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!

Sculpture and mural at San Diego stadium.

Those who’ve attended events at SDCCU/Qualcomm/Jack Murphy/San Diego Stadium might have noticed two works of public art outside. One, situated between the trolley station and stadium, is a sculpture of Jack Murphy and his dog. The other is an enormous, very colorful mural on the back of the scoreboard.

According to a plaque at its base, the Jack Murphy Sculpture, created by San Diego artist A. Wasil, debuted during the rededication of Jack Murphy Field on January 21, 2003.

A. Wasil was a sculptor who became known internationally for his work in cast bronze. He created several major pieces. Many of his sculptures have religious themes, such as the installations at Mission San Luis Rey and Notre Dame University. His bronze bust of Christ was accepted by The Vatican.

His 16 feet tall Jack Murphy Sculpture depicts the San Diego Union sports editor and columnist who advocated for a new San Diego stadium. Jack Murphy influenced Barron Hilton, who would move his Chargers football team from Los Angeles to San Diego. In 1965, a 50,000-seat stadium in Mission Valley was resoundingly approved by San Diego voters. Jack Murphy also helped convince baseball owners to bring the minor league San Diego Padres into the National League. The Padres would play at renamed Jack Murphy Stadium until 2004, when they moved to the new downtown Petco Park.

Given current plans to redevelop land under the old stadium and its enormous parking lot into SDSU West, this historic sculpture might not remain here for long. But who knows?

The sculpted Jack Murphy is accompanied by his Labrador Retriever, Abe.

That huge colorful mural on the back of the stadium’s scoreboard is titled The Fan Game. It was created in 1989-1990 by artist Mario Uribe.

The 13 panel mural measures 45 feet by 150 feet, and depicts excited fans cheering in the stands. The mural is so huge it can be seen from both Interstate 15 and Interstate 8!

Mario Uribe’s fine art has been collected by many museums, and he has created other notable works of public art. Learn more at his website here.

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Carving stone and the Blue Granite Shift.

Fascinating public art can be found at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, in the outdoor space between the Concert Hall and the Museum. Scattered among trees and shadows are the stones of the 200-foot Blue Granite Shift, created by artist Mathieu Gregoire in 1995.

At the north end of the installation lie natural, uncarved stones. As you proceed south, the stones are subjected to human action, until they finally become sculpted and polished into smooth geometric forms.

When you walk back and forth through Blue Granite Shift, it’s like moving forward and backward through time, observing how complex natural forms that slowly evolved over eons are abruptly transformed by human ideas and cutting, reducing tools of creativity.

Every stone, touched or untouched by human hand, is part of the larger world, where all things, including the viewer, exist under one sun in a clock-like cycle of shifting shadows.

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!

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!

Letters Home: A fallen soldier and a memorial.

I’ve photographed many monuments that remember those who’ve fallen in war.

At the Veterans Memorial in Vista, California, the powerful monument to one particular soldier can easily bring you to tears.

Please look at the following images, read the two random letters that I photographed leading to the sculpture, then the plaque that describes the life and death of a young person who simply wanted to serve. Click those photos and they will enlarge for easier reading.

Veterans Memorial Park was created by the Pinamonti family to honor Ernie, son and brother, who was killed in the Vietnam War.

Sculpture at Veterans Memorial, by artist Rip Caswell, 2016.
Sculpture at Veterans Memorial, by artist Rip Caswell, 2016.

Dear Family, Today we are starting our first day of training...Mail call is the best part of the day and I really look forward to it...I miss everyone a great deal and I read the letters over and over. Sincerely, Ernie
Dear Family, Today we are starting our first day of training…Mail call is the best part of the day and I really look forward to it…I miss everyone a great deal and I read the letters over and over. Sincerely, Ernie
Dear Ernie...If there is anything you need, just ask and we will send it to you...Remember to write every couple days so I don't worry about you. Be good and take care of yourself. I miss you. Love, Mother
Dear Ernie…If there is anything you need, just ask and we will send it to you…Remember to write every couple days so I don’t worry about you. Be good and take care of yourself. I miss you. Love, Mother

Flag flies above Veterans Memorial Park in Vista, California.
Flag flies above Veterans Memorial Park in Vista, California.
On May 15, 1969, our family was forever changed by the knock on the front door that brought news that our 19 year old brother, Ernie, had died of wounds received while assisting a fellow soldier...
On May 15, 1969, our family was forever changed by the knock on the front door that brought news that our 19 year old brother, Ernie, had died of wounds received while assisting a fellow soldier…

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 photographs.

Unusual public art at Escondido Transit Center.

Unusual public art stands in the middle of the Escondido Transit Center. The abstract concrete sculpture is surrounded by North County Transit District bus stops.

Tilted concrete slabs, like geometric planes, form a narrow passage. The title of the sculpture is Hekkilk, and it was created by Peter Mitten in 1989. According to a nearby plaque, Hekkilk is a Diegueño Indian word that means “a big dent, as in a pass through mountains.”

The abstract concrete sculpture is apparently a representation of local geography.

The passage is oriented north/south. Approximate distances from the sculpture to various geographic points in San Diego County are noted on the plaque.

For several decades, those travelling through Escondido have been able to take a few steps through this “big dent” and contemplate the larger world around them.

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!

Love Locks many hearts together, forever.

In the city of Vista many hearts are locked together.

A double heart-shaped sculpture on Main Street titled Love Locks invites residents to permanently attach a padlock. Each lock symbolizes an unbreakable bond of love.

Love Locks was created by artists Rick Randall and Jaydon Sterling Randall in 2016.

People have added hundreds of unique locks to the two joined hearts.

Each lock has its own story.

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!

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.

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!

Bust of a San Diego Air Force hero.

The beautifully sculpted commemorative bust of San Diego resident, retired Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF occupies a place of honor in Balboa Park. The bust can be found in the Veterans Memorial Garden, a short walk from the entrance to the The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

I was on hand to observe the sculpture’s unveiling almost six years ago. The ceremony was held during a Spirit of ’45 event that honored heroes of World War II. To see that inspirational blog post, click here.

I’ve decided to post photographs of the Cardenas bust today because it’s Memorial Day–one of those days when we express our gratitude to all military service members. And because I posted photos of another sculpture by the same artist a couple days ago.

San Diego sculptor Richard Becker also created Liberation, a statue at Miramar National Cemetery. That bronze sculpture remembers and honors Prisoners of War. You can see the emotionally powerful Liberation here.

Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF has a list of achievements and awards a mile long. Please read his Wikipedia page here. You’ll learn that in World War II, after he was shot down during a mission over Germany, he swam across a lake into Switzerland to escape capture, then rejoined the fight. You’ll also learn that years later, from a B-29 Superfortress that he piloted, he dropped the experimental supersonic X-1 aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier.

Behind the bust of Robert Cardenas you can see a sculpture of a B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II. It’s the plane that Robert Cardenas flew during the Second World War.

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!

POW memorial at Miramar National Cemetery.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. We will remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in past wars.

Yesterday I visited Miramar National Cemetery. I paused before a moving statue titled Liberation. The 15-foot tall monument was created by San Diego artist Richard Becker. It’s a memorial to Prisoners of War, who also sacrificed greatly.

The bronze statue shows a prisoner liberated, breaking free from surrounding barbed wire. The extraordinarily expressive artwork speaks for itself.

I thought you might like to see it.

If you’d like to see more work by renowned local sculptor Richard Becker, you can revisit past blog posts here or here or here or here.

The plaque on the base of Liberation reads:

This statue conveys the excitement, trepidation, exhilaration and emotion of the LIBERATION moment, as the emaciated soldier steps out of the darkness into the “Sunshine of Freedom.”

He portrays the hundreds of thousands who were bound in captivity by the infamy of foreign enemies.

This is to stand as an eternal legacy for our community by reminding visitors of the sacrifice of veterans during America’s efforts to keep alive the hopes and dreams of freedom for the oppressed around the world.

American-Ex Prisoners of War, Chapter One, San Diego.

Artist: Richard Becker.

Dedicated: 2011.

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!