Architecture inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

An exhibition of truly amazing architectural designs recently opened at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray showcases the futuristic architectural concepts of an emeritus professor from San Diego State University, who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996.

Those who have driven through La Jolla might have seen the fantastic house and studio he built at 1699 Nautilus Street. It’s commonly referred to as the Silver Ship. It was erected in 1978 with the help of Environmental Design students from SDSU.

It’s no surprise that many of Eugene Ray’s designs appear a bit like spaceships. His inspiration comes not only from simple, efficient, resilient forms found in nature, but from his life-changing sighting of a UFO in 1947 when he was a boy.

According to one sign I read, many of the innovative designs synthesized “Ray’s concepts of the synergy of color, light, and sound to create holistic, healing and energizing environments.” He also sought to create modular structures, which would be affordable and easily assembled.

I was told that his organic, biomorphic designs are so futuristic, unusual and brilliant that world-famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury at one time had plans to make a movie about Eugene Ray’s work.

Here are a few photos of the original drawings, prototypes, renderings and highly creative artwork currently on display. This very cool exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery runs through October 6, 2019.

James A. Perry Residence - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
James A. Perry Residence – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
Aerodyne Sports House - 1984.
Aerodyne Sports House – 1984.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship - La Jolla, California, 1978.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship – La Jolla, California, 1978.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located at 1699 Nautilus Street in La Jolla, California.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located in La Jolla, California.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.

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Photography depicts human lives In Transit.

Every human life is important.

This truth becomes abundantly clear when you visit the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Their current exhibition, In Transit, features the photography of five artists who document the plight of refugees.

According to the description: “Focusing on the tentative, limbo-like experience of living between different cultures, these five artists explore narratives of immigrants who traverse the no-man’s land existing between home and hope.”

The five artists are: George Awde, Gohar Dashti, Daniel Castro Garcia, Tanya Habjouqa, and Stefanie Zofia Schulz.

This emotionally powerful exhibition runs through July 14, 2019. One should see it.

These photographs help us to more deeply understand Humanity.

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!

Images from Witches’ Night in San Diego!

It’s April 30. Tonight is Witches’ Night!

Certain witches in San Diego haven’t gathered on a dark mountaintop or in a deep forest to work their magic, however. I know this because I spotted them this evening in Balboa Park’s Federal Building, future home of the Comic-Con Museum!

For an enjoyable hour and a half I listened to San Diego State University history professor Elizabeth Pollard and Beth Accomando of KPBS discuss the ancient belief in witchcraft, what distinguishes it from superstition, religion and science, and how witches have been characterized and dealt with by the people of different eras.

Fictional witches discussed ranged from Erichtho and Meroe of ancient Roman literature, to the three witches of Macbeth, to Circe as envisioned by the Pre-Raphaelites, right up to the Wicked Witch of the West, Maleficent, and others we readily recognize today in our popular culture.

Before sitting down in the Comic-Con Museum’s auditorium, those in attendance were able to look at some cultural artifacts, a chilling video loop of Häxan from 1922, and several rare books in the collection of the San Diego State University Library. The main attraction under glass was a scarce early edition of Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) printed in 1494–only fifty years after the Gutenberg press!

Here are a few images from tonight. But please excuse me–I have to go make sure my door is locked, because it’s getting close to midnight!

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!

Utopian and dystopian Futures Past and Present.

Right half of MMCXVIII/MDCCC, 2018, Emma Laraby. Digital painting.
Right half of MMCXVIII/MDCCC, 2018, Emma Laraby. Digital painting.

A fascinating exhibition opened yesterday at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. It’s titled Futures Past and Present.

San Diego State University students and faculty from the School of Art + Design have creatively addressed human society and the passage of time. Unique works of art reflect how the future has been forecast in the past, and how our present informs what is yet to come.

Visions that are presented range from the utopian to the dystopian, and many aspects of human experience and its possibilities are mixed into the artwork. Technology, the environment, urban growth, cultural transformation, and philosophical points of view are some of the themes contained in four sections: Alternate Realities, Building the Future, Inventing the Future, and Personal Prophecies.

Curious minds will enjoy this exhibition. Those who love science fiction, art or futurism should definitely head downtown to check it out!

Futures Past and Present is an exhibition now showing at the SDSU Downtown Gallery in San Diego.
Futures Past and Present is a very cool exhibition now showing at the SDSU Downtown Gallery in San Diego.
Pulp magazines in a display case recall early visions from science fiction. As human life and technology evolve, the genre also evolves.
Pulp magazines in a display case recall early visions from science fiction. As human life and technology evolve, the genre also evolves.
CareLink: transmitting internal data, 2017, Kelly Temple. Archival digital print and other materials.
CareLink: transmitting internal data, 2017, Kelly Temple. Archival digital print and other materials.
K-bots (10 robots), 2019, Andrew Blackwell. Beech, brass, plastic.
K-bots (10 robots), 2019, Andrew Blackwell. Beech, brass, plastic.
BLDNG #6 two views 2008 (In and Out), 2018, David Fobes. Archival inkjet print.
BLDNG #6 two views 2008 (In and Out), 2018, David Fobes. Archival inkjet print.
Time Capsules Project. SDSU art students created small time capsules and messages that speak to the future.
Time Capsules Project. SDSU art students created small time capsules and messages that speak to the future.
Occupying one corner of the gallery are tools of the past and present. HARD_COPY - Unforgetting Futures Past - a temporary reading room and bindery.
Occupying one corner of the gallery are tools of the past and present. HARD_COPY – Unforgetting Futures Past – a temporary reading room and bindery.
Bubble, 2018, Brandie Maddalena. Copper, felt, paracord, steel, human interaction.
Bubble, 2018, Brandie Maddalena. Copper, felt, paracord, steel, human interaction.
Washington Marbles, 2018, Tyler Young. Oil paint, acrylic paint, cardboard, dirt and plaster on canvas.
Washington Marbles, 2018, Tyler Young. Oil paint, acrylic paint, cardboard, dirt and plaster on canvas.
The Same, 2018, Tamayo Muto. Archival digital print.
The Same, 2018, Tamayo Muto. Archival digital print.
The Drain, 2016, Vincent Cordelle. Cast bronze, steel, insulated pipe.
The Drain, 2016, Vincent Cordelle. Cast bronze, steel, insulated pipe.
Untitled (Potential 40 Units), 2018, Eleanor Greer. Oil and charcoal on canvas.
Untitled (Potential 40 Units), 2018, Eleanor Greer. Oil and charcoal on canvas.
Extravehicular Activity Kit #5, 2018, Zac Keane. Birch ply, hickory, steel, duct tape, nylon.
Extravehicular Activity Kit #5, 2018, Zac Keane. Birch ply, hickory, steel, duct tape, nylon.
Little Miss Sunshine, 2018, Melissa Salgado. Acrylic and oil on canvas.
Little Miss Sunshine, 2018, Melissa Salgado. Acrylic and oil 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!

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!

San Diego’s drive-through art gallery expands!

The right half of one wall at University Avenue and Laverne Place has been painted by artist Matthew Perdoni.
The right half of one wall at University Avenue and Laverne Place has been painted by artist Matthew Perdoni.

On Sunday I enjoyed another walk through San Diego’s expanding “drive-through” art gallery in City Heights. And I spotted more murals!

The first time I checked out the murals of #theavenuemuralproject was four months ago. I was given a tour by members of Love City Heights, and learned about their ambitious plan to create an outdoor, drive-through art gallery along University Avenue from I-805 to I-15. To see those first murals and learn much more, you can read my original blog post here.

These murals provide proof that good people can make a huge positive difference in their community. Many wonderful artists, students and neighbors are coming together to make this amazing vision a reality!

The left half of the wall was painted by San Diego muralist Gloria Muriel.
The left half of the wall was painted by San Diego muralist Gloria Muriel.
Students from an Experimental Processes in Art class at SDSU painted a mural on the wall of 7-Eleven. The design was inspired by the nonprofit United Women of East Africa Support Team.
Students from an Experimental Processes in Art class at SDSU painted a mural on the wall of 7-Eleven. The design was inspired by the nonprofit United Women of East Africa Support Team.
Left half of the colorful mural depicts female members of the East African community in San Diego.
Left half of the colorful mural. which depicts female members of the East African community in San Diego.
The right half of the mural. Joyful art created by students at San Diego State University adds life to City Heights.
The right half of the mural. Joyful art created by students at San Diego State University adds life to City Heights.
Fun artwork on the wall of Fruteria Disfrutalas at University Avenue and Cherokee Street.
Fun artwork on the wall of Fruteria Disfrutalas at University Avenue and Cherokee Street.
More fun artwork on another side of Fruteria Disfrutalas.
More fun artwork on another side of Fruteria Disfrutalas.
All these happy images were created by Isaias Crow and his 14 year old apprentice Andrew, who designed the fun artwork.
All these happy images were created by Isaias Crow and his 14 year old apprentice Andrew, who designed the fun artwork.
Silly, creative public art produces smiles in City Heights!
Silly, creative public art produces smiles in City Heights!
A beautiful new graphic on the wall of Sunset Kava in City Heights.
A beautiful graphic on the wall of Sunset Kava in City Heights, by artist Zuzana Vass.
On the same Sunset Kava wall a very cool abstract design was painted by artist Mary Jhun.
On the same Sunset Kava wall a very cool abstract design was recently painted by artist Mary Jhun.

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!

An architectural landmark in University Heights.

Last weekend I enjoyed an easy walk through University Heights. My small adventure included a close look at an architectural landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Teacher Training School Building–San Diego State Normal School. Today the monumental old building, located inside the San Diego Unified School District’s Education Center Complex, is officially designated Teachers Training Annex 1.

The 1910 building, built by engineer Nathan Ellery and architect George Sellon, is in the Italian Renaissance Revival Style. According to the Save Our Heritage Organisation website: “It is the only structure remaining from the 1897 San Diego State Normal School’s University Heights campus, the forerunner to present day San Diego State University. Originally functioning as a living laboratory for student teachers, it was transferred to the City of San Diego Schools in 1931 and served as the original Alice Birney Elementary School until 1951.”

Many in the community hope to see the historic building renovated and transformed into a new University Heights library, replacing the small branch library on Park Boulevard a couple blocks to the south.

Here are some exterior photos…

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!

Cleverly designed furniture is surprising, playful art!

Artwork now on display in the SDSU Downtown Gallery includes extraordinary furniture!
Artwork now on display in the SDSU Downtown Gallery includes extraordinary furniture!

Some fantastic, highly innovative art is now on display at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Tom Loeser: Please Please Please is the title of the surprising exhibition.

Walk through the door of the SDSU Downtown Gallery and you might not be sure whether you’ve entered a bizarre furniture and hardware store or a dream-place where art conforms to your body. Those abstract paintings on the wall actually unfold into chairs! Those shovel handles in a row form the back of a beautifully crafted wooden bench! That colorful “luggage” tossed in a heap in one corner seems more appropriate for a comfortable living room than a cargo hold!

According to a sign in the gallery, Tom Loeser imagines new ways that the body, furniture and space can interact. He wonders: if the furniture we sit on were totally different, how might our lives be different too?

I can tell you resting on these pieces (and you’re allowed to actually sit on a few of his tumblers) would put me in a very creative and happy state of mind.

As I sat I might gaze at Tom Loeser’s artwork on the gallery’s walls, which includes fantastic blue cyanotypes and strangely elemental pyrography. Transformed by the artist’s genius, ordinary objects seem to radiate a weird spiritual essence. The images, like his furniture, seem to present a vision of unexpected potentialities in our practical, solidly physical world.

If you love really clever art, check out the SDSU Downtown Gallery before this exhibition ends on October 28, 2018!

The art exhibition Tom Loeser: Please Please Please is now showing in downtown San Diego.
The art exhibition Tom Loeser: Please Please Please is now showing in downtown San Diego.
Two works of art by Tom Loeser. Not a Dozen Even, 2014, cyanotype. Double Dig, 2016, white oak and shovel handles.
Two works of art by Tom Loeser. Not a Dozen Even, 2014, cyanotype. Double Dig, 2016, white oak and shovel handles.
S/M/L, 2014, cyanotype by artist Tom Loeser.
S/M/L, 2014, cyanotype by artist Tom Loeser.
A room full of practical objects made dreamlike.
A room full of practical objects made dreamlike.
Dig for Three, 2015, walnut and shovel handles by artist Tom Loeser.
Dig for Three, 2015, walnut and shovel handles by artist Tom Loeser.
LA/Chicago/New York, 2016, plywood, wood, felt, paint by artist Tom Loeser.
LA/Chicago/New York, 2016, plywood, wood, felt, paint by artist Tom Loeser.
A colorful tumbler that can be sat upon comfortably any which way.
A colorful tumbler that can be sat upon comfortably any which way.
Folding Chair, 1987, painted plywood, maple, stainless steel by artist Tom Loeser.
Folding Chair, 1987, painted plywood, maple, stainless steel by artist Tom Loeser.
Scythe by Scythe, 2016, maple, hickory, scythe handles by artist Tom Loeser.
Scythe by Scythe, 2016, maple, hickory, scythe handles by artist Tom Loeser.

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!