Contemporary art created by thousands.

This morning, as I walked through downtown along Kettner Boulevard, I had to pause for a few moments in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Right smack dab in front of my eyes was some of the most amazing contemporary art.

What I saw was fantastic, complex, perplexing, sublime. The artwork contained numberless potential meanings, contrasts, mysteries. And it was created by the thoughts, longings and creative hands of thousands.

As clouds moved and the sun rose and a truck turned in front of me, I realized it was living art. And dangerous.

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!

Amazing public art in Vista’s Civic Center Park!

I was pleased to discover some truly amazing public art inside Vista’s Civic Center Park last weekend. The small but beautiful park is situated adjacent to the Civic Center complex, and was very quiet on an early Sunday afternoon.

In addition to a fantastically strange and wonderful sculpture titled Wind Beams, I found four very fine bronze sculptures of children reading and at play!

I’ve tried to determine who created the bronze sculptures of children, but I can find nothing on the internet, and I could find no artist’s name on any plaque. If anyone knows the artist, leave a comment! The sculptures depict a small girl reading a book, a child riding a bike with arms outspread, kids and their friendly dog crossing a curved bridge or log, and two small children riding a large tortoise. The plaque that I photographed, which is mounted near the reading girl, explains these four bronze sculptures were dedicated in October 2012 as a tribute to retired Vista City Manager Rita L. Geldert.

The extremely cool Wind Beams sculpture was created by artist Robert Rochin. The year given is 2010. It’s an unbelievable thing made of four 10 feet long I-beams that move about in the slightest breeze. All I can say is these heavy steel beams must be well lubricated and perfectly balanced! Watching the beams move silently about like immense metal arms whirling in the sky is really strange, even surreal!

Wind Beams, by artist Robert Rochin, 2010.
Wind Beams, by artist Robert Rochin, 2010.

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!

Mysteries in San Diego: solved and unsolved!

Occasionally during my walks around San Diego I stumble upon a mystery. Often there’s a solution to the mystery that I eventually discover; other more difficult mysteries remain unsolved.

It can be exciting to suddenly encounter the unknown!

Because it was too darn hot and muggy to be out walking today, and because I might not go walking for a few days, I thought we might travel back in time and review a variety of past mysteries. Several of these are still unsolved.

As always, if you know something that I don’t know, please leave a comment!

These mysteries still persist. Armchair detectives, get ready!

For the mystery of a vanished grave marker containing the name of an early San Diego character who was shot in the back, click here.

For the mystery of public art that few people see, that appears to be attributed to nobody in particular, click here.

For the mystery of old, faded signs on downtown San Diego buildings, click here.

For the mystery of musicians that were painted on downtown windows (and which have since vanished) click here!

The following mysteries were eventually solved!

For the mystery of an inexplicable lighthouse on an Old Town sidewalk, click here.

For the mystery of a fountain hidden in an almost never seen corner of Balboa Park, click here.

For the mystery of what seemed a forgotten Navy plaque on the Embarcadero, click here.

For the mystery of strange reflections on San Diego Bay, click here. (This mystery was my own photographic creation, but you might enjoy attempting to identify the reflections.)

For the infinite mystery contained in an ingenious invention that mimics the structure of the universe, click here and here.

And finally, for the mystery of a bloody crime scene that must be solved again and again, click 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!

A better look at one very cool mural!

After my walk through Balboa Park today, I headed to City Heights where several new murals have been painted.

When I arrived at the corner of University Avenue and Swift Avenue, my searching eyes spied a very cool mural that I’d photographed a couple years ago. But this time a car wasn’t obscuring part of it!

I like this colorful mural so much I took advantage of the situation and got some good unobstructed photos.

The mural’s title is Journey Within Through the Sea of Soul, and it was painted by Celeste Byers and Aaron Glasson. It’s on the side of the Teros Gallery. The mural depicts the gallery owner riding a Chihuahua ship on a distant planet upstream into herself!

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 strange mixture of sights downtown.

Go on any walk through downtown San Diego and you’ll see a strange mixture of sights. Sometimes you have to stop in your tracks to look again.

Many of the visions that rise before your eyes seem contradictory. Urban hipsters drinking coffee and listening to live music . . . a few steps away from people who are homeless. The boarded window of a looted Gaslamp shop . . . and spray painted messages of empathy and kindness.

And there are the sights that are wonderfully odd. Downtown’s reggae dog. A surprising tree in a surprising place. An insurance company for sharknados.

So much strangeness is mixed in the ordinary life of a city.

The mysteries appear everywhere.

I took these photographs during several walks the past few days.

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!

Amish in San Diego, postcards, and Mexico.

I learned something interesting yesterday.

I was downtown inside the Santa Fe Depot, waiting at the train station’s kiosk for my microwaved chicken burrito, when I noticed a stand containing postcards. I wondered, in this digital age of ubiquitous cell phone cameras, where anyone can instantly post photos to social media, who would buy postcards? I asked and received a surprising reply. Amish tourists love postcards!

Which makes sense. The Amish tend to live much more simple lives, remaining largely “in the past” and shunning many of the conveniences of modern technology. And it seems to me that in some respects this might be wise. Less distraction. More eye to eye human contact.

I’ve often wondered why I sometimes see Amish folk walking around downtown San Diego, gazing about in wonder at the tall buildings and hustle and bustle around them. It seems a very odd place for these people to be. One thinks of the Amish driving pony carts in the rural Midwest or Northeast, not walking about urban California in the extreme southwestern corner of the United States.

I was told by my friend at the kiosk that the Amish come to San Diego to seek medical treatments in Mexico. I did an internet search and found this page with some explanation.

I asked my friend what Amish “tourists” were like. He explained they tend to be very quiet, but if you initiate a conversation they are surprisingly friendly and open, and in many respects much like you or me.

Next time I see these plain-dressed folk walking about, I think I’ll smile and say hello.

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!

Interesting sights as I walked to the trolley.

The old Anton Mayrhofer Residence, located at 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street. The small Victorian house has been designated City of San Diego Historical Landmark no. 299. Anton Mayrhofer was born in Austria in 1856.
The old Anton Mayrhofer Residence, located at 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street. The small Victorian house has been designated City of San Diego Historical Landmark No. 299. Anton Mayrhofer was born in Austria in 1856.

Early this morning I photographed a variety of interesting things as I walked west from Cortez Hill to the Little Italy trolley station.

An unexpected religious encounter as I cross an intersection heading toward the trolley station.
An unexpected religious encounter as I cross an intersection heading toward the trolley station.
Bougainvillea against a wall.
Bougainvillea against a wall.
Another person on another journey.
Another person on another journey.
We Stand Together in the Wildflower Salon window.
We Stand Together in the Wildflower Salon window.
The Circus Girl in another window.
The Circus Girl in another window.
The architecturally interesting new The Continental Lofts building in Little Italy.
The architecturally interesting new The Continental Lofts building in Little Italy.
Tiny potted plants inside hive-like hexagons in front of Queenstown Public House.
Tiny potted plants inside hive-like hexagons in front of Queenstown Public House.
Half-covered smiles.
Half-covered smiles.
Those huge wooden doors at the now permanently closed Indigo Grill.
Those huge wooden doors at the now permanently closed Indigo Grill.
A mysterious paper collage on top of a sidewalk electrical box.
A mysterious paper collage on top of a sidewalk electrical box.

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!

Beauty and mystery found by looking up.

How often do you tilt your head way, way back and look straight up?

I don’t very often. But once in a while something beautiful or mysterious up there happens to attract my attention.

Check out these recent photos that were taken while aiming my camera skyward!

(The final photograph was taken while standing inside the hollow Pacific Soul sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa. And, yes, in the photo before it you see a green lighter!)

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 dilemma of creativity.

Creating a work of art presents the artist with a dilemma. How does one know the artwork is finished?

Suppose you’re a painter. You add brushstroke after brushstroke to your canvas, continually changing it. You alter a line here, blend a color there, add touches of light or dark, then stand back every so often for another critical examination. Which brushstroke makes your painting exactly right?

There is almost infinite potential in a canvas, brush and paint. But a painter must decide when to stop.

Does the artist finally stop because their creation “feels” right?

Feelings change.

Does the artist finally surrender? Does creativity meet a wall? Can the artist proceed no farther?

Human imagination is limitless.

Yes, your painting at this stage is beautiful. But why do you decide to now place it in a frame and say it’s done?

I just finished writing a short story about this artistic dilemma. And about other mysterious things. It’s titled The Wheel.

The main character in this small story is a potter.

Will I ever make changes to this work of fiction? Who knows?

Read it by clicking here.

Every day in San Diego is a new adventure.

When I walk around San Diego, I find interesting sights no matter where I turn. Every day is a new adventure.

A lot like life!

After work today I wandered around downtown and did my best to capture a few good photographs.

Some of these photos are a little mysterious.

But what is an adventure without mystery?

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!