Make art or make a difference.

Make art or make a difference. I saw those words this morning as I walked past the window of James Watts’ downtown art studio.

Several faces were also peering from the window.

I was fortunate to meet this renowned local artist and explore his absolutely incredible studio a couple years ago.

If you’d like to have a peek inside James Watts’ creative wonderland, you can revisit my old blog post by clicking 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!

A cool mural walk in Pacific Beach!

One of many cool works of art a group learns about during a guided mural walk in Pacific Beach.
One of many great works of art a group learns about during a guided mural walk in Pacific Beach.

Today I was lucky to go on a really cool guided mural walk in Pacific Beach! The tour was led by Leslie Dufour of beautifulPB, which is a volunteer organization formed by PB residents and businesses who are working to create a sustainably beautiful Pacific Beach. You can learn more about beautifulPB by visiting their website here.

During the walk, I learned that the folks of beautifulPB have a PB Murals program, and they’re looking to add even more public art to their already colorful community.

The murals we saw today were all fantastic, and there were many that I hadn’t seen during my various Pacific Beach walks over the years. We even got to meet one the artists, Kathleen King. She painted an iconic PB mural that you will see in my upcoming photographs, plus the landmark America’s Finest City mural in downtown San Diego!

Today’s amazing tour began in a small courtyard area behind Randall’s Sandals on Garnet Avenue, where we learned from Leslie Dufour about the history of murals, particularly their early 20th century renaissance in Mexico led by artists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. That movement continues to influence muralists today.

After the fascinating presentation our group embarked on a looping walk of perhaps a mile or less. Future walks featuring additional murals are planned!

Thank you to Yerba Mate Bar & Empanadas, where we paused to enjoy some vegan treats that were really delicious! They intend to turn their outdoor courtyard space into a Pacific Beach arts center. Very cool!

Okay, let’s see some photos! Read the captions!

Our group heads through the beautifully painted walkway of Randall's Sandals, where the long mural opens up for all to see.
Our group heads through the beautifully painted walkway of Randall’s Sandals, where the long mural opens up for all to see.
We learn about the history of murals beside the work of muralist Jared Blake Lazar.
We learn about the history of murals beside the work of muralist Jared Blake Lazar.
Mural by @MatthewMillington depicts a very colorful Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent diety of ancient Mesoamerican people.
Mural by @MatthewMillington depicts a very colorful Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent diety of ancient Mesoamerican people.
A mermaid mural by @LovePaperPaint (Katie Gaines) is inspired by the traditional La Sirena image in Mexican Lotería.
A mermaid mural by @LovePaperPaint (Katie Gaines) is inspired by the traditional La Sirena image in Mexican Lotería.
This female superhero mural was painted by artist MDMN (John Moody) during a past San Diego Comic-Con.
This female superhero mural was painted by artist MDMN (John Moody) during a past San Diego Comic-Con.
Our group meets muralist Kathleen King, whose 1988 mural was painted from a 1943 photo of Garnet Avenue, looking west toward Crystal Pier.
Our group meets prolific artist Kathleen King, whose 1988 mural was painted from a 1943 photo of Garnet Avenue, looking west toward Crystal Pier.
Plaque explains the mural depicts the corner of Cass Street and Garnet Avenue as it was in 1943.
Nearby plaque explains this mural depicts the corner of Cass Street and Garnet Avenue as it was in 1943.
The historic brick building in this iconic PB mural still stands at the nearby corner.
The historic brick building in this iconic PB mural still stands on the street corner.
And here is that building!
And here is that building!
A cool John Lennon mural on the side of Five Guys was painted in 2006 by Steve Gorrow, Creative Director of Insight Clothing.
John Lennon with a daisy in his eye. A cool mural on the side of Five Guys that was painted in 2006 by Steve Gorrow, Creative Director of Insight Clothing.
Left part of fantastic shark mural at Even Keel Tattoo, by artists Nate Banuelos and Kyle Walker.
Left side of fantastic shark mural at Even Keel Tattoo, by artists Nate Banuelos and Kyle Walker.
Right side of mural, with many fantastic, romantic, sea-themed elements.
Right side of the same mural, which contains romantic, sea-themed elements.
Learning about one of Pacific Beach's many amazing, colorful murals during a guided walk!
Learning about one of Pacific Beach’s many beautiful, creative murals during a guided walk!

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.

WonderCon art at the Comic-Con Museum!

Another super cool exhibition opened this evening in Balboa Park at the future home of the Comic-Con Museum!

Sense of Wonder: The Art of WonderCon Anaheim features a gallery full of original artwork used for the covers of WonderCon program books. Many top comic artists have created these covers over the years, and visitors this evening were admiring sketches, thumbnails and finished pieces by the likes of Jim Lee, Dan Jurgens, and many others.

Before everyone filtered into the gallery, the 2020 WonderCon program book cover by artist Jen Bartel, winner in 2019 of an Eisner Award, was revealed: a stunning rendition of Wonder Woman with her golden Lasso of Truth! There was applause all around!

This great exhibition will be open to public on select dates through May 31, 2020.  If you’re in San Diego and love either WonderCon or Comic-Con, or if you have kids who love superheroes–particularly DC characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman–don’t miss it!

Follow the Comic-Con Museum’s Facebook page here for more info!

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!

Library honors those who dare to write!

To write a book requires great daring.

An author labors every day, hour, minute, writing, brainstorming, re-writing, doubting, dreaming, despairing, pouring out heart, soul and some of their deepest, most vulnerable thoughts for the entire public to read.

Will the finished words be criticized?

Will the author be ridiculed?

Will all that hard, agonizing work simply be ignored?

During the month of February, the San Diego Central Library is honoring the work of local writers. Books and eBooks that have been published in the past year are on display in the Local Author Showcase. The beautiful books have taken center stage on the first floor of the library for everyone to admire.

Writing is difficult. Writing a book is extremely difficult.

Congratulations to those who dared and succeeded!

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!

Street art on the National City Mile of Cars.

One of my walks today was an easy loop through National City, which included a stretch of the Mile of Cars.

I ventured up National City Boulevard, north of Mile of Cars Way, wondering what I might discover. I knew I’d pass many car dealerships and parking lots filled with thousands of vehicles. But would I see any street art?

The few examples of art that I found were colorful and very cool!

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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!

Two cool, abstract murals at Bibbey’s!

Today I took two short walks in the South Bay. One of my modest adventures was near the Imperial Beach Pier.

I noticed that on Seacoast Drive, across from the pier, Bibbey’s gift shop now has two very cool murals, one painted on the south wall and one on the north. Both are super creative and contain all sorts of abstract characters, including kooky surfers, a mermaid, and what appear to be faceless underwater ball players!

That mural with elements from pop culture that I blogged about almost six years ago here seems to be long gone. Only the shark remains at the building’s southwest corner–an updated and rather fierce version!

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!

Step into El Cajon’s super cool Arts Alley!

At first glance the place might seem unremarkable. Just another alley in downtown El Cajon–north of Main Street, between Magnolia Avenue and Sulzfeld Way. And just south of the Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center, which is located on Rea Avenue.

But should you step into El Cajon’s surprising Arts Alley, you’ll suddenly find yourself surrounded by delightful murals and fantastic works of imagination! The alley is so full of creativity, some of the super cool artwork has overflowed right out of it at the east end!

And what is an alley without cats?

You’ll also find a few wise quotes written on walls concerning the nature of beauty.

(You might notice in my photos that Arts Alley is located behind a couple of art galleries–plus a variety of other El Cajon shops and eateries that line a historic segment of Main Street.)

To be accurate, those two large Olaf Wieghorst Museum murals I posted aren’t in Arts Alley, but both can be seen from it! (I believe there’s another Western-themed mural that I failed to photograph. Oops.)

In case you’re curious, Olaf Wieghorst was a popular painter of the American West, whose work once appeared all over, including Zane Grey’s Western Magazine and the open titles sequence of the John Wayne movie El Dorado. He lived in El Cajon, where the museum is located, the second half of his life.

One day I hope to swing by the museum when it’s open and blog about the experience!

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!