Stonehenge, stacked blocks, and a La Jolla Project.

Looks somehow familiar? No, this work of art in UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection isn’t titled Stonehenge. But that’s what many students call it.

Environmental artist Richard Fleischner created this monumental public art, La Jolla Project, in 1984. His artwork explores how universal architectural forms might be integrated into a natural setting. For his La Jolla Project, he used stones quarried in New England and cut near Providence, Rhode Island, on the other side of the continent. A whole lot of human calculation and labor was required to create something that appears extremely simple.

To me, it looks like an enormous giant sat down on a green patch of grass and stacked some toy blocks. The blocks are scattered and assembled in several ways, often forming columns, benches and arches. These simple blocks remind the viewer that all architecture–all existing physical matter in fact–can be broken down into the most rudimentary shapes we learn in basic geometry.

As you walk around La Jolla Project, you feel you’ve entered a strange otherworld that is somehow different from ordinary space and time. It’s a place where abstract forms have materialized in a familiar, park-like landscape. Did they descend from the stars? From the hand of a gigantic, playful child? From the realm of pure ideas? (As I think about it, these vertical forms almost appear like words spelled out with an alien alphabet, including a punctuation mark here or there.)

Should you ever visit UC San Diego, wander through this mazy construction and perhaps arrive at your own conclusion.

But first you must find La Jolla Project on the Revelle College lawn south of Galbraith Hall, beside Scholars Drive South, north of the La Jolla Playhouse.

Bring a compass.

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Patterned tile benches outside Santa Fe Depot.

Some very unique benches are arranged around the perimeter of the outdoor courtyard at downtown’s Santa Fe Depot. The courtyard, featuring a fountain near its center, is located directly south of the large passenger waiting room.

These tile benches present an eye-pleasing variety of colorful patterns. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice their symmetric patterns are derived from the “cross” of the Santa Fe Railway logo, which consists of a cross inside a circle.

During an architectural tour of the Santa Fe Depot that I took a couple years ago, I learned these benches were installed in the 1980’s. I learned quite a lot during that special tour! If you want to read more about the historic train station, and about the original forecourt that existed a hundred years ago, long before these outdoor benches appeared, you can find images and descriptions from that architectural tour here.

For an example of the Santa Fe railroad’s logo, check out the next photo from that tour. It was taken inside the enormous and truly amazing passenger waiting room.

Now on to the outdoor benches…

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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Sportfishing mural seen from Interstate 5.

Drive along Interstate 5 between Mission Bay and Bay Park and you’ll see a huge sportfishing mural. It’s just north of Tecolote Road. Across the west side of the Kleege Industries building, a pair of enormous marlins chase leaping dorados!

I walked up West Morena Boulevard over the weekend to get close-up photos of the mural over a fence.

The artist is Chuck Byron, and the somewhat faded mural was painted in 2003. Sadly, according to my research, that is also the year he passed away.

He painted several large murals in California, Nevada and Mexico.

Chuck Byron was the captain of a fishing boat out of San Diego and a highly regarded fish and wildlife artist. He painted in a style referred to as exaggerated realism. In his San Diego studio he created some really great drawings and paintings, some of which you can see at the Chuck Byron website 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!

San Diego mural at the Lyft Driver Center.

A super colorful mural decorates a long wall of the Lyft Driver Center on West Morena Boulevard. It depicts downtown San Diego, the Coronado Bay Bridge curving through the sky over bright sailboats, and Balboa Park’s Cabrillo Bridge and California Tower!

It’s a city on the move. Cars, a bicycle, a bus and scooters head down streets and paths every which way.

This cool mural was painted last year by internationally known California artist Celeste Byers, who grew up in Point Loma.

Check it out!

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!

The miracle of the Surfing Madonna.

The Surfing Madonna in Encinitas, California. A mosaic by artist Mark Patterson.
The Surfing Madonna in Encinitas, California. A mosaic by artist Mark Patterson.

Have you heard of the miracle of the Surfing Madonna? Many in San Diego have witnessed the miracle. Indeed, the miracle is known around the world.

Next to the Encinitas Boulevard sidewalk, just east of Coast Highway 101, there’s a tiny open courtyard with a beautiful ocean mural and a shrine-like mosaic titled Surfing Madonna. The 10 by 10 feet mosaic depicts the Virgin of Guadalupe on a white surfboard, praying.

When it was first installed anonymously in a public place the artwork was considered illegal. Permission had not been granted by the city of Encinitas. The artist, Mark Patterson, was discovered and fined and the mosaic removed.

But a miracle happened.

After much controversy and legal uncertainty, and after having been moved from place to place, the unusual but beautiful mosaic, beloved by many in the beach community, finally found a home in Surfing Madonna Park, which you can see in my photographs.

To learn more about the miracle of the Surfing Madonna, read the words on the plaque beneath it.

The small Surfing Madonna Park, in a nook beside busy Encinitas Boulevard.
The small Surfing Madonna Park in a nook beside busy Encinitas Boulevard. The park is just a short walk east of Moonlight State Beach.
A plaque details the history of the Surfing Madonna.
A plaque details the history of the Surfing Madonna.

The plaque reads:

On Good Friday, April 22nd, 2011, the community of Encinitas was gifted with the Surfing Madonna mosaic, Our Lady, Star of the Sea.

Local artist, Mark Patterson and his good friend Bob Nichols, dressed up as constructions workers and hung the beautiful Surfing Madonna mosaic with its “Save the Ocean” theme. The mosaic was originally mounted underneath the train bridge, across the street from its current home.

The mosaic received international attention while the artist remained anonymous for months until discovered.

Although beloved by the community, she could not stay there and eventually found her way here, to her permanent home.

Mark Patterson sought to raise awareness of the value of the world’s Oceans. Through his vision he created the Surfing Madonna mosaic to spread a message of environmental awareness of Mother Ocean.

The mosaic gave birth to the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project which has continued to serve the Ocean and community through funding of local arts, environmental awareness, and by introducing special needs youth and their families to the joy of surfing and living with the Ocean.

Join us in celebrating the beauty of our world’s Oceans.

A beautiful environmental mural shows fish and other sea life, by Encinitas artist Kevin Anderson.
A beautiful environmental mural shows Garibaldi fish and other local sea life, by Encinitas artist Kevin Anderson.
Brick pavers in the small courtyard raised money for programs that help the Earth's oceans.
Brick pavers, some with religious themes, in the small courtyard. The pavers have raised money for programs that help the Earth’s oceans.
The Surfing Madonna and a prayerful message. Save the Ocean.
The unique Surfing Madonna and a prayerful message: Save the Ocean.

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More art discovered while walking about La Jolla!

A beautiful, serene face painted on a utility box on Prospect Street in La Jolla.
A beautiful, serene face painted on a utility box on Prospect Street in La Jolla.

Here are additional art discoveries I made today while walking about the Village of La Jolla–the central, downtown part of La Jolla. I’ve enjoyed other meandering “street art walks” in the past, and you can see those photos here and here.

During this most recent walk, I photographed a few more of the ever-changing Murals of La Jolla, plus some fun trashcan art I hadn’t noticed in years past. Plus a few other cool finds!

Enjoy!

Two of five colorful sculptures, on a patio in front of 1261 Prospect Street.
Two of five colorful abstract sculptures, on the patio in front of 1261 Prospect Street.
A third fun sculpture!
A third fun sculpture!
A flowery head in the window at Robina Apparel and Accessories.
A flowery head in the window at Robina Apparel and Accessories.
A cute dog peers from trashcan street art in La Jolla.
A cute dog peers from a trashcan in La Jolla.
Another trashcan down the sidewalk has been painted with flowers.
Another trashcan down the sidewalk has been painted with flowers.
Once Upon a Time in the West, 2017, by artist Kota Ezawa. Louis Kahn, master architect who designed La Jolla's Salk Institute, is thinking.
Once Upon a Time in the West, 2017, by artist Kota Ezawa. Louis Kahn, master architect who designed La Jolla’s Salk Institute, appears to be deep in thought.
An ornate bench in the courtyard outside the rotunda of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library. A small plaque on the bench reads In Memory of Genevieve Ferguson from Friends.
An ornate bench in the courtyard outside the rotunda of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library. A small plaque on the bench reads In Memory of Genevieve Ferguson from Friends.
One scene on the metal bench seems to depict a villager working in a field.
One scene on the metal bench seems to depict a villager working in a field.
More trashcan street art. This painting is wildly colorful.
More trashcan street art. This abstract painting is wildly colorful.
I walked down the outdoor corridor of the Arcade Building and found two pieces of beautiful metalwork. This one is alive with turtles and a fish.
I walked down the outdoor corridor of the Arcade Building and found two pieces of beautiful metalwork. This one is alive with turtles and a fish.
One of three similarly painted electrical boxes in a row. An artist's folksy rendition of La Jolla shops.
One of three similarly painted electrical boxes which stand in a row on a sidewalk. An artist’s folksy rendition of Village of La Jolla shops.
Stylish, jazzy posters on a building advertise the Manhattan of La Jolla restaurant.
Stylish, jazzy posters on a building invite guests to enter the Manhattan of La Jolla restaurant.
Is All That it Proves, 2015, by artist Marcos Ramirez ERRE. Thomas Paine's famous quote as an eye exam chart, asserting opinion is simply opinion.
Is All That it Proves, 2015, by artist Marcos Ramirez ERRE. Thomas Paine’s famous quote as an eye exam chart, reminding us opinion is simply opinion.
Small mural on the outdoor patio of Bernini's Bistro shows pizzas being prepared.
Small mural on the outdoor patio of Bernini’s Bistro shows pizzas being prepared.
Close-up photo of one of the Murals of La Jolla. Bill 2, 2019, by artist Alex Katz. A celebration of modern dance choreographer Bill T. Jones.
Close-up photo of one of the Murals of La Jolla. Bill 2, 2019, by artist Alex Katz. The subtle facial expressions of modern dance choreographer Bill T. Jones.

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!

Photos of surfer murals by Interstate 8.

If you live in San Diego, it’s likely you’ve seen these three cool surfing murals. You can glimpse them beside Interstate 8 as you drive west toward Mission Valley through Grantville. They are painted on the A-1 Self Storage building.

This classic surf artwork has been greeting drivers for many years. I personally can’t remember when the murals first appeared.

I walked down a sidewalk past the three murals recently and took close-up photos that you might enjoy. I saw some faded writing at the corner of one, but I’m afraid I can’t say for certain who the artist is or how long ago these were painted. I probably should’ve visited the self storage office and asked whether they know. If someone out there has any information, feel free to leave a comment!

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!