Mysterious art at Caltrans Otay Station.

Here’s another San Diego mystery to solve! I can find nothing whatsoever about this very unique public art when I search the internet.

A flock of white sculpted seagulls rises at one corner of the parking lot at the Caltrans Otay Landscape Maintenance Station. (A sign at the facility entrance reads Caltrans Otay City Landscape Station.)

This prominent artwork has three different sides and can be observed when driving along Beyer Boulevard near Dairy Mart Road, or when exiting California State Route 905 onto Beyer Boulevard. The flying gulls appear to be individually attached to canvas, plastic or some other flexible stretched material of light blue color.

What is it?

Who created it?

When was it created?

Does the art conceal an antenna (my assumption) or have some other special purpose?

If you happen to know anything that would shed light on this mystery, please 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!

Sculptures by James Hubbell at Mission San Diego.

During my first visit to Mission San Diego de Alcalá over seven years ago, I took a self-guided tour and snapped a variety of photographs, which you can see here. I also provided a very brief overview of the mission.

At the time, I didn’t realize many of sculptures inside and outside of San Diego’s historic Spanish mission were created (beginning in 1974) by renowned local artist James T. Hubbell, whose beautiful work can be seen all over the city. (If you’d like to see more photos of his public sculptures, click here to check out several old blog posts.)

During a recent walk along San Diego Mission Road, I decided to head up the short mission driveway to take a closer look at some of the outdoor sculptures. James Hubbell produced a total of twenty sculptures for the mission, and I photographed the following ten.

The first nine sculptures stand in niches along the front portico of Mission San Diego de Alcalá. They represent the nine Spanish missions that were founded in California by Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.

I then photographed the sculpture of Saint Junípero Serra that stands beside a large cross in front of the mission’s iconic facade.

Should you visit the mission yourself, make sure to obtain a handout in the gift shop concerning the James Hubbell Collection at Mission San Diego de Alcalá. You can read a more detailed description of each piece. The literature refers to spirituality in art, and states that the earthy clay figures are meant to convey each Saint’s humanity.

Along the front portico of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, sculptures in niches represent the nine Spanish missions in California founded by Junípero Serra.
Along the front portico of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, sculptures in niches represent the nine Spanish missions in California founded by Junípero Serra.
Plaque near the portico sculptures: In memory of W. George Hubbard, Sr. A builder of conviction who made every day a better day.
Plaque in the wall near the portico sculptures: In memory of W. George Hubbard, Sr. A builder of conviction who made every day a better day.
San Buenaventura.
San Buenaventura.
Mission San Buenaventura 1782.
Mission San Buenaventura 1782.
Santa Clara de Asís.
Santa Clara de Asís.
Mission Santa Clara de Asís 1777.
Mission Santa Clara de Asís 1777.
San Juan Capistrano.
San Juan Capistrano.
Mission San Juan Capistrano 1776.
Mission San Juan Capistrano 1776.
San Francisco de Asís.
San Francisco de Asís.
Mission San Francisco de Asís 1776.
Mission San Francisco de Asís 1776.
San Luis Obispo.
San Luis Obispo.
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa 1772.
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa 1772.
San Gabriel Arcángel.
San Gabriel Arcángel.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel 1771.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel 1771.
San Antonio de Padua.
San Antonio de Padua.
Mission San Antonio de Padua 1771.
Mission San Antonio de Padua 1771.
San Carlos Borromeo.
San Carlos Borromeo.
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo 1770.
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo 1770.
San Diego de Alcalá.
San Diego de Alcalá.
Mission San Diego de Alcalá 1769.
Mission San Diego de Alcalá 1769.
Sculpture of Fray Junípero Serra in front of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá facade.
Sculpture of Fray Junípero Serra in front of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá facade.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Contemporary art sculptures at UTC mall.

I stopped by the UTC mall in University City last Saturday on my way from downtown San Diego to North County.

Laugh if you want, but it’s probably thirty or forty years since I last took a leisurely stroll around what used to be called University Towne Center. (When I was a young man, a friend and I would visit the arcade above the ice skating rink and play pinball, Defender, Galaga, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede…)

Over the past ten years, Westfield UTC has been renovated and enlarged. Today it’s not just a popular outdoor mall, but a major entertainment destination. (And before long the Mid-Coast Trolley extension, the construction of which appears to be making great progress, will terminate at the UTC Transit Center.)

As I wandered randomly about the mall last weekend, I noticed a number of very interesting sculptures along a stretch of its perimeter. Out came my camera. I read on some plaques that the three Beverly Pepper sculptures belong to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

After I got home and did a little research, I found out I’d missed other sculptures scattered throughout the mall. Perhaps I’ll have to make another visit in the future!

Here’s what I saw:

Three Graces (Madam in Bloom, Madam Elegance, Madam Beauty), Yuriy Akopov, 2016/2017…

Octo, Anthony Howe, 2015…

The First Amphitheater, Beverly Pepper, 1965…

West Coast School, Laddie John Dill, 2017…

Severio Column, Beverly Pepper, 1978…

Zeus Triad, Beverly Pepper, 1997-1999…

Radix, Joshua Koffman, 2017…

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!

Mingei’s lucky Japanese cats visit Friendship Garden.

The Mingei International Museum has a collection of over 150 maneki neko. Maneki neko are Japanese beckoning cats, made of clay, porcelain, metal, rock, wood or other material. They are talismans of good fortune in Japan.

Seventy examples of maneki neko in the Mingei’s collection are now on display in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Both the Mingei and JFG are located in Balboa Park, the cultural center of San Diego. Currently the Mingei’s building–the House of Charm–is closed to the public as it undergoes a major renovation.

This afternoon I visited the Japanese Friendship Garden and viewed this exhibition. It’s simply titled: Maneki Neko – Japan’s Beckoning Cats.

I must admit that until today I knew nothing about maneki neko. While admiring the many beckoning cats, I read some informative signs.

I learned that a maneki neko with a raised right paw indicates a wave of good fortune to a home, and a raised left paw brings luck to a business. The higher the paw, the greater the good fortune!

I learned maneki neko sometime wear colorful bibs, which represent an expression of gratitude for a wish realized. Also, the color of the cat is meaningful. Black symbolizes safety, gold symbolizes money, white symbolizes happiness, red symbolizes protection.

I learned about Hatsutatsu-san, a popular variety of beckoning cat that wears human clothing! (You can see an example in an upcoming photo.)

I also learned about a few of the different kilns in Japan that produce maneki neko, and how each kiln has its own distinctive style.

When you view this exhibition, you’ll probably learn a lot, too! And you’ll be charmed by the beauty and unique personality of every beckoning cat.

Planning a trip to Balboa Park? This wonderful exhibition can be enjoyed at the Japanese Friendship Garden through November 29, 2020.

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!

Cool sights along Third Avenue in Chula Vista!

Colorful art painted high on a building that is for lease on Chula Vista's Third Avenue.
Colorful art painted high on a building on Chula Vista’s Third Avenue.

Two years ago I walked along Third Avenue in downtown Chula Vista during the annual Lemon Festival. At the time I took a few photos of murals and public art that I happened to notice. To see those photographs, click here.

Last weekend I walked along Third Avenue again and discovered all sorts of cool sights that are either new or that I hadn’t seen previously. (Or, in the case of the street clock and big landmark sign, that I hadn’t thought to photograph.)

As you can see, downtown Chula Vista has a very friendly vibe. And the village appears to be getting even more inviting. I noticed that improvements along Third Avenue’s median are underway.

Forgive me if I don’t know who created much of the artwork. All of it is very cool, however!

Inspiring mural painted by Jorge Mendoza in Chula Vista. This is a message of strength and love.
Inspiring mural painted by Jorge Mendoza in Chula Vista. This is a message of strength and love.

Cool sculpture that I spotted in front of an office occupied by attorneys.
Cool sculpture that I spotted in front of an office occupied by attorneys.

Chula Vista mural on Davidson Street with the names of local businesses and residents. I believe this was also created by Jorge Mendoza.
Chula Vista mural on Davidson Street with the names of local businesses and residents. I believe this was also created by Jorge Mendoza.

This tasteful little mural is at the entrance to Groundswell Brewing Co.
This tasteful little mural is at the entrance to Groundswell Brewing Co.

Abstract paintings by Rich Walker in the window of Art on Third.
Abstract paintings by Rich Walker in the window of Art on Third.

Beneath a window at Art on Third. I see a red door and I want to paint it black.
Beneath a window at Art on Third. I see a red door and I want to paint it black.

A large colorful mural at the Third and F office and retail complex.
A large colorful mural at the Third and F office and retail complex.

A street clock near the intersection of Third Avenue and F Street in Chula Vista.
A street clock near the intersection of Third Avenue and F Street in Chula Vista.

The street clock was dedicated on April 28, 1984.
The street clock was dedicated on April 28, 1984.

The arching Third Avenue landmark sign welcomes visitors to Chula Vista's historic downtown.
The arching Third Avenue landmark sign welcomes visitors to Chula Vista’s historic downtown.

According to a plaque on its base, downtown Chula Vista's Third Avenue landmark sign debuted on September 5, 2003.
According to a plaque on its base, downtown Chula Vista’s Third Avenue landmark sign debuted on September 5, 2003.

Fun graphic in the window of Teriyaki Grill.
Fun graphic in the window of Teriyaki Grill.

Check out the unique, attractive architecture of the El Primero Boutique Hotel!
Check out the unique, attractive architecture of the El Primero Boutique Hotel!

Old photo on AT&T building shows a scene from Chula Vista's early history.
Old photo on AT&T building shows a scene from Chula Vista’s early history.

I spotted this graffiti wall a block east of Third Avenue at Alvarado Street.
I spotted this graffiti wall a block east of Third Avenue at Alvarado Street.

Cool sculpture near intersection of Third Avenue and H Street in Chula Vista.
Cool sculpture near intersection of Third Avenue and H Street in Chula Vista.

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!

Photos from past US Sand Sculpting Challenges!

The annual US Sand Sculpting Challenge was cancelled this year due the COVID-19 pandemic. The world-class event takes place each Labor Day weekend and draws huge crowds to San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Having gone to this mind-blowing international competition for the past six years, I’ve accumulated lots of cool photos! The world’s top sand masters can produce absolutely astonishing works of art!

To recall past wonders from this event, I’ve linked to blog posts containing hundreds of photographs. Before you check those out, however, in no particular order, here are some of the sand sculptures I’ve particularly enjoyed!

The following links provide six years of photographs from the US Sand Sculpting Challenge…

2014

Photos of world-class sand sculptors at work!

2015

Photos of amazing, incredible sand sculptures!

2016

The most amazing sand sculptures in the world!

2017

World’s top sand sculptors create fantastic art!

2018

Masterpieces by World Master sand sculptors!

2019

Amazing art at U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!

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!

Memories from the San Diego Museum of Art.

Exquisitely beautiful art shines at the Nancy Lorenz-Moon Gold exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Exquisitely beautiful art shines at the Nancy Lorenz-Moon Gold exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art.

One terrible thing about the COVID-19 pandemic is the ongoing closure of so many great cultural institutions. Including museums.

One of my very favorite museums is the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Not only does SDMA feature masterpieces by important artists from all around the world, but it draws major exhibitions to our city. (Plus, my museum docent friend provides awesome tours!)

I’ve blogged about events and exhibitions at SDMA many times over the years. Because I miss visiting the museum–and perhaps you do, too–I figured now would be a good time to revisit some memories. Click the upcoming links to take a look at past exhibitions that I personally really enjoyed!

If you want to visit the San Diego Museum of Art virtually while it’s temporarily closed, check out their online activities page by clicking here! You’ll find podcasts, a cool app that allows you to remotely view the galleries, videos of lectures and performances, creative ideas for artists and art students, a book club, and a whole lot more!

Child Holding Book, Los Angeles, 1983, Guy Crowder.
Child Holding Book, Los Angeles, 1983, Guy Crowder.

Here come the links!

Black life and civil rights in Southern California.

Moon Gold shines in San Diego Museum of Art!

Alfred Mitchell’s fine paintings of San Diego.

Rare exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America.

The fantastic art of Richard Deacon in San Diego!

Bathing, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.
Bathing, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.

The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.

Across this room soars Like a Bird. Laminated wood, 1984. Richard Deacon creates spacious wonders that tickle the mind and expand the spirit.
Across this room soars Like a Bird. Laminated wood, 1984. Richard Deacon creates spacious wonders that tickle the mind and expand the spirit.

Early American quilts: amazing color and patterns!

Amazing animal bronzes at San Diego Museum of Art!

The Art of Music lives in San Diego!

Museum exhibit brings Coney Island to San Diego!

Amazing modern masterpieces visit San Diego.

Fighting Buffalo, Arthur Putnam, 1900. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Fighting Buffalo, Arthur Putnam, 1900. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.

Amazing early American quilts on display at the San Diego Museum of Art feature beautifully contrasted colors and abstract designs.
Amazing early American quilts on display at the San Diego Museum of Art feature beautifully contrasted colors and abstract designs.

Vincent Van Gogh, The Old Mill, 1888, courtesy the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Vincent Van Gogh, The Old Mill, 1888, courtesy the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

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 public art in Vista’s Civic Center Park!

I was pleased to discover some truly amazing public art inside Vista’s Civic Center Park last weekend. The small but beautiful park is situated adjacent to the Civic Center complex, and was very quiet on an early Sunday afternoon.

In addition to a fantastically strange and wonderful sculpture titled Wind Beams, I found four very fine bronze sculptures of children reading and at play!

I’ve tried to determine who created the bronze sculptures of children, but I can find nothing on the internet, and I could find no artist’s name on any plaque. If anyone knows the artist, leave a comment! The sculptures depict a small girl reading a book, a child riding a bike with arms outspread, kids and their friendly dog crossing a curved bridge or log, and two small children riding a large tortoise. The plaque that I photographed, which is mounted near the reading girl, explains these four bronze sculptures were dedicated in October 2012 as a tribute to retired Vista City Manager Rita L. Geldert.

The extremely cool Wind Beams sculpture was created by artist Robert Rochin. The year given is 2010. It’s an unbelievable thing made of four 10 feet long I-beams that move about in the slightest breeze. All I can say is these heavy steel beams must be well lubricated and perfectly balanced! Watching the beams move silently about like immense metal arms whirling in the sky is really strange, even surreal!

Wind Beams, by artist Robert Rochin, 2010.
Wind Beams, by artist Robert Rochin, 2010.

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 around the city inspires reading!

Public art that inspires reading can be found all across San Diego!

In the past I’ve photographed murals, sculptures, and even some beautiful glass panels that encourage reading. Often great books and authors are celebrated. Wisdom, knowledge, compassion and other timeless human values are shown to arise from reading. And, of course, there’s the simple enjoyment. Almost everyone loves to learn something interesting, or a good story!

After seeing artwork that promotes reading outside the Vista Library on Sunday, and posting photographs here, it occurred to me that I should link to more of this inspiring art!

What has my camera recorded so far?

Click the following links to see past photos!

Books fly in a children’s reading mural!

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at UCSD.

Wise words inspire readers at the San Diego Library.

Sculpture of Mark Twain reading book on bench.

New mural painted on Union-Tribune building.

Art and wisdom outside National City library.

La Jolla Library and the Voyage of Discovery.

Wizard of Oz glass panels at Coronado Library.

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!

A Time Machine, and three fantastic dreams.

In downtown Vista, California, at the intersection of S. Indiana Avenue and E. Broadway, you’ll discover a Time Machine and three fantastic dreams.

Or perhaps I should say, you’ll discover four sculptures, one at each corner. I happened upon this very unique public art while walking today!

You might remember I took photos of other cool sculptures around downtown Vista a couple months ago. See them here.

After I finished that earlier walk, I learned to my chagrin that I’d missed a lot of other nearby artwork, so I returned!

(And I found even more amazing art during today’s adventure. So stay tuned!)

Time Machine, by Randall Art Ranch, 2017.
Time Machine, by Randall Art Ranch, 2017.

Shall we visit three dreams? Pull the lever to GO.
Shall we now visit three dreams? Pull the lever to GO.

Beacon, by artist Kellan Shanahan.
Beacon, by artist Kellan Shanahan.

Aeolian Butterfly, by artists David Terrell and Dave Weaver.
Aeolian Butterfly, by artists David Terrell and Dave Weaver.

Sea Life, by artist Noe Estrada.
Sea Life, by artist Noe Estrada.

What takes us back to the past are the memories. What brings us forward is our dreams.
What takes us back to the past are the memories. What brings us forward is our dreams.

Hop aboard and move forward.
Time to dream. Hop aboard, strap yourself in and forward we go!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.