Copper printing blocks form storytelling art.

These copper Batik Printing Blocks, combined like words on a page, seem to tell a beautiful story. A complex story about life.

You can find this huge “panel” of Indonesian tjaps at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. The artwork has been installed on the second floor, near one of the doors that leads to the outdoor terrace overlooking the Plaza de Panama.

The copper blocks were used for wax resist textile printing. Each block, whose intricate design would be repeated on fabric, is combined with about 200 other unique blocks.

The cumulative effect is like a pile of golden Autumn leaves. Or shining memories collected like precious coins, spread on a table before one’s hands. Or a page ready set for a printing press.

It’s the story of a culture, created by many hands.

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!

Gray whales breach at Birch Aquarium!

Have you seen those huge gray whales breaching in La Jolla? They emerge from a pool of water near the front entrance of Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography!

The impressive whale sculptures stopped me in my tracks during my visit to the aquarium a couple weekends ago. Together they are titled The Legacy. This awe-inspiring public art was created by artist Randy Puckett.

According to his website: “At the time of its installation in 1996, THE LEGACY was the only life size bronze sculpture in the world of any of the large whales: at 39 feet 10 inches tall, it was the second largest bronze sculpture ever cast in the U.S. This life size work features a breaching Gray Whale and calf, and the diving tail of a third Gray Whale displayed in two fountains….”

Families and kids approaching Birch Aquarium from the nearby parking lot are absolutely wowed by these monumental sculptures. You understand the immense size of a gray whale when you stand right next to them.

I noticed two identical plaques placed at The Legacy…

In Memoriam Edward W. “Ted” Scripps II

“I have long hoped to do something for the institution. I seem to have the same salt in my veins as did my grandfather.”

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

UCSD

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Sojourner Truth walks through San Diego.

Every day, every moment, Sojourner Truth walks through San Diego.

Students at UC San Diego’s Marshall College might encounter her as they proceed down the Ridge Walk. And if they pause to use curious eyes, they can see her humanity and read her words.

The statue of Sojourner Truth debuted on the campus in 2015. It was created by UCSD alumna Manuelita Brown.

Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but managed to escape it. She became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist who would not be deterred. Feeling guided by God, she testified to the hope that was within her. Read her history here.

Read an article about the sculpture’s dedication ceremony 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!

Life, death, joy and pessimism in La Jolla.

Art is often a stir of moods and strange contradictions, like life itself.

I saw this complexity during a fun visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. A major exhibit in the recently reopened, beautifully renovated museum concerns the often experimental artwork of world-renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle, who spent her last years living in La Jolla. The exhibition is titled Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s. It will be on view through July 17, 2022.

As I walked around several spacious gallery spaces, observing the artist’s sensuous sculptures, and fantastic drawings, and paintings created by shooting guns, I saw joyful, fertile, exuberant life displayed side-by-side with bleak, shattered, debris-filled pessimism. It seemed that positivity was associated with female experience, negativity with modernity. As if the two are absolutely separate.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s female sculpture Nanas dance everywhere one turns, bursting with life. Her large Tirs, or performance art “shooting paintings,” looked to my eye like dead junkyards: rigid, punctured, streaked, drained.

As I gazed at the various artworks, whose elements often seem primordial or mythical, I wondered how seemingly opposed ideas could tangle in the mind of an artist–how paint and gunshots could so easily coexist. Oh, wait. Life and death is the prime subject of art.

Go visit this amazing exhibition of rampant creativity and form your own conclusions!

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!

Donal Hord’s Summer Rain at San Diego History Center.

Several wonderful pieces of Donal Hord art are now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. I noticed them last weekend.

Most prominent is the extraordinary sculpture Summer Rain, Donal Hord’s final commission. Originally sculpted in 1946 from the dense wood lignum vitae, Summer Rain was cast in bronze in 1968 by Homer Dana, his assistant, two years after Hord’s death.

Donal Hord is considered San Diego’s greatest sculptor. He achieved international fame by bringing a variety of materials, including very hard stone, to life. Many of his spiritual, symbol-filled sculptures were inspired from a year he spent in Mexico, where he studied traditional Olmec and Zapotec art. Some of his public sculptures have become iconic landmarks or representations of our city.

Summer Rain stands near the center of the History Center’s fine art exhibition Be Here Now. The work of artists who lived or spent a great deal of time in San Diego fill a large gallery, and visitors are asked to consider what the collected artwork might say about our region.

…Hord’s figure dances on a cloud pushing out the rain, with hair swept up like a thundercloud, and a rattlesnake on top to symbolize lightning…The San Diego History Center collections include examples of Hord’s work in bronze, wood, stone, and plaster along with maquettes (or scale models), preliminary drawings, tools and extensive archival material.

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Restoring a great San Diego treasure!

The historic ship Star of India is one of San Diego’s great treasures. Its figurehead, depicting the Greek Muse of music and lyric poetry Euterpe, is undergoing restoration at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Euterpe was the original name of Star of India when it was launched in 1863 at the Isle of Man.

Should you venture down into the hold of Star of India, you’ll see how the carved wooden figurehead has had many layers of paint removed, in order to remove rot and fill in cracks. The last time the figurehead was removed from the tall ship’s bow was back in 1988.

The figurehead was carved from a single piece of pine wood by a worker at a Glasgow boatyard named George Sutherland. By sheer coincidence, that is the exact name of the Maritime Museum crew member leading today’s restoration effort!

If you’re interested in seeing history close up, this is your chance! Head down to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, step aboard Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship, and descend from the main deck down two levels into the hold, where you can view the renewal of beautiful Euterpe!

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!

Wonderful sculpture at San Ysidro Health in Chula Vista.

Does anyone out there know anything about this wonderful bronze sculpture of children playing in a tree? It’s located on Third Avenue in Chula Vista, near the entrance to the San Ysidro Health medical building.

As I walked past the beautiful artwork on Saturday I took these photos. I looked for a plaque or any indication of the artist and history. Perhaps I missed it, but I all saw was the sign near its base indicating the sculpture is monitored at all times.

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!

Beautiful fountain at Herrick Community Health Library.

A beautiful fountain invites meditation near the entrance to the Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library in La Mesa. I discovered it by pure chance while walking in La Mesa last weekend.

And, to my surprise, I learned the fountain, topped by a sculpture, is by none other than James Hubbell, whose mosaics also grace nearby Briercrest Park!

This public art in the Community Health Library’s outdoor courtyard is titled Moving Circles (O’s on the plaque). Water runs from the sculpture, then drips down from rugged stonework into a blue basin, where a watery mosaic ripples in the sunlight.

Moving Circles is dated 2002. I was told this particular project by renowned artist James Hubbell was separate from his work at Briercrest Park.

If you’d like to see those nearby park mosaics, which are also amazing, I took photographs of them, too. I posted those pics 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!

Unexpected magic inside Space 4 Art!

Unexpected magic can be discovered inside an old East Village warehouse.

The apparently unremarkable brick building is the surprising home of Space 4 Art’s artist studios!

I’ve walked near the old warehouse several times in the past, taking photos of murals on the building’s exterior, but I had no idea that rampant creativity could be found behind those walls!

Thanks to Space 4 Art’s “Open Studio” event this evening, which was combined with the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House San Diego, I and other curious folk could look into the studios and meet friendly artists.

I learned that Space 4 Art provides affordable creative space for local artists, and acts as a neighborhood cultural center, engaging in educational outreach, particularly for youth from underserved communities.

The dream is big. They want to build a large-scale multidisciplinary Arts Center in San Diego. Want to help out? Read more about the Space 4 Art mission here! Read about their history here!

Now, do you want to see what lies behind those murals painted on the old warehouse at 340 16th Street? (A few of which can be seen on a black brick wall here.)

Take a look!

Inside the cool old warehouse. Magic awaits around every corner.
Richard is a friendly artist who creates beautiful custom ceramic pieces. Learn more about his amazing artwork here!
A peek inside another one of the studios.
One hallway wall is covered with these surprising antique clocks. In many cases, small scenes such as the one above can be found inside the clockwork.
This awesome cathedral-like creation made of crutches stands at one end of a studio work area. I learned the sculpture is for sale. Any hospitals out there need some unique artwork?
Everywhere you turn at Space 4 Art, magic produced by local artists appears.
Feeling creative?

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!

Regional artists inspire at Oceanside Museum of Art.

Want to be inspired? Head up to the Oceanside Museum of Art!

The museum’s 2022 Artist Alliance Biennial will probably take your breath away, with its many works of outstanding art. The pieces were all created by regional artists; of about 900 entries juried, only 61 were accepted. The exhibit will continue through May 1, 2022.

As I moved through the gallery yesterday, I thought about human potential and began to feel little overwhelmed.

There’s no end to the creativity that can issue from human contemplation and imagination. Our potential is truly infinite.

But life is so very short.

It occurred to me that in one passing life, eyes can see very little–an infinitesimal fraction of the entire world and all the incredible art ever made, and that will ever or could ever be made.

Oh, to see it all, go everywhere, do everything . . .

The minutes I spent at the Oceanside Museum of Art were very sweet.

At the Heart of Life’s Journey, 2021, Cathy Carey. Oil on linen.
Ascent in Yellow, 2021, Fiona Phillips. Oil and copper leaf.
Marionette Puppet #4, 2020, Linda Phillips. Oil on canvas.
Laguna Boys, 2022, Kimberleigh Wood. Oil on 2.5″ wood boxed panel.
El Gallo Rojo, 2021, Frank Vining. Epoxy fiberglass and sculpting epoxy.
Free as a Bird, 2021, Sue DeWulf. Low fire ceramic sculptural assemblage.
Coming Up Roses, 2020, Roberta Dyer. Mixed media on canvas.
Park Under a Golden Night, 2021, Duke Windsor. Acrylic and applied imitation gold leaf.
There Goes Mom, 2020, Lisa Bebi. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas.
Sick King, 2015, Kenda Francis. Mixed acrylic media on canvas.

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!