Two colorful new sights in Old Town!

Three happy, silly creatures greet fun-loving people in front of Dr. Freeze Amazing Desserts!
Silly creatures greet hungry, fun-loving people in front of Dr. Freeze Amazing Desserts!

During my walk around Old Town on Saturday, I stumbled upon a couple of very colorful sights. I believe both of these are relatively new. At least, I don’t recall seeing either before!

A colorful mural decorates one side of a building at the Harold J Ballard Parent Center. Created by @ronald.paints and @artreachsd.
A colorful mural decorates one side of a building at the Harold J. Ballard Parent Center. Images are of nature and Kumeyaay culture. Created by @ronald.paints and @artreachsd.

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 art at U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!

If you’re in San Diego this Labor Day weekend, you need to go to the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge at downtown’s Broadway Pier. The annual event is just as incredible as ever, with amazing, eye-popping sand sculptures by some of the top sand artists in the world!

This morning I got my ticket right as the event opened, and I directed my feet straight into the Broadway Pier’s Port Pavilion, which is where the Sand Masters were working on their masterpieces. It seems every year the sculptures become more elaborate and beautiful.

I took some photos with my little camera to provide a taste of what you will see. In addition to these masterpieces, you’ll enjoy other sand sculptures by local San Diego teams, plus all sorts of three-dimensional artwork outside on the pier. Plus there’s live music, lots of food trucks, and a big sand box where you can make your own sandcastles!

The competition’s theme this year is Wonder. Here’s a glimpse of the amazing sculptures, with each piece’s title and artist.

On the Loose, by Chris Guinto.

If We Don’t Change, the World Will Soon Be Over, by Abram Waterman. (The sculpture depicts Stevie Wonder.)

The Force, by Jihoon Choi.

I Wonder About You, by Hanneke Supply.

Think and Wonder, Wonder and Grow, by Anique Kuizenga.

Wanderlust, by Dan Belcher.

The Other Side, by Brian Turnbough.

Just Wondering, by Martijn Rijerse.

Why, How, When? by Melineige Beauregard.

Full of Wonder, by Thomas Koet.

Wonder Woman, by John Gowdy.

With Love Through Life, by Pavel Mylnikov.

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!

World-class sand masters smile for fun photos!

Cool sand artists rest for a bit near the foot of Broadway Pier as they create a welcoming sculpture for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge! A couple faces look familiar from past competitions!
Cool sand artists rest for a bit near the foot of Broadway Pier as they create a welcoming sculpture for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge! A couple faces look familiar from past competitions!

Some of the world’s greatest sand artists smiled for my camera late this afternoon! They’re now carving sand sculptures on Broadway Pier that will greet people as they arrive for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.

During Labor Day weekend, these extraordinary artists will be working hard inside the Port Pavilion, where the public can watch them create spectacular pieces of fine art out of compacted sand!

If you’re in San Diego, it’s the big Labor Day weekend event you shouldn’t miss!

On the other side of the welcoming sand sculpture, a design is being carved that celebrates the 250th anniversary of the city of San Diego!
On the other side of the welcoming sand sculpture, a design is being carved that celebrates the 250th Anniversary of the City of San Diego!
One of the outdoor sand sculptures near the Port Pavilion is sponsored by MTS. It's a work still in progress.
One of the outdoor sand sculptures near the Port Pavilion is sponsored by San Diego’s public transit system, MTS. It’s a work still in progress.
Sand master and TV star Chris Guinto smiles for my camera! I met him briefly five years ago during this annual competition. This sculpture he's working on promotes Natural Light Seltzer.
Sand master and TV star Chris Guinto smiles for my camera! I met him briefly five years ago during the annual competition. This sculpture he’s working on for an event sponsor will promote Natural Light Seltzer.

UPDATE!

Here are some photos taken the following day…

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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 Queen Califia’s Magical Circle!

Come with me. We’re about to enter Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.

We will step from our day-to-day routine into a mysterious maze of fractured white and black, turns and mirrors. We will suddenly emerge into a strange spiritual realm. A dreamlike surreal somewhere beneath our ordinary experience. A secret cosmos.

We will move through a fertile landscape teeming with faces and essential forms and wildly dancing colors and true symbols. Alive with infinitely circling snakes and joyfully soaring birds. We will find ourselves in Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, where our eyes will perceive our own existence more clearly.

Where life is triumphant.

These are the hands of those who assembled the magic.

That is the hand of sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, who envisioned this magical circle and breathed into it her life.

(Click the photos of signs and they will enlarge for easier reading.)

You will learn:

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by the renowned French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

Inspired by California’s mythic, historic and cultural roots, the garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures, a circular “snake wall” and maze entry way. The symbols and forms are freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian and Mexican art as well as the artist’s own fantastic imagery.

Queen Califia and the Eagle Throne measures 24 x 22 x 20 feet. It is built of polystyrene encased in urethane skin with applied fiberglass coating over a steel armature.

Working from original clay maquettes, the eight totems were made in similar fashion. They are: Cathead Totem, Birdhead Totem, Yelling Man Totem, Bullhead Totem, Untitled Totem (Bird on a Square), Kingfisher Totem, Step Totem and Snake Totem.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle uses a greater diversity of mosaic materials than seen in any of Niki de Saint Phalle’s other large-scale projects. For the first time she used polished and tumbled stones such as agates, quartzes and turquoise. The results are magical and ever changing.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is nestled in a natural landscape within Escondido’s Kit Carson Park.

Niki’s original inspiration for the garden came while she was reading Assembling California by geologist John McPhee. There he discusses the legend of Queen Califia, a beautiful and powerful black Amazon queen who ruled over the island of California, a paradise of gold and riches.

The information sign includes an article concerning the opening of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in 2003. “The garden promises to become an instantaneous cultural landmark for the San Diego region–a place where visitors can roam at will, play, touch, dream…”

…a shimmering, virtuoso display of mosaic art…

A short biography of Niki de Saint Phalle. She was born in France in 1930 and raised in New York. She first came to international prominence in 1961 as part of the influential “New Realists,” a group that also included Christo, Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely (whom she married in 1971). In 1994 she moved to La Jolla, where she lived until her death in 2002.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle was completed one year after her death.

Other works of Niki de Saint Phalle can be enjoyed around San Diego. (You can find photos of them by searching this blog.)

Life raises new life.

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 gigantic bronze leaves of Kit Carson Park.

Five enormous eucalyptus leaves seem to have fallen beside a walking path in Escondido’s lush, beautiful Kit Carson Park. You can find them near the adult softball fields, just above Tree Lake.

The huge leaves are cast in bronze. One is gently curved to form a bench. Two stand on their stems to form a graceful arch. One edgewise on the grass seems to be blowing in the wind. The end of one seems to have become pressed into the walking path by passing feet.

These five timeless leaves were created by artist Christine Oatman in 1991. Together they are titled Eucalyptus Leaf Court.

Late this morning I sat on the leaf bench and time stopped. I was very small. As if in a dream, the trees around me were gigantic.

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!

Beautiful complexity at La Jolla’s Athenaeum.

Some amazing art is currently on display at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla.

My favorite pieces in the Athenaeum’s 2018 San Diego Art Prize exhibition are by nationally renowned local sculptor Anne Mudge. Her stainless steel wire mobiles radiate a strangely organic quality that captivates the eye. As the pieces slowly rotate, casting mysterious shadows on the gallery walls, the complex, silvery structures dance through space and time.

I took some close photos, hoping to capture a fraction of the beautiful complexity.

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!

More cool art seen during a National City walk!

My walking adventure in South Bay on Saturday included a stretch through National City. I was excited to discover an abundance of art along 8th Street, between National City Boulevard and D Avenue.

I paused for a moment to admire public art on the pedestrian bridge that connects the Integrity Charter School building to the Bayview Tower Condominiums. As I continued my walk, I spied colorful street art on several electrical boxes, super vibrant murals on one fantastic building, and some unusual symbol-like sculptures jutting from the sidewalk.

Very cool!

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!