Category Archives: Public art

Ten Ocean Beach murals

Out & About

When you come to San Diego, make time to visit the neighborhood of Ocean Beach.

It’s an eclectic neighborhood that seems to be stuck in the late 1960s, but they love their murals, which are everywhere, from the sides of buildings to utility boxes on the street corners.

Following are ten Ocean Beach building murals. You can click on them to get a huger picture.

img_0176-0181 mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0110-0113 ocean beach mural panorama 1200

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0117-01121 ocean beach mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0128-0132 mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0133-0136 mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0137-0141 mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0145-0151 mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0153-0156 mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0157-0160 mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0166-0168 mural panorama 1800

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Ocean Beach mural

Picture of the Moment

San Diego has more murals than any place I’ve ever been, and Ocean Beach is, by far, the most mural-friendly neighborhood of San Diego.

It’s a neighborhood that seems stuck, happily, in the late 1960s, so if you need to relive that time of your life, just come to San Diego, call me to be your docent for the day, and we’ll have some fun.

Here is one mural that I found recently:

IMG_0187 ocean beach mural

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Newport Avenue Optometry occupies the building while that specific parking lot is for customers of USA Gasoline.

I guess if one can’t read the TOW AWAY sign, one can always walk right in to Newport Avenue Optometry and have the problem taken care of….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocean Beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#4: Presidio of San Diego site, part 1

San Diego Historical Landmarks

San Diego Historical Landmark #4 is the site of the Presidio of San Diego.

Presidio of San Diego site

San Diego Presidio Site
Soldiers, sailors, Indians, and Franciscan missionaries from New Spain occupied the land at Presidio Hill on May 17, 1769 as a military outpost. Two months later, Fr. Junipero Serra established the first San Diego mission on Presidio Hill. Officially proclaimed a Spanish Presidio on January 1, 1774, the fortress was later occupied by a succession of Mexican forces. The Presidio was abandoned in 1837 after San Diego became a pueblo.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Only ruins of the Presidio remain, simple bumps in the ground:

Site of the Presidio of San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A walk around the surround grounds finds many items of interest, such as a statue of “The Indian” by Arthur Putnam (1873-1930)….

The Indian, by Arthur Puinam, in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….a statue of “The Padre,” also by Arthur Putnam….

"The Padre" by Arthur Putnam in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

….and a hugemonstergiganticreallyreallybig cross made out of bricks:

The Cross in Presidio Park in San Diego California

The Cross in Presidio Park in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wouldn’t it be neat if we discovered that the bricks are from an old building in the area? Sadly, I could find nothing about the cross other than what is told on a plaque at the base:

In this ancient Indian village of Cosoy
Discovered and named San Miguel by Cabrillo in 1549
Visited and christened San Diego de Alcala by Vizcaino in 1602
Here the first citizen
Fray Junipero Serra
Planted civilization in California
Here he first raised the cross. Here began the first mission.
Here founded the first town, San Diego, July 16, 1769
In memory of him and his works. The Order of Panama 1913.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Just across the street from the ruins of the Presidio is the Junípero Serra Museum, one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego.

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Junípero Serra Museum is often mistaken for Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá—indeed, for many years, I counted myself among the mistaken.

The Serra Museum was built in 1928-1929 for the purpose of housing the collection of the San Diego Historical Society (now named the San Diego History Center), which was founded in 1928. William Templeton Johnson was the architect and used Spanish Revival architecture to resemble the early missions that once dominated the Southern California landscape.

Following are three pictures from the Museum’s collection of the Museum in 1929:

Architect’s elevation drawingElevation of the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Project completedJunipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dedication DayDedication day of the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Prior to the Great Recession, the Museum was open seven days a week. Now, sadly, it is open only on weekends.

There are other markers from the past, and I’m sure I missed some because they are located in strange places, places which probably weren’t so strange many decades ago. An example is this tree, possibly as old as the ruins:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

See the crooked gravestone-like marker at the right of the trunk? Obviously I had to go see what it said:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Dedicated in memory of
Father Francisco Palou
Biographer of Fr. Serra

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I also discovered a huge statue of a man on a horse:

Presidio Hill in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The plaque on the base is in Spanish:

DONADO A LA CIUDAD DE SAN DIEGO
POR EL SEÑOR LICENSIADO
GUSTAVO DIAZ ORDAZ
PRESIDENTE DE LA REPUBLICA MEXICANA
NOVIEMBRE DE 1970

Wikipedia tells me that Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (1911-1979) was president of Mexico from 1964 to 1970. That, however, doesn’t explain anything about this statue and why it is there. Research for another day….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I said earlier, the Junípero Serra Museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays. I went a couple of weeks ago, and in my next posting about San Diego Historical Landmarks, I’ll take you inside the Museum. It’s quite beautiful and should not be missed if you make a trip to Presidio Hill.

The San Diego Presidio Site is also California Registered Historic Landmark #59. Considering that this is where California was founded, what 58 sites could be more important?

Junipero Sera Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

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I won’t walk on it

Picture of the Moment

As I continue to create works of Photographic Art, I find myself gaining a great appreciation of art of all kinds, even art that previously I didn’t particularly care for—Yoko Ono comes immediately to mind.

One thing I know, though, is that I could never walk on art, so when I find walkway art, I tend to walk around it and take pictures while everyone else is walking on it.

Such as these two pieces, found in the walkway at the Scripps Ranch branch of the San Diego Library:

Sidewalk snake art

Sidewalk lizard art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The work of Ricardo Breceda of Borrego Springs CA

Out & About

When I went to Palm Springs in mid-August, one of my goals was to see the statues of prehistoric wildlife in Borrego Springs (see A short visit to Galleta Meadows).

Little did I know then that the guy who created the statues, Ricardo Breceda, lives in Borrego Springs and sells much smaller statues to common people like me.

Following are some of the smaller statues that I found exhibited on properties throughout the area, and some for sale at a business.

Longhorn cow Mountain lion Desert buffalo Desert bighorn sheep Porker grill

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Breceda’s work celebrates the history and culture of Southern California, the desert environment, and pure fantasy.

Breceda originally is from Durango, Mexico. One day he made a dinosaur statue for his daughter, and the rest, as they say, is history. Breceda eventually met Dennis Avery, owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs.  Avery had the vision of using his land as an enormous outdoor art gallery, and it became home to Breceda’s artwork featuring prehistoric and fantasy creatures.

I now know that there are over 150 of the larger statues scattered throughout the Anza-Borrego desert. I only saw 27 of them. I am trying to find a complete list, and a map of their locations, and when I do…………. ROAD TRIP!

The chase

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I’m on my way right now!

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat and I are going to stay with the larger-than-life theme that we seem to have going right now.

After I graduated from Texas A&M University, I spent a lot of time representing my fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity. One of the chapters that I represented was at Texas Lutheran College; it is located in Seguin, home of the world’s largest pecan.

World's largest pecan

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That was the largest edible roadside attraction I had ever seen until I got to San Diego. Just south of where I live in La Mesa is the city of Lemon Grove, where they claim to have the best climate on Earth.

Lemon Grove, California, welcome sign

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m thinking “No.” as to the best climate on Earth, but it’s something one cannot prove one way or another. After all, some people think International Falls, Minnesota, has the best climate on Earth….

Lemon Grove was settled in 1869 but didn’t incorporate as a city until 1977. The 2010 census found a population of 25,320, in a city of just 3.88 miles, making Lemon Grove a densely populated city of 6,500 people per square mile (ppsm)! Not quite New York City with its 27,778 ppsm, but higher than San Diego with 4,003 ppsm.

From the early part of the 20th Century to the late ’70s or so, Lemon Grove was a city of lemon groves…. Hence the name. Oranges and avocados also were popular, but lemons were the cash crop. Sadly, there’s not a single lemon grove left in Lemon Grove due to the continued overpopulation of the Earth and the need for houses, restaurants, stores, and gas stations…………

Lemon Grove is, however, where you can find the world’s largest lemon:

The world's largest lemon

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Located at 3361 Main Street, adjacent to the tracks for the Orange Line of the San Diego Trolley, the world’s largest lemon is about ten feet wide and six feet tall. There are a dozen lemon trees planted behind the lemon but they never appear very healthy, probably due to that intersection being one of the busiest in East San Diego County. Imagine trying to produce lemons in the midst of car exhaust fumes, tire rubber, brake dust, oil fumes, gas fumes, cigarette butts….

When I was researching the lemon, I found a tourist site providing address, directions, and hours. Under hours, it said “Always visible (Call to verify).” Under what conditions might something not be visible when it is ten feet long and six feet high. No phone number was listed so who do you call to verify visibility? I can imagine the phone call:

“Hello! This is the City of Lemon Grove. How may I help you?”

“This is Russel Ray. I’m a tourist. I’d like to come see the world’s largest lemon. Is it visible right now?”

“Oh, I’m sorry sir. For that information you’ll need to speak with the Lemon Grove Tourist Bureau. I’ll connect you.”

“Thank you.”

“City of Lemon Grove Tourist Bureau. How may I help you?”

“I’m a tourist in town from La Mesa. I’d like to come see the world’s largest lemon. My tourist book says to call to verify that it is visible. So is it?”

“Well, sir. The world’s largest lemon is ten feet wide and six feet tall. Since Lemon Grove has the best climate on Earth, even better than La Mesa, I suspect that it is visible all the time.
I have lived and worked in Lemon Grove for 21 years and we have not experienced any phenomena that have prevented visibility. Well, except at night when the street light at that corner is not working.
So I would have to say, ‘Yes, it is visible right now, and probably still will be visible when you get here…. Unless we get the big one or the second coming of Christ, and then all bets are off as to whether the world’s largest lemon will even still be here, much less visible.’ ”

“Thank you! You’ve been very helpful! I’m on my way right now!”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Meet Mr. Cowboy from North Shore, California

Picture of the Moment

Along with seeing Southern California’s Abominable Snowman recently, I discovered a larger than life figure that I did not know about: Mr. Cowboy (I named him). Looks like this:

Norrth Shore Cowboy

In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Cowboy was in front of a dilapidated country store and next to a huge dumpster. Wasn’t a pretty picture. The whole north and east side of the Salton Sea was really depressing because of all the abandoned real estate and such.

I removed Mr. Cowboy from the original picture, placed him in a picture with a tall cactus to give him some height perspective, and then put some rocks and plants around his feet to mask the concrete and trash originally there.

Thus, that Photographic Art creation is actually a merging of three pictures. Ya just can’t trust me….

Mr Cowboy location

See location on Google maps

copy-image002.jpg

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