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.

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Hidden art at the Market Creek Plaza amphitheater.

The Market Creek Plaza shopping center in southeast San Diego’s Lincoln Park community is a popular destination. But unless you’ve attended an event at the amphitheater behind the shops and restaurants, you’ve probably never seen this “hidden” public art.

Artwork that is truly extraordinary!

On the left wall of the Market Creek Plaza Amphitheater one might notice scattered colorful disks. This is just a small part of the Children’s Wall. Turn a corner and you’ll discover a copper-inlaid tree surrounded by circular ceramic leaves painted by more than 600 local children!

And perched before it, in the shade of trees lining Chollas Creek, by a patch of green grass, you’ll encounter a child with a dragonfly in his toes. The very fine bronze sculpture is titled Dragonfly Dreams, and it was created by local artist Jean Cornwell Wheat.

You can learn about this beautiful “hidden” artwork, and other public art that is located nearby, 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!

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Community sculpture at entrance to Escondido.

If you’ve ever entered or departed downtown Escondido via West Valley Parkway, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a large, quite interesting sculpture a short distance east of Interstate 15. The sculpture stands at the intersection of Valley Parkway and Tulip Street, right next to the Gateway Shopping Center.

The cast bronze sculpture is titled Community. It was created by local artist Jeff Lindeneau in 1990.

The sun’s light forms dynamic human shapes that are “cut out” of the two triangular sections of Community.

According to a City of Escondido walking tour brochure: “This bronze, copper and locally mined granite sculpture celebrates people living and building together to achieve a common goal. The dramatic sculpture’s shape is reminiscent of the mountains surrounding Escondido with a central passageway depicting the valley.”

I like how you can see trees, hillsides, signs, buildings, light posts and electrical wires inside the human shapes. They, too, are part of Community.

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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La Jolla artwork in Solana Beach!

Check out some great tile artwork depicting many of La Jolla’s landmarks.

I spied this today while walking past a shopping center in Solana Beach!

The painted tiles, created by artist Alma Ortega in 2016, can be found on the YogaSix building in the northeast corner of the Beachwalk Shopping Center.

Look at all the La Jolla landmarks. They include UCSD’s Geisel Library, the Birch Aquarium, Scripps Pier, the sea caves, the Coast Walk, and La Jolla Cove. Above it all I see the Mount Soledad Cross. Numerous popular eateries along the ocean are also depicted!

I’m not sure why this La Jolla art is in Solana Beach, but I love it!

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!

Horton Plaza stripped and gutted!

Horton Plaza, the innovative outdoor shopping mall that was once a downtown San Diego attraction, has been stripped and gutted! Its redevelopment continues!

Six months ago I noted that demolition of parts of the old shopping mall had begun. I posted those photos and some information concerning the project here.

Well, take a look now!

UPDATE!

Several months later I took these photos. The southwest corner of Horton Plaza has risen and now appears quite different!

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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Bronze wildlife sculptures at Viejas outlet mall.

Many realistic bronze sculptures representing regional wildlife can be found all around the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine, California. This unique shopping mall, filled with beautiful artwork inspired by Native American Kumeyaay life and culture, is operated by the Viejas Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians of the Viejas Reservation.

The wildlife sculptures are found throughout the mall, among trees, on pedestrian walkways, even lurking atop artificial rocks and waterfalls. Families turning corners might encounter a bear, mule deer, mountain lions, a rattlesnake, coyote, river otter, Canada geese, and even desert bighorn sheep. Adult animals are often accompanied by their young. The bronze sculptures depict the animals interacting with each other naturally in their small realistic settings.

The wildlife sculptures were created by award-winning El Cajon artist Robert G. Berry, who began as a taxidermist before turning animal sculptor. His work can also be enjoyed at the San Diego Zoo, Cypress Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor and Interpretive Center, which is also in San Diego. To see a few examples of his half dozen bronze sculptures at Mission Trails, click here!

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Contemporary art sculptures at UTC mall.

I stopped by the UTC mall in University City last Saturday on my way from downtown San Diego to North County.

Laugh if you want, but it’s probably thirty or forty years since I last took a leisurely stroll around what used to be called University Towne Center. (When I was a young man, a friend and I would visit the arcade above the ice skating rink and play pinball, Defender, Galaga, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede…)

Over the past ten years, Westfield UTC has been renovated and enlarged. Today it’s not just a popular outdoor mall, but a major entertainment destination. (And before long the Mid-Coast Trolley extension, the construction of which appears to be making great progress, will terminate at the UTC Transit Center.)

As I wandered randomly about the mall last weekend, I noticed a number of very interesting sculptures along a stretch of its perimeter. Out came my camera. I read on some plaques that the three Beverly Pepper sculptures belong to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

After I got home and did a little research, I found out I’d missed other sculptures scattered throughout the mall. Perhaps I’ll have to make another visit in the future!

Here’s what I saw:

Three Graces (Madam in Bloom, Madam Elegance, Madam Beauty), Yuriy Akopov, 2016/2017…

Octo, Anthony Howe, 2015…

The First Amphitheater, Beverly Pepper, 1965…

West Coast School, Laddie John Dill, 2017…

Severio Column, Beverly Pepper, 1978…

Zeus Triad, Beverly Pepper, 1997-1999…

Radix, Joshua Koffman, 2017…

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!

Demolition and redevelopment at Horton Plaza!

Parts of Horton Plaza are now being demolished. The redevelopment of a downtown shopping mall that used to be a major tourist attraction is underway!

I walked around the old shopping mall and saw several places where the exterior facade is being torn down. At the south end, the large building that used to house Nordstrom (which closed its doors 4 years ago) and 24 Hour Fitness is wrapped up in white plastic. Check out the very odd-looking photograph above!

As you can see in another photograph, I walked past the small Post Office at Horton Plaza and it’s also now closed. Everything inside was being loaded onto a postal vehicle.

Horton Plaza Mall, when it opened in 1985, quickly became a popular San Diego tourist attraction, largely due to its unusual downtown location and wildly imaginative and colorful architecture.

I remember going there as a young man and being fascinated at how ramps and escalators led every which way, as if the mall were some crazy, asymmetric, three dimensional maze. The shopping center was designed using an idea relished by science fiction author Ray Bradbury. In his essay “The Aesthetics of Lostness” he extolled the virtues of getting safely lost in the world’s great cities, and how small adventures can result.

Horton Plaza, which gradually lost its popularity, is now being redeveloped into a 10-acre office campus that hopes to draw tech companies into downtown San Diego. There will be some retail space, too, with places to shop and eat. I’ve read that some of the interior bridges that I’ve always loved will be retained.

You can see photos that I took inside brightly colorful Horton Plaza many years ago here and 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!

More street art at Fenton Marketplace!

I was pulling into the parking lot at Fenton Marketplace in Mission Valley when I spied two large electrical boxes painted by local artist Brise Birdsong!

In the past I’ve photographed other examples of Brise’s fun street art. You can recognize her work on a couple of boxes along nearby Fenton Parkway. See those here!

About a year ago I briefly met the artist in City Heights. She helped to mentor new muralist Mimi Gonzalez Martinez. Read about that 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!

Street art and a little history in Linda Vista.

I walked through Linda Vista yesterday, up Linda Vista Road from Comstock Street to Genesee Avenue. I discovered great examples of street art and some fascinating local history!

Linda Vista is an old San Diego neighborhood whose origin is tied to World War II. According to Wikipedia: “Many of the homes in Linda Vista were built in 1940-41 as part of a government project to house aircraft workers for the war effort. A construction project that was assisted by Reuben H. Fleet beginning in October 1941 resulted in 3,001 houses built within 200 days.”

One of the first shopping malls ever built in the United States was built in this community. As I walked up Linda Vista Road past the Sieu Thi Thuan Phat Supermarket, I came upon a bronze plaque that describes that history.

Today, as you can see from my photographs, many who live in Linda Vista have an Asian heritage.

The plaque reads:

THIS SITE WAS THE LOCATION OF ONE OF
THE FIRST PLANNED SHOPPING CENTERS
IN THE UNITED STATES

The Linda Vista area was developed as a government
housing project for aircraft and shipyard defense
workers during World War II. The original shopping
center was built to serve the residents and was
dedicated in 1942 by Eleanor Roosevelt. Demolition of
the original shopping center occurred in 1972.

LINDA VISTA COMMUNITY
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, 2009

Above is the photo of a beautiful mural by local artist Gloria Muriel, spray painted on the wall of Hot Wash Coin Laundry. Love and Respect.

There’s a tragic phenomenon in the large cities of California that I rarely photograph. In Linda Vista, as in most of San Diego, drugs and homelessness are now encountered everywhere one walks.

A heartbreaking photo.

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