An unusual Old Master mural in Normal Heights!

An unusual mural was painted in Normal Heights this year. It can be viewed on Adams Avenue, in a nook where this Prince mural used to be, and across from this Kobe Bryant mural. It was painted by local street artists Hasler and Shark, who also created the nearby Kobe Bryant artwork.

I say this mural is unusual, because street art is usually more like graffiti or contemporary artwork–abstract, extremely bold, and with a typically rebellious vibe. One doesn’t expect to see the recreation of a traditional Old Master painting.

The image that dominates this mural is of Italian artist Caravaggio‘s religious painting Saint Jerome Writing, 1605–1606. Words spray painted in the background are the Caravaggio quote: “All works, no matter what or by whom painted, are nothing but bagatelles and childish trifles unless they are made and painted from life, and there can be nothing better than to follow nature.”

Caravaggio usually painted realistic human forms, with dramatic lighting that emphasized emotion. His very popular work would influence other famous Old Masters like Peter Paul Rubens, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Rembrandt.

I wonder what Caravaggio would think if he visited San Diego today and looked around. Probably that he’d been transported to an alien world!

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Wisdom speaks from a Mountain View mural.

A mural in San Diego’s Mountain View community speaks to the viewer with many words of wisdom.

Quotes from civil rights leaders and by thoughtful people who never achieved fame have been painted along a low wall. Those who drive or walk by are reminded that peace, freedom and kindness toward all are among our highest aspirations.

We are reminded to remain hopeful and to lead full lives.

The artwork, titled Inspiration Wall, was painted by Rik Erickson of Murals Fantastic. It was commissioned by the City of San Diego Graffiti Division. (Rik Erickson also created the large, very cool Imagine mural in North Park that features the face of John Lennon. It’s a bit hidden in a very narrow alley, but you can see it here.)

The colorful Inspiration Wall is located at the intersection of Ocean View Boulevard and 35th Street, across from the on-ramp to northbound Interstate 15.

I took these photos for you to enjoy…

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!

Public art at 70th Street trolley station.

Riders of the San Diego Trolley might not notice any public art at the 70th Street station at first glance. This Green Line station in La Mesa, which opened in 2005, has a simple, practical appearance, with the usual benches and a nearby parking lot.

Curious eyes, however, will see a number of sculpted markers in the vegetation, and quotes written on the bases of 36 light poles on either side of the trolley tracks.

The cast metal markers relate the historical importance of native San Diego plants, and indeed these very plants can be found nearby–or at least it was that way originally. Most of the markers explain the importance of each plant to the Native American Kumeyaay people, who inhabited this land for thousands of years before the arrival of Spanish explorers.

This very unique public art was created by Nina Karavasiles. You can see more of her work here and here and here. She also helped design the Rosa Parks Memorial at a San Diego Mesa College bus stop, which I recently blogged about here.

Artwork at the 70th Street trolley station also includes bits of recycled colored glass embedded in the platform. Cobblestones from nearby Alvarado Creek that were obtained during the station’s construction were used to create planters and the bases of benches.

Girls tied redbud blossoms to their shoulders and waists for the spring ceremonial dance of womanhood.
Deer grass. The principal foundation material for coiled baskets.
This plant used as a diuretic medicine gets its astringency from tannic acid. Bear berry.
Before going hunting the Diegueños rubbed white sage on their bodies to eliminate odor.
Early miners used it to deter fleas. Coastal sagebrush.
Fresh elderberry leaves produce a light yellow dye for baskets.
Arroyo willow. Kumeyaay use shredded bark to pad cradle boards in which women carried their babies.
The sycamore was an indicator to California natives that underground water or a stream was nearby.
The oak can live for 250 years. It takes 8 months for the acorns to mature. A family of 4 would gather 500 pounds for the next year. They would travel here and set up temporary camp to harvest the acorns, collecting them in conical baskets. Acorns are 20% fat, 6% protein, 68% carbohydrates.

The following photographs show just a few of the quotes inscribed on the light pole bases. Most have an environmental theme, and of these, most concern the importance of water.

All the stones here have been gathered from the original Alvarado Creek.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The average annual rainfall in La Mesa is 13 3/4 inches (2004). The average American uses 150 gallons of water a day.
Many of the world’s people must walk 3 hours to fetch water.

Ready for some fun? Part of the answer to the cryptic Alvarado trolley station riddle (which you can see and solve here) can be found in one of the above quotes!

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!

Students honored on the Walls of Excellence.

It was raining when I walked up to the Walls of Excellence in Lincoln Park today. Moments after I lifted my camera, as if by magic, the sun came out, shining upon the names of students who have achieved a great honor in this southeast San Diego community.

Every year, since 2000, three seniors from each of four school are selected for inclusion in the Walls of Excellence. These students, from Gompers Preparatory Academy, Lincoln High School, Morse High School and the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, are honored with their own engraved glass panel. Those who are selected have excelled both in their studies and in community service.

Along one side of the walls are quotes concerning wisdom. Above the walls rises a beautiful monument like a long finger. When the sun comes out, that sky-pointing finger turns golden.

The Walls of Excellence is located on Imperial Avenue at Willie James Jones Avenue.

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!

Girl Scouts work to make a better community!

Believe.
Believe.

Today I enjoyed a tour of a fantastic outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro. It was the highlight of my day. I’ll blog about that shortly.

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked a little around the neighborhood and found myself looking at some creative artwork on a fence at the San Ysidro Community Center. I’d stumbled upon the Gold Award project of two local Girl Scouts!

According to a sign on the fence, in 2018 Orian Martinez restored the community center’s outdoor playground, and Sofia Perez-Valles created the Utopia Mural on the surrounding fence, embellishing it with positive messages.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed the San Ysidro Community Center and its outdoor area for many months now, so if things look a bit weathered and ragged, you can understand why. But the positive efforts and messages endure.

The actions and leadership of these two Girl Scouts have indeed made the world (and their community) a better place!

Utopia Mural.
Utopia Mural.

Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.

Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.

Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.

Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.

Courage.
Courage.

More colorful butterflies.
More colorful butterflies.

Action Changes Things.
Action Changes Things.

The future has many names...
The future has many names. For the fearful, the unknown. For the weak, the unreachable. For the brave, an opportunity.

Action is the foundational...
Action is the foundational…

...skill to all success.
…skill to all success.

Fall seven times and get up eight.
Fall seven times and get up eight.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always gone.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll arrive where you’ve always gone.

Changes bring opportunity.
Changes bring opportunity.

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!

UCSD: a walk back in time, and into the future.

Carved likeness of a famous naturalist at UC San Diego's John Muir College. The college motto is Celebrating the Independent Spirit.
Carved likeness of a famous naturalist at UCSD’s John Muir College. The college motto is Celebrating the Independent Spirit.

I was a student at UC San Diego’s John Muir College in the early 1980’s. Every so often I’ll walk through the campus and try to recrystallize those memories. But the older I get, the hazier those memories become.

My walk through UCSD yesterday did make it clear how, after nearly four decades, everything about the university has changed. The explosion of growth is ongoing. New buildings are everywhere. Muir College–once one of UCSD’s most esteemed pillars along with the original Revelle College–is now just a small part of a sprawling university that’s considered one of the best in the entire world.

It’s summer. Almost nobody could be seen as I walked around. That is, until I reached the north edge of John Muir College. Construction workers were busy.

The two enormous parking lots that I remember between Muir and Marshall Colleges are being transformed into what’s called the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood. And I learned from a friendly worker that the two new dormitory buildings near North Torrey Pines Road will be finished in a couple of weeks! Other impressive buildings, which include new academic centers—one for Social Sciences and one for Arts and Humanities–will be completed in a month or two!

The new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood is to become the home of Sixth College.

Six colleges now?

Time marches on.

Campus sign details the legacy of famous naturalist, environmentalist, explorer, and nature writer John Muir, advocate for America's national park system and one of the founders of the Sierra Club.
Campus sign details the legacy of famous naturalist, environmentalist, explorer, and nature writer John Muir, advocate for America’s national park system and one of the founders of the Sierra Club.

A grove of tall eucalyptus trees near the center of John Muir College, where there's an emphasis on individual study.
A grove of tall eucalyptus trees near the center of John Muir College, where there’s an emphasis on individual study.

McGill Hall behind trees of an outdoor common area.
McGill Hall behind trees of an outdoor common area.

It's summer. School's out. And there's the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation, too.
It’s summer. School’s out. And there’s the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation, too.

A John Muir quote on a banner. How fiercely, devoutly wild is Nature in the midst of her beauty-loving tenderness.
A John Muir quote on a banner. How fiercely, devoutly wild is Nature in the midst of her beauty-loving tenderness.

To the north of John Muir College, multiple large buildings will be finished in the near future.
To the north of John Muir College, multiple large buildings will be finished in the near future.

Banner on fence shows rendering of the new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.
Banner on fence shows rendering of the new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.

Part of UCSD's large expansion near North Torrey Pines Road.
Part of UCSD’s large expansion near North Torrey Pines Road.

A student dorm building that will be finished in a matter of two weeks. Time marches forward.
A student dormitory building that will be finished in two weeks.

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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Another colorful walk down Tenth Avenue.

One morning last week, I went on a walk through San Diego’s East Village. I headed south along Tenth Avenue from A Street to Petco Park.

I simply took photos of anything that delighted my eye. I believe all these sights are new to my blog, with the exception of the one above. I remember taking pictures of that fantastic tile mosaic years ago, but not up close.

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!

Pumping sewage and Emerson’s mutable cloud.

What words would you expect to read on the side of a sewage pumping station?

Caution? Beware of spill? In case of vile stink, call an emergency phone number immediately?

Pump Station #4 in Point Loma is different. You can find it at the corner of Carleton Street and Shafter Street, near the entrance to Shelter Island. Large words on the small pump station might cause those walking by to stop and wonder. Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.

It’s a quote by transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If you think about it, sewage is simply another part of nature. And it’s a sort of mutable cloud, always and never the same. It’s a liquidy cloud that’s kept safely unseen and unsmelled.

This very unusual public art was created by Marcos Ramirez and Teddy Cruz. The otherwise ugly cinder block pump station was painted blue and made interesting with an adjacent sculpture of beams, and the steel lattice on two sides containing Emerson’s strangely appropriate philosophical quote.

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!

Two wise MLK quotes for challenging times.

Peace as the world commonly understands it comes when the summer sky is clear and the sun shines in scintillating beauty, when the pocketbook is full, when the mind and body are free of ache and pain..but...true peace...is a calmness of soul amid terrors of trouble, inner tranquility amid the howl and rage of outer storm...
Peace as the world commonly understands it comes when the summer sky is clear and the sun shines in scintillating beauty, when the pocketbook is full, when the mind and body are free of ache and pain..but…true peace…is a calmness of soul amid terrors of trouble, inner tranquility amid the howl and rage of outer storm…

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has suddenly made all of our lives very challenging. There is disruption, isolation, uncertainty, fear, and for too many, grieving.

As I took my exercise in downtown San Diego, careful to maintain social distance as other walkers neared, I noticed a couple of wise quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. enshrined along the MLK Promenade. They are perfect for this difficult time we live in.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

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.

Art and wisdom outside National City library.

Sculpture of two people holding hands on sidewalk.
Sculpture of two people holding hands on sidewalk.

Yesterday, as I walked past the National City Public Library, I paused to look at some fun art on the sidewalk. Then I noticed a wise quote in many languages printed on a monumental wall at the building’s front entrance.

In many languages: I always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of Library. Jorge Luis Borges
In many languages: I always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of Library. Jorge Luis Borges

Street art near the library.
Fun street art near the library.

Las Aventuras de Dehdohz en Casa.
Las Aventuras de Dehdohz en Casa.

Read.
Read.

Many faces.
Many faces.

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!