Murals in and around Alley Art Man Way!

Long Live Vista! ¡Viva Vista!, by artist Kim Maria Cruz, 2019.
Long Live Vista! ¡Viva Vista!, by artist Kim Maria Cruz, 2019.

Public art thrives in Vista, California!

In addition to dozens of amazing sculptures, which I recently blogged about here, numerous colorful murals can be found throughout town!

Last weekend I walked randomly around downtown Vista and came upon an alley with an unusual name: Alley Art Man Way. It’s located between Main Street and East Broadway, South Citrus Avenue and Hanes Place.

As I wandered through and around the alley, I discovered many walls painted with fantastic artwork!

As you can see on the City of Vista Public Art Map, which you can check out here, there are many additional murals out there to be discovered. One day I’ll return to find more!

I’ve captioned my photographs using information obtained from the interactive map.

Alley Art Man Way in downtown Vista, California is home to many colorful murals!
Alley Art Man Way in downtown Vista, California is home to many colorful murals!
Vista Fire Department 1929, by artist Doug Davis, 2000.
Vista Fire Department 1929, by artist Doug Davis, 2000.
Water World, by artist Doug Davis, 2016.
Water World, by artist Doug Davis, 2016.

Tribute to Margarita, by artist Daniel Toledo, 2018.
Tribute to Margarita, by artist Daniel Toledo, 2018.
Crazy, colorful mural by front door of Backfence Society, where North County artists gather and create.
Crazy, colorful graphic by front door of Backfence Society, where North County artists gather and create.
Boogie Birds, by artist Chor Boogie, a.k.a. Joaquin Lamar Hailey.
Boogie Birds, by artist Chor Boogie, a.k.a. Joaquin Lamar Hailey.

Space Coyote, by artist Sarah Spinks et al.
Space Coyote, by artist Sarah Spinks et al.

Delpy's, Vista Mercantile, Beattie and Travis, by artist Chuck Rose, 2001.
Delpy’s, Vista Mercantile, Beattie and Travis, by artist Chuck Rose, 2001.
Trees painted on either side of the door to Visions In Art.
Trees painted on either side of the entrance to Visions In Art.
Lilac Cat on the Hunt, by artist Sarah Spinks and friends.
Lilac Cat on the Hunt, by artist Sarah Spinks and friends.

Vista Avocados, by artist Art Mortimer, 2011.
Vista Avocados, by artist Art Mortimer, 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!

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More pots filled with beauty for downtown!

I was walking down Cedar Street this morning when I noticed a worker had placed several large pots on the sidewalk at Third Avenue. In a trailer behind his truck were several beautiful plants.

The Downtown San Diego Partnership is adding even more beauty to the neighborhood!

UPDATE!

Here’s what it looked like when I walked past a few days later…

DSCN2544z

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!

Stained glass panels beautify Paseo Santa Fe!

Take a look at this beautiful new public artwork in Vista, California!

Colorful stained glass mural panels, by artist Buddy Smith, are being installed along S. Santa Fe Avenue, between Vista Village Drive and Civic Center Drive. They’re part of the City of Vista’s ongoing Paseo Santa Fe green street improvement project.

A lot of public art has already been added to one section of S. Santa Fe Avenue, including many of these stained glass panels in new information kiosks. A once blighted part of downtown Vista is being revitalized!

I took photos of some finished panels as I walked around today. I saw depictions of Vista’s flowers, birds, natural landscapes, and historic places!

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!

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Fossils exposed in Hillcrest on University Avenue!

Perceptive people who walk along University Avenue in Hillcrest, between First Avenue and Park Boulevard, might see dozens of fossils “exposed” in the sidewalk.

These small, stone-sculpted plant and animal fossils are part of San Diego’s largest public art installation, which stretches about a mile long!

Fossils Exposed, created by San Diego artist Doron Rosenthal in 1998, consists of 150 granite markers set in the sidewalks along either side of University Avenue.

Doron Rosenthal has always been inspired by the unique beauty of desert landscapes. After spending some time in Pietra Santa, Italy, working with and learning from some of the world’s greatest sculptors, Doron Rosenthal returned to Southern California and taught stone cutting at the San Diego Art Institute. He continues to produce art today.

According to the artist’s website, “FOSSILS EXPOSED involves the creation and installation of 150 circular 4.5 inch granite markers. Each represent the artist’s interpretive carvings of local and regional fossilized plant and animal life, which are sandblasted into granite…. The imagery is inspired by the fossil collections from the San Diego Museum of Natural History. Each marker is different, representing various plant and animal species covered over by modern day urban development. The project would encourage awareness of the levels of life that struggled to exist within the area–some in the past, some in the present…”

To learn more, visit Doron Rosenthal’s website here.

I walked along University Avenue this morning and photographed just a fraction of the many Fossils Exposed.

To my eyes, it appears that over the years these man-made fossils have become even more fossil-like. They’ve aged along with the slowly weathering sidewalks and surroundings.

Unfortunately, it also appears much of the fossil artwork is now missing. Sections of sidewalk have been replaced over time, and I could locate no markers along a few stretches of University Avenue. I suspect that when old sections of concrete sidewalk were removed, certain fossils vanished, and ended up buried under layers of rubble and Earth. Where most true fossils are found.

If that’s the case, what a shame.

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 rambling Sunday walk along Morena Boulevard.

Graphic on wall of Coronado Brewing Company San Diego Tasting Room. WISH YOU WERE beer.
Graphic on wall of Coronado Brewing Company San Diego Tasting Room. WISH YOU WERE beer.

Today I took a rambling walk along Morena Boulevard. These photos start around Knoxville Street in Bay Park and proceed south to the area where Morena and West Morena split.

You might notice few people in the photos. It’s Sunday and many businesses are closed. And of course there’s the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, keeping many at home.

If you ever drive through the Morena District, you’ll probably recognize some of these sights. Many of the old shops and small businesses along the street aren’t much to look at, but there are a few that stand out!

(I took this walk in order to photograph two really great murals in particular. I’ll post those pics shortly. I also wanted to check on the status of a mysterious, possibly historical wooden tombstone by a parking lot that I’d seen years ago. The mystery has deepened, as you’ll see in another upcoming blog post!)

Now let’s walk…

Sculpture of lady tending her garden in front of the Armstrong Garden Center.
Sculpture of lady tending her garden in front of the Armstrong Garden Center.
Another look at the gardening sculpture.
Another look at the gardening sculpture.
Beautiful bloom between the Knoxville Street sidewalk and Armstrong Garden Center.
Beautiful bloom between the Knoxville Street sidewalk and Armstrong Garden Center.
The Cordova Bar. This must be the place!
The Cordova Bar. This must be the place!
Mermaid door handles at the entrance to The Cordova Bar.
Mermaid door handles at the entrance to The Cordova Bar.
Sign on fence near U.S. Karate Academy encourages people to Be Your Best!
Sign on fence near U.S. Karate Academy encourages people to Be Your Best!
Banner on lamp post invites people to Shop for Home Decor in the Morena District.
Banner on lamp post invites people to Shop for Home Decor in the Morena District.
Cool motorcycle graphic on wall of Sidecar Bar.
Cool motorcycle graphic on wall of Sidecar Bar.
There's a T. Rex on the roof of Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital! It must've escaped!
There’s a T. Rex on the roof of Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital! It must’ve escaped!
This cool graphic of a van with a surfboard is on the side of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.
This cool graphic of a van with a surfboard is on the side of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.
Clouds and palm trees reflected on angles of window glass.
Clouds and palm trees reflected on angles of window glass.
Now I'm walking along near the Valero gas station.
Now I’m walking along near the Valero gas station.
A colorful mural near the front door of Nico's Mexican Food.
A colorful mural near the front door of Nico’s Mexican Food.
Super cool surfboards hang out beside the front door of Bird's Surf Shed.
Super cool surfboards hang out beside the front door of Bird’s Surf Shed.
Mural at Bird's Surf Shed was painted by Skye Walker in 2014.
Mural at Bird’s Surf Shed was painted by Skye Walker in 2014. Tubular, dude!
Vintage automobile parked alone in corner of a parking lot.
Vintage automobile parked alone in corner of a parking lot.
Looks like a farm around the entrance to Bull's Smokin' BBQ. Fun sculptures greet passersby on West Morena Boulevard.
Looks like a ranch around the entrance to Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ. Fun animal sculptures greet passersby on West Morena Boulevard.
Two bulls and one pig.
Walking beside two bulls and one pig.

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!

Fun art along a stretch of Turquoise Street.

A large face greets those heading east on Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach.
A large face greets those heading east on Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach.

Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach, from Mission Boulevard to Cass Street, is the home of a lot of fun street art.

Check out some photos!

Mural on parking lot wall by Treelogy Cafe Restaurant.
Mural on parking lot wall by Treelogy Cafe Restaurant.
These colorful flowers are at the center of the mural.
These colorful flowers are at the center of the mural.
Old-fashioned advertising artwork on wall of Cafe Bar Europa.
Old-fashioned advertising artwork on wall of Cafe Bar Europa.
The happy exterior of Blossoms Design Florist.
The happy wood shack of Blossoms Design Florist.
Mural in a narrow alley celebrates 90 years of Crystal Pier.
Mural in a narrow alley celebrates 90 years of Crystal Pier.
Bottom of the alley mural, with an octopus tentacle wearing a beach sandal. #octopier by @artanystef.
Bottom of the alley mural, with an octopus tentacle wearing a beach sandal. #octopier by @artanystef
Mural on the side of P.B. Yoga and Healing Arts.
Mural on the side of P.B. Yoga and Healing Arts.
Enjoying a hot beverage with a dog. Mural by artist Gloria Muriel on the side of The French Gourmet.
Enjoying a hot beverage with a dog. Mural by artist Gloria Muriel on the side of The French Gourmet.
A fun blue character painted on another nearby wall by Gloria Muriel.
A fun blue character painted on another nearby wall by Gloria Muriel.

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!

Complex people in a complex city.

The immense complexity of the city and its people is evident in every one of my walks.

A city is like a small slice of the larger human world. Many individuals heading in different directions, or forward together…talking or silently thinking…interacting in the places where they work, rest, shop, live. You see the complexity in the streets signs and the architecture, in restaurant menus and colorful store windows. You see it on the active sidewalks, in styles of dress, facial expressions, postures of ambition or resignation. A city and its people are too complicated to ever adequately describe.

Much of the complexity rises from the ongoing tangle of human desires, predilections, emotions. One thing that seems constant in the world is human yearning. And those yearnings often create tension.

Today I walked around downtown. I came upon a political rally at the County Administration Building. Roused citizens, desiring liberty, were chafing at the slow reopening of society during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. They expressed their reasons. They yearned for individual liberty. But others in our society yearn for collective security. It’s that never-ending political conflict.

As I continued my walk, I turned my eyes upward to see the mysterious, ordered windows where different people work and live. And I looked at the intersecting streets and sidewalks, where separate lives move forward.

All that human complexity makes a city what it is. It also makes every single walk every single day fascinating. And thought-provoking.

Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when the city seems more lonely and troubled than usual.

He was simply resting in the sun.

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!

If the above images feel almost like a poem, it was my intention. To read a few philosophical stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Vandalism downtown during the lockdown.

This morning I saw several workers in Little Italy painting over ugly, newly scrawled graffiti.

During my walks around downtown, I’ve noticed that vandalism has increased during the current coronavirus lockdown.

The friendly guys painting over the illegal graffiti indicated that because the streets are emptier than usual, those who go about tagging buildings, walls, signs and other targets have become more active, as there are fewer eyes outside who might witness their activity. San Diego has had a substantial increase in the homeless population in recent years, and unfortunately that means gang members who move about the city selling meth and other drugs. I might be a bit naive on such matters, but I reckon at least some of this vandalism is the marking of territory.

In any case, it’s obviously a disturbing and disheartening situation.

I took some representative photographs this morning during my walk through Little Italy and along the waterfront.

Thank you to the unsung heroes–like those guys in the first and last photo–who work tirelessly to make our city not only less ugly, but safer for everyone.

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!

Cool faces along El Cajon Boulevard!

On Sunday I enjoyed a long walk along El Cajon Boulevard, including a stretch through North Park and City Heights.

Look at all the cool faces I came upon between 30th Street and 35th Street! (Okay, one is beneath a motorcycle helmet–you’ll have to leave that face to your imagination.)

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!

Historical marker near Midway and Rosecrans.

Historical marker recalls early San Diego's La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.
Historical marker recalls early San Diego’s La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.

While walking around Point Loma this weekend, I came upon another historical marker with a plaque that commemorates San Diego’s famous old La Playa Trail. This marker stands in front of a shopping center near the corner of Midway Drive and Rosecrans Street. It features one of six similar plaques created back in the 1930s.

You can see a photo of another such plaque at the east end of the La Playa Trail, near Mission San Diego de Alcala, by clicking here. You can see a third plaque at the base of Presidio Hill and learn about the remaining three plaques (which I have yet to photograph) here.

According to Wikipedia: “The La Playa Trail was a historic bayside trail in San Diego, connecting the settled inland areas to the commercial anchorage at Old La Playa on San Diego Bay…The trail was used during the Pre-Hispanic (Native American), Spanish, Mexican and American periods of San Diego history. Much of the length of the original trail corresponds to the current Rosecrans Street in the San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma…The trail was already established by the time the Spanish settlers arrived in 1769; the first inhabitants of the area, including the Kumeyaay tribe, used it to access the beaches of San Diego Bay. It was improved and extended during the Spanish colonization of the region, reaching Old Town San Diego and Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Mission Valley by the 1770s. Cargo which had been unloaded by ship at Ballast Point in Old La Playa was transported along the trail several miles inland to Old Town…”

US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. (New San Diego is where downtown is today.) Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Have you read the classic of American Literature, Two Years Before the Mast? It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Richard Henry Dana Jr. wrote an account of a sailor’s life on the coast of California in the mid-1830s, and a good portion of his fascinating narrative describes San Diego.

La Playa (then a beach on Point Loma just inside San Diego Bay) is where merchant ship Pilgrim unloaded cattle hides that had been gathered by Dana and his shipmates up and down the California coast. When Dana rode on horseback from the hide houses on the beach to Old Town, or farther east to Mission San Diego, he followed the La Playa Trail!

La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.
La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.

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!