego gem.

Photos of Chinese New Year celebration in Balboa Park.

Amazing art in San Diego: Classic paintings of ships!

Photos of Mormon Battalion Commemoration in Old Town.

Photos of Love Your Wetlands Day in Mission Bay.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.