Tag: murals

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Teachable Murals

If there were alternate realities, in another my wife and I would have purchased what we call the Schoolhouse nearly five years ago. Location, nearby Alice Birney Elementary, was one of the appealing attributes—that and misguided speculation San Diego would never allow any type of overdevelopment nearby the kids.

A block-long, multi-residence high-rise is under construction across from the school and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 restrictions kept away students for more than a year. Both are ambience-killers. We’re better off with the decision made in this reality.

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You Are Nobody

Yesterday, after photographing the bicycle traffic light, I continued along University Avenue in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood before stopping to wonder at the mural that is the Featured Image and companion. The first hugs cross-street Sixth and the second is along the main throughway.

Is this who we are after two years of masking during the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 crisis? Faceless? So stripped of humanity to be utterly featureless, without even eyes? Whatever the artist’s intent, I see an overt—not even hidden—message: You are nobody. In a society where even gender is disputed, maybe no identity is the only rendition to depict.

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Pizza Face

D you recall that scene from movie Poltergeist where the dude picks apart his face? I feel kind of the same way about the Featured Image, captured today using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 1:09 p.m. PST.

Looked at from a different gruesome perspective, how is self-cannibalism an effective way to sell pizza? You tell me. The mural is on the same side of building as yesterday’s two slices but closer to the street and behind a temporary fence; the new eatery isn’t yet open for business—but soon, presumably.

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The Painted Garden

Around University Heights and adjacent San Diego neighborhoods, I see more murals like this one: Painted on personal property, not necessarily a business. They add magnificent charm and character—and individualized flare that pops compared to nearby houses.

I feel for the homeowners, who deserve to stake out some semblance of freedom and peace. The mural faces the forever commercial construction site across the alley separating Georgia Street and Park Blvd at Monroe. In June 2015, a house sitting on that corner at Park sold for $525,000. The worksite has existed for so long that I can’t recall dates when. But using Google Maps Street View snapshots over time, I see that demolition and early construction commenced no later than June 2016—for a lumbering, three-and-a-half story mixed-use business and residential building far from finished.

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‘Growing with Passion’

Whenever walking by this mural, I often regret not photographing the lively, colorful Yipao Coffee outdoor café that once occupied this location. More importantly: What the place displaced—trees and lush green space that the (permanently closed) florist had used. Hence the irony, if you don’t see it yet, of “growing with passion”; because all that remains is dirt, on top of which vehicles park. Nothing green grows, nor the vitality of human interaction.

In late June 2018, I shared about the departure of Florabella, which had to abandon its 24-year commercial space after the landlord informed the owner that rent would triple effective July 1. I wondered: What will replace the florist? Well, Yipao took up residence in the not-long-later clearcut corner area. Interesting aside: John Adams disappeared and was discovered to be accidentally locked inside the closed floral shop, which Yipao used; perhaps for storage. He is among the “Cats of University Heights“; June 2019.

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Never Rest, San Diego

About 10 minutes after photographing the “Roarin’ Riders and the First Responders” on Nov. 6, 2021, I came across building art that is the Featured Image. The pair of murals are on the alley side of Belching Beaver Brewery in North Park—between El Cajon Blvd and Howard Avenue. The irony about the “people come before profit” sentiment is its placement on a commercial building selling pricey gourmet booze—or am I missing something here?

While I carried Leica Q2, iPhone 13 Pro made the moment, by taking advantage of the ultra-wide lens. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 32, 1/405 sec, 13mm; 2:10 p.m. PDT. Because of obstructions, I couldn’t back up far enough with the camera to include both murals. Hence, the choice of the smartphone.

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All That Remains

I more frequently walk down the Louisiana block between El Cajon and Meade, here in University Heights, looking to see when (now vacant) houses and shops at the corner will be leveled and another—ah-hum, morbid—San Diego redevelopment project begins. Two months ago, I explained how the forthcoming demolition led to the sudden closure of Postal Convenience Center, after 35 years in business.

Across the street is the abandoned Twisted Taps, which flatlined during last year’s SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns. On Aug. 24, 2021, while scouting Louisiana, I stopped to gawk at the mural on the side of the closed brewery/eatery and captured the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 10:06 a.m. PDT.

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The Flower Power House Goes Dark

This is unexpected. The flower power house that I photographed on April 8, 2021 and posted here three weeks ago has gone black—as you can see from the Featured Image taken today, using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/7.1, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 9:38 a.m. PDT.

Obviously, some kind of renovation is underway, which the mural made lively—and that was a refreshing sight in a neighborhood where the clank, clank, clank of construction obliterates the soothing chatter of birds and occasional caw of crows. In these dark days of segregation and tribalism, fueled in part by so-called social justice warriors and their opponents, the repainting is a mood metaphor. Someone cancelled the expressive art. So let’s stretch it all into a symbol of cancel culture

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Flickr a Week 22: ‘Ladywell Street Art London’

Mechanic Loco Steve brings us back to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic. According to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, there are 5,594,175 confirmed cases and 350,531 deaths. The number of dead in the United States should surpass 100,000 within a few hours of our 12:04 a.m. PDT posting time.

“Street artist Lionel Stanhope has painted an image of Jan Van Eyck’s red-turbaned Portrait of a Man with a twist—a mask covers his nose and mouth”, Steve says about self-titled “Ladywell Street Art London“. He captured the moment on May 8, 2020, using Nikon D5500. Vitals: f/9, ISO 200, 1/320 sec, 18mm.

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Along Park Blvd

Yesterday afternoon, I walked 1.6 km (1 mile) from the Greyhound depot to the McDonald’s nearby San Diego High School, where my daughter graduated five years ago; my legs needed movement after being too long motionless during the three-hour ride from Long Beach. I had made an overnight-trip to see my niece Lynnae, who was on the West Coast for business.

Soon after the bus exited Interstate 5, I saw the extent of the city’s homeless crisis for the first time. Tents lined several blocks (at least) along what may have been National Avenue. According to the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless, the number of homeless people living unsheltered has increased 41 percent since 2014. There are 937 (recorded) tents, up 58 percent year over year. Data is current as of July.