Amazing new murals at San Diego Automotive Museum.

Visitors to the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park walk under four large temporary murals recently installed above the California State Building's entrance.
Visitors to the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park walk under four large temporary murals recently installed above the 1935 California State Building’s entrance.

The 1935 California State Building in Balboa Park, home to the San Diego Automotive Museum, is slowly being restored to its former glory. Four temporary murals were installed above the entrance several weeks ago. They are based on murals that decorated the building during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

Much of the California State Building’s original ornamentation no longer exists, including the four original murals. They were created for the exposition by Hollywood set designer Juan Larrinaga. Painted on fiberboard to appear like tilework, they depicted California’s commerce, scenic beauty, agriculture and industry.

Balboa Park’s Committee of 100 will be raising funds to recreate the historic murals with beautiful ceramic tiles. Meanwhile, these four amazing temporary murals will welcome visitors to Balboa Park’s San Diego Automotive Museum.

To learn more about this project, and other work being undertaken by the Committee of 100 to restore and enhance Balboa Park, including the Palisades area where the 1935 California State Building is located, visit their website here.

A depiction of California's commerce originally created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
A depiction of California’s commerce originally created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
California's abundant natural beauty is depicted.
California’s abundant natural beauty is depicted.
A depiction of California's agriculture, which feeds many around the world.
A depiction of California’s agriculture, which feeds many around the world.
The fourth mural from 1935 depicts California's industrial activity.
The fourth mural from 1935 depicts California’s industrial activity.

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Marvin the Martian mural invades Little Italy!

Marvin the Martian salutes as a space rocket rises.
Marvin the Martian salutes as a space rocket rises.

I believe this cool Marvin the Martian Space Clones mural was painted during San Diego Comic-Con, but I noticed it for the first time yesterday as I walked through Little Italy. It’s painted on the front of the Blick Art Materials store on India Street.

The early morning sun was casting a tree’s dark shadow onto the mural. The effect is interesting–almost psychedelic.

Bugs Bunny watch out! Marvin has his lethal ray gun ready to zap, and he’s a tad bit smarter than Yosemite Sam!

Marvin the Martian, lurking in a mural, awaits two unsuspecting people who are walking down a Little Italy sidewalk.
Marvin the Martian, lurking in a mural, awaits two unsuspecting humans who are walking down a Little Italy sidewalk.
Marvin the Martian was created to resemble the Roman god of war Mars. Bugs Bunny, watch out! That's no Elmer Fudd!
Marvin the Martian was created to resemble the Roman god of war Mars. Bugs Bunny, watch out! That’s no Elmer Fudd!
Marvin the Martian is ready to conquer planet Earth. But somehow I don't think he'll succeed.
Marvin the Martian is ready to conquer planet Earth. But somehow I don’t think he’ll succeed.

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Cool environmental mural on Commercial Street.

Cool artwork painted by Dolan Stearns for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project in 2016 depicts the harmful presence of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the oceans.
Cool artwork painted by Dolan Stearns for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project in 2016 depicts the harmful presence of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the oceans.

I got off the Orange Line trolley the other day to capture photos of some cool street art on Commercial Street just east of 20th Street.

Like many other PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans artwork that one can spot around San Diego, this one has an environmental message about taking care of the ocean. The mural, which illustrates the harmful effects of plastic pollution on marine life, was painted in 2016 by Dolan Stearns.

The left side of the mural shows an ugly yellow head spewing pollution into the water.
The left side of the mural shows a big, ugly yellow head spewing pollution into the water.
The right side of the mural features a large pink whale.
The right side of the mural features a large pink whale.
The three-eyed whale has a mouthful of plastic junk.
The three-eyed whale has a mouthful of plastic bags, bottles, cups and junk.
The yellow human head, topped by city buildings and a smokestack, vomits disgusting trash into the blue ocean.
The yellow human head, topped by city buildings and a smokestack, vomits disgusting waste into the blue ocean.

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I support restoring the Palisades in Balboa Park.

Some supporters of Balboa Park, including The Committee of One Hundred, would like to restore the Palisades area of the park to its former glory. I learned about this visionary effort on Labor Day while grabbing some napkins at the cafe inside the Casa de Balboa. A stack of postcards had been placed nearby. I picked one up. Here’s a photo:

Photos on a postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park's Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.
A postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park’s Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.

As you can see, in 1935, during the California Pacific International Exposition, the Palisades contained spacious lawns, flowers and benches where today you’ll find a large ugly parking lot.

Sounds familiar? For decades the Plaza de Panama on El Prado contained a similarly ugly parking lot. But after that parking lot’s removal and replacement with tables, umbrellas, potted greenery and public art, the Plaza de Panama has become a bustling hub of activity full of people enjoying the sunny San Diego outdoors, as was originally intended.

Now back to the Palisades area. After a little more research, I’ve learned The Committee of One Hundred is already working to replace the four long-lost murals that used to be above the entrance of the 1935 California State Building, which is home to the San Diego Automotive Museum. To see more about that project, check out The Committee of One Hundred’s 2017 newsletter.

Given what I’ve read and know, I must say I’m in full agreement with the idea of restoring the Palisades. The parking lot is an absolute eyesore and many of the surrounding buildings appear bare and decayed. Most people who park here don’t linger. They immediately head in the direction of El Prado.

The Palisades parking lot seems completely unnecessary. Today, without spending a penny in construction, it appears to me there’s already plenty of parking across Park Boulevard south of the Veterans Museum–that huge lower lot is usually mostly empty. Simply add signage and one or two more stops for the parking shuttle.

When San Diego Comic-Con opens their new museum in the Federal Building next year, I imagine many more visitors will be drawn into the Palisades area. It seems to me the energetic people at Comic-Con International and other museums who would greatly benefit from a revitalization of the Palisades–the San Diego Air and Space Museum in particular–could use their considerable combined influence to help speed a beautiful restoration.

And why must it be an exact restoration? Why not add more flowers, some new outdoor art, and even a lively, splashing fountain? Why not both restore history and make history? Balboa Park should be forward-looking, optimistic, alive! San Diego’s world-renowned gem could shine even more brightly! Just imagine!

Fun new murals at Sheldon’s Service Station!

A frog in a red teacup floats on a tea river.
A frog in a red teacup floats on a tea river.

Yesterday I spotted some fun new murals in the process of being painted at Sheldon’s Service Station, a popular La Mesa breakfast and lunch spot. Many years ago this coffee shop’s building was a La Mesa gas station.

A friendly guy at Sheldon’s Service Station said an artist named Kara has been working on the two murals for a couple of weeks. Take a look!

One of two fun new murals being painted on outdoor walls at Sheldon's Service Station in La Mesa.
One of two fun new murals being painted on outdoor walls at Sheldon’s Service Station in La Mesa.
Funny animals in the imaginative mural include Droopy and tea-drinking pelicans!
Funny animals in the imaginative mural include Droopy and tea-drinking pelicans!

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Cool new mural in East Village crushes it!

Crushing It. A cool new mural just completed in San Diego's East Village at the corner of Park Boulevard and J Street.
Crushing It. A cool new mural just completed in San Diego’s East Village at the corner of Park Boulevard and J Street.

Last week I noticed a new mural was being painted on a building wall in East Village. I glimpsed the preliminary outlines as I passed by on the trolley, which was heading along Park Boulevard just south of the Market Street station.

Well, today I observed that this very cool mural has been completed! You can find it at the intersection of Park Boulevard and J Street. Apparently titled Crushing It, this colorful spray paint art was created by Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki of Cohort Collective, a group of local artists who have awesome urban artwork all over San Diego!

It appears to me the local artists Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki of Cohort Collective have crushed it!
It appears to me the local artists Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki of Cohort Collective have crushed it!
Lots of old wrecked cars are piled up behind Rant's Demolition neon sign!
Lots of old wrecked cars are piled up behind that Rant’s Demolition neon sign!
A beautiful female face has materialized on a building wall in downtown San Diego!
A beautiful female face has materialized on a building wall in downtown San Diego!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Glimpses of art along a few blocks in North Park.

Someone's artistic bicycle has a potted plant in its basket.
Someone’s artistic bicycle has a potted plant in its basket.

I captured these quick photos during a walk in North Park, along Adams Avenue between 30th Street and the I-805 bridge. Bits of art add flavor to life in the city.

Someone rests on a painted transformer box on Adams Avenue near 30th Street.
Someone rests on a painted transformer box on Adams Avenue near 30th Street.
A monkey on a utility box, crowned by a rummage sale notice.
A monkey on a utility box, crowned by a rummage sale notice.
A dog sees a yummy doughnut!
A dog sees a yummy doughnut!
A cool lady seems to stand on the sidewalk.
A cool lady seems to stand on the sidewalk.
Looking down from the Adams Avenue bridge over Interstate 805.
Looking down from the Adams Avenue bridge over Interstate 805.
Abstract mural incorporates nearby utility boxes.
Abstract mural incorporates nearby utility boxes.
An awesome Jimi Hendrix street mural near dumpster and motorcycle.
An awesome Jimi Hendrix street mural near dumpster and motorcycle.

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!