Discovering art on random San Diego walks!

One of the best things about taking long, random walks around San Diego is the unexpected discoveries of art.

No matter which neighborhood you move through, more surprising art awaits–if you have lifted eyes.

Many Cool San Diego Sights posts contain these discoveries of art. Before aiming my camera, I like to pause and enter the small worlds that have been created, and wonder at the unique genius of each artist’s vision.

Move through the city with curious eyes and you might be rewarded by observing a particular creative effort in progress.

During a walk early this year I noticed a partially completed mural outside Yohed Coffee on University Avenue in City Heights…

During a walk several weeks later, I noticed the white halo-like space had additions of gold…

Sometimes I’ll find art that has suddenly popped into the world. Sort of like how you and I pop into this world, rather mysteriously.

Here’s a mural I saw recently on Mission Boulevard in Pacific Beach. The artwork appears to be by @saltandpaint. The restaurant it’s painted on has closed, but “Te amo Pacific Beach” lives on and is shared in many hearts…

Here’s an old photo on my computer. I believe this was taken in Pacific Beach, too, but I’m not certain…

More art in PB–tattoo art!

I stumbled upon this strangely spiritual and very beautiful mural in Lemon Grove near the corner of Broadway and Lemon Grove Avenue. It’s by Danny Darkoski.

Walking along in La Jolla I happened to notice an artist at work…

Artist Todd McNeley was placing his own amazing, unique vision on canvas…

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 fantastic Silver Ship house in La Jolla!

Perhaps you’ve seen that very unusual house perched high on a hillside in La Jolla. You can’t miss it when you drive west down Nautilus Street.

It was designed by Eugene Ray, a San Diego State University professor who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996. He found his inspiration from UFOs and natural, organic shapes!

The house is called the Silver Ship.

Back in 1978, five SDSU students set to work building the unique structure. You can read about the project and see photographs of the construction on Eugene Ray’s blog here. For years it was his La Jolla home and studio.

I first learned about the Silver Ship in 2019 at an exhibition of Eugene Ray’s work at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Like many of his designs, it’s form is simple and symmetric and consequently unusual. He observed a UFO in his youth, and it influenced his architectural concepts throughout his life. See more of his groundbreaking designs, learn more of his unique story, and see blueprints of the fantastic Silver Ship by visiting my old blog post here!

When you compare these to the original photographs, you can see how the Silver Ship appears different today. If I recall correctly, a new owner redesigned the house somewhat. Interesting that now it appears a little more like a . . . silver ship!

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!

Wavy, twisted metal poles spell ART!

Observe this series of photographs and you’ll see some of the coolest public art in San Diego!

Viewed from one particular spot, these twisty wavy metal poles rising 25 feet above the beach turn into the word ART!

The delightful sculpture, titled Banner Art, was created by John Banks in 2006. It was commissioned by the Port of San Diego and the City of Imperial Beach.

You can find this optical revelation near the corner of Imperial Beach Boulevard and Seacoast Drive.

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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San Diego International Organ Festival returns!

Every time a world-class organist performs in Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ shines.

Tonight the Spreckels Organ, largest outdoor instrument in the world, one of San Diego’s most unique and precious treasures, absolutely sparkled.

Concert organist Hector Olivera filled Balboa Park with magic during the first performance of the two-month-long San Diego International Organ Festival.

Hector Olivera, considered one of the greatest organists alive, took the stage with his humor and deft touch and created something extraordinary. I sat mesmerized throughout the concert. The music he summoned from the Spreckels Organ was subtle, luminous, alive.

Hector Olivera was a child prodigy. As a five-year-old he played for Eva Perón. Before he’d left his teens he’d performed for heads of state. He has since played in many of the world’s most prestigious venues.

Tonight he started the 2021 San Diego International Organ Festival with an act that will be hard to top. But more top organists are coming, including San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

If you love listening to world-class musicians you must go to this free weekly event. The Spreckels Organ shines in Balboa Park every Monday at 7:30 pm through October 25, 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!

Shulman’s architectural photography in San Diego.

Ford Building, 1934, Digital reproduction of a photograph by Julius Shulman. The first known photo by Shulman in San Diego County.
Ford Building, 1934, Digital reproduction of a photograph by Julius Shulman. The first known photo by Shulman in San Diego County.

Today I headed to the San Diego Central Library Art Gallery to view some amazing photographs. Many images captured by famous architectural photographer Julius Shulman are on display free to the public for a couple more weeks. The exhibition, which concludes on January 19, 2020, is titled Julius Shulman: Modern San Diego.

Julius Shulman’s renowned work spans seven decades, from 1934 to 2007. He is best known for his photography in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but he did photograph a variety of projects in San Diego. He worked mostly for architects and publishers, and his images have appeared in many leading magazines.

I was interested to see photos of historic buildings that no longer exist, and other iconic buildings that I often pass during my walks.

Those who are fascinated by San Diego’s history and architecture should head to the 9th floor of the Central Library to experience this exhibition. Shulman had a discerning eye, capturing the lines, depth and essence of the structures he photographed. The dozens of images you’ll encounter are not only brilliant, but they will help you to travel back in time and see San Diego in a whole new light.

An exhibition of important architectural photographs, titled Julius Shulman: Modern San Diego, at the San Diego Central Library Gallery.
An exhibition of important architectural photographs, titled Julius Shulman: Modern San Diego, at the San Diego Central Library Art Gallery.

Shulman began as an amateur photographer using a Vest Pocket Kodak. His eventual career in architectural photography would span seven decades.
Shulman began as an amateur photographer using a Vest Pocket Kodak. His eventual career in architectural photography would span seven decades.

Cover of The Photography of Architecture and Design, by Julius Shulman.
Cover of The Photography of Architecture and Design, by Julius Shulman.

Capri Theater, 1954, Digital reproduction of photograph by Julius Shulman. Architecture by Frank Guys. The building, at Park Boulevard and Essex Street, was demolished in 2003.
Capri Theater, 1954, Digital reproduction of photograph by Julius Shulman. Architecture by Frank Guys. The building, at Park Boulevard and Essex Street, was demolished in 2003.

El Cortez Hotel, 1957, Digital reproduction of photograph by Julius Shulman. The 1956 building remodel added the world's first outdoor glass elevator--the Starlite Roof Express.
El Cortez Hotel, 1957, Digital reproduction of photograph by Julius Shulman. The 1956 building remodel added the world’s first outdoor glass elevator–the Starlite Roof Express.

San Diego State College, 1968, Digital reproduction of photograph by Julius Shulman. Architecture by Mosher and Drew. Interior of Aztec Center, which was demolished in 2011.
San Diego State College, 1968, Digital reproduction of photograph by Julius Shulman. Architecture by Mosher and Drew. Interior of Aztec Center, which was demolished in 2011.

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!

Architecture inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

An exhibition of truly amazing architectural designs recently opened at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray showcases the futuristic architectural concepts of an emeritus professor from San Diego State University, who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996.

Those who have driven through La Jolla might have seen the fantastic house and studio he built at 1699 Nautilus Street. It’s commonly referred to as the Silver Ship. It was erected in 1978 with the help of Environmental Design students from SDSU.

It’s no surprise that many of Eugene Ray’s designs appear a bit like spaceships. His inspiration comes not only from simple, efficient, resilient forms found in nature, but from his life-changing sighting of a UFO in 1947 when he was a boy.

According to one sign I read, many of the innovative designs synthesized “Ray’s concepts of the synergy of color, light, and sound to create holistic, healing and energizing environments.” He also sought to create modular structures, which would be affordable and easily assembled.

I was told that his organic, biomorphic designs are so futuristic, unusual and brilliant that world-famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury at one time had plans to make a movie about Eugene Ray’s work.

Here are a few photos of the original drawings, prototypes, renderings and highly creative artwork currently on display. This very cool exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery runs through October 6, 2019.

James A. Perry Residence - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
James A. Perry Residence – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.

Aerodyne Sports House - 1984.
Aerodyne Sports House – 1984.

Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship - La Jolla, California, 1978.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship – La Jolla, California, 1978.

Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located at 1699 Nautilus Street in La Jolla, California.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located in La Jolla, California.

Pavilion for Holy Cross High School - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.

Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.

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!

Radiant Spire proposed for Notre Dame.

Appearance of rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral with Radiant Spire, designed by architect Eugene Ray.
Appearance of rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral with Radiant Spire, designed by San Diego architect Eugene Ray.

I guess it’s too late now. Last month the French Parliament passed a law that states Notre Dame Cathedral must be restored to its exact condition before the recent, catastrophic fire.

But how might Paris have appeared if Notre Dame were crowned by a glowing spire?

The Radiant Spire is a fantastic concept created by architect Eugene Ray, who from 1969 to 1996 headed the Environmental Design program at San Diego State University. In 2019, with the help of architect Joe Cordelle, he designed a geodesic structure that unites a cone and sphere, and which radiates light.

I saw these images today while visiting the exhibition Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. As a proposal the Radiant Spire is inspiring and very beautiful.

But, alas, it will remain an idea.

Description of Radiant Spire for Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant structure evokes an exuberant spirituality reaching skywards...
Description of Radiant Spire for rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant structure evokes an exuberant spirituality reaching skywards…

Elevation view of proposed spire for Notre Dame.
Elevation view of proposed spire for Notre Dame.

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!

Comic-Con panel: The rise of Mexican filmmaking.

Today I attended a fascinating panel at 2019 Comic-Con titled Making a Bridge with Genre Movies. The panel wasn’t held in the San Diego Convention Center, but offsite in Barrio Logan, in the Artists’ Loft at BarrioHaus. Panels at this location tend to concentrate on Latinx culture and contributions to the popular arts.

Four panelists–Victor Osuna, Frank Rodriguez, Sebastian Finck and Mitch Hyman–discussed the rise of independent Mexican filmmaking and how Latin filmmakers have increasingly achieved success reaching an international audience. I was introduced to the hashtag #Jallywood, which is a combination of Jalisco and Hollywood. Filmmakers are striving to attract creative people for projects in Mexico.

I learned that using today’s technology, a quality film can be produced by anyone anywhere. With the internet, to achieve substantial success no longer requires a relocation to Hollywood or other media centers–it requires vision, passion, persistence, and a broadly appealing story. Good stories are universal in nature–all people react similarly to powerful human dramas and themes. Genres, styles and topics might be diverse, but basic human emotions are shared by all. Spicing a film with the culture of Mexico, or any other place, simply adds uniqueness and authenticity. The trick is connection: creating that irresistible appeal.

I learned that not only is the cost of producing a film in Mexico much less expensive than the United States, but there are fantastic settings (and stories) just waiting to be tapped. The opportunities in Mexico are wide open to any creator who is optimistic–who can see and grasp that unlimited future.

In this digital world, isn’t that true for much creative activity? While good equipment and skilled production is essential for filmmaking, isn’t it the extent to which the end product achieves likes and shares and downloads and streams that increasingly determines real success?

At the panel’s conclusion, the audience was asked to share their experience on social media.

Seems to me like good advice!

Why did this panel fascinate me? I do a little writing here.

Cleverly designed furniture is surprising, playful art!

Artwork now on display in the SDSU Downtown Gallery includes extraordinary furniture!
Artwork now on display in the SDSU Downtown Gallery includes extraordinary furniture!

Some fantastic, highly innovative art is now on display at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Tom Loeser: Please Please Please is the title of the surprising exhibition.

Walk through the door of the SDSU Downtown Gallery and you might not be sure whether you’ve entered a bizarre furniture and hardware store or a dream-place where art conforms to your body. Those abstract paintings on the wall actually unfold into chairs! Those shovel handles in a row form the back of a beautifully crafted wooden bench! That colorful “luggage” tossed in a heap in one corner seems more appropriate for a comfortable living room than a cargo hold!

According to a sign in the gallery, Tom Loeser imagines new ways that the body, furniture and space can interact. He wonders: if the furniture we sit on were totally different, how might our lives be different too?

I can tell you resting on these pieces (and you’re allowed to actually sit on a few of his tumblers) would put me in a very creative and happy state of mind.

As I sat I might gaze at Tom Loeser’s artwork on the gallery’s walls, which includes fantastic blue cyanotypes and strangely elemental pyrography. Transformed by the artist’s genius, ordinary objects seem to radiate a weird spiritual essence. The images, like his furniture, seem to present a vision of unexpected potentialities in our practical, solidly physical world.

If you love really clever art, check out the SDSU Downtown Gallery before this exhibition ends on October 28, 2018!

The art exhibition Tom Loeser: Please Please Please is now showing in downtown San Diego.
The art exhibition Tom Loeser: Please Please Please is now showing in downtown San Diego.

Two works of art by Tom Loeser. Not a Dozen Even, 2014, cyanotype. Double Dig, 2016, white oak and shovel handles.
Two works of art by Tom Loeser. Not a Dozen Even, 2014, cyanotype. Double Dig, 2016, white oak and shovel handles.

S/M/L, 2014, cyanotype by artist Tom Loeser.
S/M/L, 2014, cyanotype by artist Tom Loeser.

A room full of practical objects made dreamlike.
A room full of practical objects made dreamlike.

Dig for Three, 2015, walnut and shovel handles by artist Tom Loeser.
Dig for Three, 2015, walnut and shovel handles by artist Tom Loeser.

LA/Chicago/New York, 2016, plywood, wood, felt, paint by artist Tom Loeser.
LA/Chicago/New York, 2016, plywood, wood, felt, paint by artist Tom Loeser.

A colorful tumbler that can be sat upon comfortably any which way.
A colorful tumbler that can be sat upon comfortably any which way.

Folding Chair, 1987, painted plywood, maple, stainless steel by artist Tom Loeser.
Folding Chair, 1987, painted plywood, maple, stainless steel by artist Tom Loeser.

Scythe by Scythe, 2016, maple, hickory, scythe handles by artist Tom Loeser.
Scythe by Scythe, 2016, maple, hickory, scythe handles by artist Tom Loeser.

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 fantastic art of Richard Deacon in San Diego!

Double Talk by artist Richard Deacon, winner of the Turner Prize. Laminated wood and imitation leather. 1987.
Double Talk by artist Richard Deacon, winner of the Turner Prize. Laminated wood and imitation leather. 1987.

Look at these photos! Enjoy a taste of some wonders that have materialized inside the San Diego Museum of Art!

My docent friend took me on a tour yesterday morning of the jaw-dropping exhibition Richard Deacon: What You See Is What You Get. The abstract artwork of this world-renowned British contemporary sculptor, winner of the Turner Prize, is being shown for the first time in a major American museum–right here at the San Diego Museum of Art!

I don’t know how to begin explaining the various pieces. I did plainly see that Richard Deacon takes joy in inventive creation, working diverse materials, seeing organic forms bubble and expand into life. Gazing at his often huge pieces, I felt myself tumbling through a space filled with living shapes, mythological symbols, dreamlike visions. His muscle-crafted marvels have been extracted from infinite possibility, bent into reality.

I don’t know what else to say. I’ve added a little more description in my photo captions. But words are insufficient. What you see is what you get!

It’s great news that this special exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art has been extended through Labor Day, September 04, 2017. Go feast your eyes!

Richard Deacon. What you see is what you get. To see it, head over to the San Diego Museum of Art!
Richard Deacon. What you see is what you get. To see it, head over to the San Diego Museum of Art!

Eyes are met with an astonishing work of abstract art. Dancing in Front of My Eyes, 2006. Wood, aluminum.
Eyes are met with an astonishing work of abstract art. Dancing in Front of My Eyes, 2006. Wood, aluminum.

In places the screws, glue, and the wood itself seem to be unfinished parts of a living whole. The fluid piece undulates from the hand of its inventive creator.
In places screws, glue, and the wood itself seem to be “unfinished” parts of a living whole. The fluid piece undulates from the hand of its inventive creator.

An intangible tangle of shadow on the floor seems to be an important part of the sculpture. The artist calls himself a fabricator.
An intangible tangle of shadow on the floor seems to be an important part of the sculpture. The artist calls himself a fabricator.

An amazing creation, that seems to me like active muscles or tendons in a living body. Dead Leg, 2007. Steamed oak, stainless steel.
An amazing creation, that seems to me like active muscles or tendons in a living body. Dead Leg, 2007. Steamed oak, stainless steel.

The wood is artistically bent using steam and heat. During this process, Richard Deacon has about two minutes to permanently alter the wood’s shape.

This looks to me like supple leather. A portion of Fish out of Water. Laminated hardboard, screws. 1986-87.
This looks to me like supple leather. A portion of Fish out of Water. Laminated hardboard, screws. 1986-87.

Richard Deacon creates astonishing art using many different materials. These huge pieces are ceramic. They seem to have bubbled up from the Earth, or the artist's mind.
Richard Deacon creates astonishing art using many different materials. These huge pieces are ceramic. They seem to have bubbled up from the Earth, or the artist’s mind.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow C. Glazed ceramic. 2000.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow C. Glazed ceramic. 2000.

Housing 10, 2012. Marbling on folded STPI handmade paper, constructed with magnet button.
Housing 10, 2012. Marbling on folded STPI handmade paper, constructed with magnet button.

Richard Deacon enjoys playful, suggestive language and has called this huge piece Double Talk. The viewer can decide what is meant.
Richard Deacon enjoys playful, suggestive language and has called this huge piece Double Talk. The viewer can decide what is meant.

The abstract sculpture stretches and curves in an inviting way. It is both natural and larger than life.
The abstract sculpture stretches and curves in an inviting way. It is both natural and larger than life.

Falling on Deaf Ears, No. 1. Galvanized steel, canvas. 1984. My docent friend explained this represents the ship of Odysseus, as he sailed by the treacherous Sirens.
Falling on Deaf Ears, No. 1. Galvanized steel, canvas. 1984. My docent friend explained this represents the ship of Odysseus, as he sailed past the treacherous Sirens.

Across this room soars Like a Bird. Laminated wood, 1984. Richard Deacon creates spacious wonders that tickle the mind and expand the spirit.
Across this room soars Like a Bird. Laminated wood, 1984. Richard Deacon creates spacious wonders that tickle the mind and expand the spirit.

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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