Birds gather election ballots on a city wall!

On Saturday morning I walked through downtown San Diego’s East Village.

As I headed along Market Street and approached Tenth Avenue, I noticed something interesting on a wall next to the Grocery Outlet parking lot. I had discovered a flock of birds gathering ballots!

The graphic pasted to the wall, which promotes voting in the upcoming general election, was created by Ramzy Masri, a New York based graphic designer, photographer and artist. Click the photograph below and you can more easily read what is written. In a nutshell, the mural is “part of a series inspired by the idea that ‘voting is voice.’ It’s one of five designs for fifty murals currently on view in ten cities across the country…”

The mural is sponsored by the non-partisan Voting Information Center on Facebook, which is found 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!

Art along Imperial Avenue celebrates Encanto.

Dance.
Dance.

Near the center of Encanto, along Imperial Avenue, colorful panels celebrating the culture, history and life of this diverse community have decorated lamp posts on the street’s median for almost 30 years. I took photos of seven panels during a recent walk near the Encanto trolley station.

Twenty four panels, by local artist Eddie L. Edwards, many of which appear to be dated 1992, were part of the “Streetscape Art Project” along Imperial Avenue, which was completed in 1993. The intention was to revitalize Encanto’s modest commercial center, from 62nd Street to 69th Street. As you might imagine, the panels, exposed to almost three decades of sun and weather, have cracked and faded. But to eyes that pause and look up they remain alive, and tell the story of a hilly urban community that still feels rural even as San Diego has grown.

I’ve radically altered the brightness and contrast of these photos to help revive the color of the old panels.

(During my walk I also photographed lots of great street art. I’ll share those photos in a bit.)

Education.
Education.
Transportation.
Transportation.
Nature.
Nature.
Work.
Work.
Play.
Play.
Music.
Music.

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!

Street art at San Ysidro and Cottonwood.

Follow your heart.
Follow your heart.

Many electrical boxes have been painted with street art on San Ysidro Boulevard, just northwest of Cottonwood Road. It appeared during my Saturday walk that some of the boxes were painted long ago, and others this year.

I took photos. The art speaks for itself.

Mental health matters.
I am loved. Grow strong.
Aztec skull imagery.
Aztec skull imagery.
A people's spirit lives on.
A people’s spirit lives on.
Two doves.
Two doves.
You are better than unicorns and sparkles.
You are better than unicorns and sparkles.
Quédate en casa con un rico pan dulce y cafecito. (Stay home with a delicious sweet bread and coffee.)
Quédate en casa con un rico pan dulce y cafecito. (Stay home with a delicious sweet bread and coffee.)
Lady Liberty in a serape.
Lady Liberty in a serape.
Kindness matters, and fireworks or stars.
Kindness matters, and fireworks or stars.
Por tu salud. (For your health.) We love our community. Street art painted in San Ysidro during the coronavirus pandemic.
Por tu salud. (For your health.) We love our community. Street art painted in San Ysidro during the coronavirus pandemic.
Firefighters of Fire Station 29 in San Ysidro.
Firefighters of Fire Station 29 in San Ysidro.
A local firefighter at work.
A local firefighter at work.
Purple and lavender flowers.
Purple and lavender flowers.
Butterfly rises near a hot air balloon.
Butterfly rises near a hot air balloon.
Bicycle by a fruit tree, and a trolley in the background.
Bicycle by a fruit tree, and a trolley in the background.
Trolley windows full of passengers.
Trolley windows full of passengers.
Trolley driver emerges from a painted electrical box.
Trolley driver emerges from a painted electrical box.
A little land and a living. Un poco tierra y una vida.
A little land and a living. Un poco tierra y una vida.
Working the land.
Working the land.
A family on a sweeping, colorful landscape.
A family on a sweeping, colorful landscape.
Handfuls of good earth.
Handfuls of good earth.

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 street art on San Ysidro Boulevard!

Street art in San Ysidro by Gerardo Meza.
Street art in San Ysidro by Gerardo Meza.

I’ve photographed more great street art!

Last year in December I walked around San Ysidro and took photos of street art near the Mexican border. See those images by clicking here.

During a walk in the same area this morning I headed farther up San Ysidro Boulevard and found even more colorful art. All of the following photos were taken between Willow Road and Cottonwood Road.

Except for the very first photo above! That fun artwork was painted some time after my earlier walk. It’s beside the Burger King near the intersection of San Ysidro Boulevard and Camino de la Plaza.

These images capture the life and spirit of San Diego’s bustling border community!

Colorful artwork in San Ysidro by renowned muralist Victor Ochoa depicts the artist's family.
Colorful artwork in San Ysidro by renowned muralist Victor Ochoa, known for his work in Chicano Park. I’ve been told this small mural depicts the artist’s family.

Mural in San Ysidro by Los Angeles artist Sand One.
Mural in San Ysidro by Los Angeles artist Sand 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!

Mario Torero and team restore Civil Rights mural!

A team of local artists works to restore the Civil Rights mural at 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego.
A team of local artists works to restore the Civil Rights mural at 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego.

Today I headed down to 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue to see the work being done to restore an important mural by internationally recognized muralist Mario Torero. When I arrived several local artists were gathering for the day’s work, and shortly thereafter an energetic Mario Torero himself showed up!

I first posted photos of this Civil Rights mural two years ago here. You can see how it had become faded over many years. Unfortunately, since then the mural had been defaced. If you want to learn more about the history of the mural, check out my old blog post.

The restoration has been ongoing for a couple weeks now, and the Imperial Avenue side of the long mural is nearly finished. There’s still the other side on 32nd Street to finish, and once plans are made work will begin there.

The local artists helping Mario Torero are called the Southeast Art Team. The growing team includes young people who love creating art. The Southeast Art Team has garnered a lot of media attention with this project and are already planning to restore additional murals around San Diego. But they need your help!

Please visit the GoFundMe page of the Mural Restoration Project San Diego by clicking here and help them out!

I learned that a new push is underway to not only restore many old murals, but to create new ones, too! Positive people never cease working to make the world better!

Do you want to be part of this? To pitch in, click here!

Internationally known muralist Mario Torero talks to local artists before commencing work restoring portions of his mural.
Internationally known muralist Mario Torero talks to local artists before commencing work restoring portions of his mural.

A colorful mural depicting Civil Rights icons is lovingly restored by its creator Mario Torero, and other local artists!
A colorful mural depicting Civil Rights icons is lovingly restored by its creator Mario Torero, and other local 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!

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Last year, at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s annual Fourth of July celebration, diverse people from our community joined together on stage to read parts of the Declaration of Independence.

People from all walks of life, converging from different places, each with their own unique struggles, ambitions and experiences, remembered some of the enduring principles that underlie a free society.

During the event, anyone in the crowd was invited to come up onto the stage to read, and many did.

Of all the photos I took at the event, the above photograph to me is the most powerful.

Even with all of our human differences–the millions of unique personal beliefs and desires that frequently conflict–there are high ideals that are cherished by one and all.

We all want to live. We all want to be free. We all seek happiness.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Little Saigon mural and colorful street art!

Little Saigon postcard mural on the side of Sin Lee Food Whole Sale on El Cajon Boulevard.
Little Saigon postcard mural on the side of the Sin Lee Food Whole Sale building.

Enjoy these photographs of colorful street art along El Cajon Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Euclid Avenue, the heart of an area in San Diego known as Little Saigon!

I made certain to photograph the 2018 postcard-style Little Saigon mural, which was painted by artist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs during their extensive Greetings Tour.

(Two other cool Greetings Tour murals can be enjoyed in San Diego. One at Liberty Station here, and one in North Park here!)

Come with me and let’s walk through Little Saigon to see some street art!

An imaginative San Diego version of the famous Chợ Bến Thành market, which is located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh City.
An imaginative San Diego version of the famous Chợ Bến Thành market, which is located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh City.

I believe this faded street art in Little Saigon celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
I believe this faded street art in Little Saigon celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
Many diverse languages are spoken here.
Sign in front of a market in Little Saigon. Many languages are spoken here.

I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the artwork has been faded by time and weather.
I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the painted artwork has been faded by time and weather.

Banners, lamp posts and architecture reflect Vietnamese culture in San Diego's Little Saigon.
Banners, lamp posts, and even some examples of architecture reflect Vietnamese culture in San Diego’s Little Saigon.
Planter on sidewalk with tile mosaic depicting a lotus, symbol of divine beauty. The lotus is Vietnam's national flower.
Planter on sidewalk with tile mosaic depicting a lotus, symbol of divine beauty. The lotus is Vietnam’s national flower.
Plaque on side of the planter indicates The Little Saigon District was established on June 4th, 2013. Vietnamese refugees have built a new life here.
Plaque on side of the planter indicates The Little Saigon District was established on June 4th, 2013. Vietnamese refugees have built a new life here.

The oft-photographed Little Saigon mural, near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue, created by @GreetingsTour.
The oft-photographed Little Saigon mural, near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue, created by @GreetingsTour.

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!

Little Saigon Stories in North Park windows.

...You are the bright pearly moon at night...Thousands of distant stars Am I...
…You are the bright pearly moon at night…Thousands of distant stars Am I…

Little Saigon Stories can be glimpsed in the windows of a North Park building, at the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.

A project of Media Arts Center and The AjA Project, Little Saigon Stories celebrates and recounts the history of the Vietnamese community in East San Diego. Various events were held in 2019, including lectures and the creation of public art recounting the stories of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants.

The area called Little Saigon is generally located along El Cajon Boulevard, in the neighborhood of Euclid Avenue.

Little Saigon Stories in windows at El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.
Little Saigon Stories in windows at El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.
Despite living here for so long, I've actually never gone back to Vietnam...
Despite living here for so long, I’ve actually never gone back to Vietnam…

I speak four languages. English, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Chinese...
I speak four languages. English, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Chinese…

I came here under the ODP program, parental sponsorship...I sponsored my son to come here...Now he has a child...
I came here under the ODP program, parental sponsorship…I sponsored my son to come here…Now he has a child…

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 on boarded up windows downtown.

Rise above.
Rise above.

Many windows are boarded up in downtown San Diego against the possibility of more looting and destruction. This moment in history is tumultuous, uncertain.

As I walked through the city this morning I noticed that many of the boards have been spray painted by street artists. I was happy to discover that most of the artwork conveys positive, powerful messages.

Celebrating life, renewal, love.

Butterflies take flight.
Butterflies take flight.
Peace in the heart.
Peace in the heart.
San Diego vida.
San Diego vida.
A flowery Volkswagen Hippie Van recalls the 1960's.
A flowery Volkswagen Hippie Van recalls the 1960’s.
Black is beautiful.
Black is beautiful.
Unity through inspiration.
Unity through inspiration.
A heart is possible with hands of all colors.
A heart is possible with hands of all 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!

The Cosmic Flight of a world-famous muralist.

Cosmic Flight, a mural in Golden Hill by San Diego muralist Mario Torero.
Cosmic Flight, a mural in Golden Hill by San Diego muralist Mario Torero.

A mural titled Cosmic Flight decorates the east side of Golden Hill Liquor at the corner of 28th Street and B Street. The mural was painted in 1978 by Mario “Torero” Acevedo, whose work can be seen all around San Diego. Over the decades Cosmic Flight has been touched up, altered due to graffiti, then restored. As you can see in the above photo, it has been vandalized again.

Mario Torero is the son of renowned Peruvian artist Guillermo Acevedo who immigrated to San Diego in 1960. The life of a Bohemian was already in Mario’s blood as he and a few others local artists strove to develop a creative community in San Diego decades ago. In 1980 he opened the Sol Arts Gallery in Golden Hill across the street from the Cosmic Flight mural, the corner where Starbucks is today.

Mario Torero frequently uses cosmic imagery and expressive faces in his colorful compositions. His themes typically revolve around the civil rights movement and Chicano activism. He has been instrumental in the founding of important cultural centers in San Diego, including Chicano Park and the Centro Cultural de la Raza. A prolific and important creator of activist art, he has achieved international fame.

I walked past Cosmic Flight yesterday and was struck by the mural’s grouping of faces, which are filled with subtle emotion, including quiet pride and confidence. That’s the powerful element I like most in Mario Torero’s artwork. The humanity.

Over the years I’ve photographed a variety of other murals by Mario Torero around town.

Good examples include Cosmic Train of Wisdom in University Heights, a mural depicting civil rights leaders on Imperial Avenue, the Que Viva Barrio Logan mural, and a couple of murals I spotted during a long walk through Sherman Heights.

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!