South Park SD: Burmese Monk Mural

Street artist Shepard Fairey is best known for creating President Barack Obama’s iconic ’08 “Hope” image. In 2010, he painted a 3-story mural on the North wall of the Ivy Street shared-office building in South Park SD.

The work has received more than a little press:

  • In “Tripbucket” here.
  • Click here for a mention in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.
  • Find it here, on the San Diego Tourism’s website under “Art…”.
  • The San Diego Reader posted this on July 24, 2010.
  • On a different medium.


Filmmaker Jason Kantor posted this summary to accompany his YouTube video, Shepard Fairey creating Public’s Ivy Street building mural:

“This South Park, San Diego landmark came about as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art 2010 show, Viva La Revolucion. Fairey, one of today’s most influential graphic artists, was among 20 different artists adding to the urban visual landscape throughout San Diego during the MOCA show. The mural image he created, at Public’s Ivy Street building, 2202 30th St., has become a piece of the neighborhood identity. The clean facade of cement block has become a giant canvas graced with the serene image of a young Buddhist monk, surrounded by detailed gold tapestry. The process is documented with artist interviews & commentary as the building and the neighborhood are enlivened & transformed. If you haven’t seen Public’s Ivy Street building and the mural in South Park, check out this intriguing story & then head over to see it in person. A lasting piece of beauty indeed, including the mural.”

Click here for the full story from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s website.

Click here for a map of the murals to see l’il old South Park SD.


Are you LOVING the writing in this post?

Reader (i.e., You) : No.

Me: May I ask why not?

You: Because until a second ago I was on TripSavvy. I’m only here because the mural looked hip and interesting. I didn’t even think about your writing until now.

Me: Ouch and duly noted. If you want to see an amazing month-by-month tour of Balboa Park’s flowering trees, then check out the Balboa Park in Bloom series. Here’s a sample:

You: Okay, that could be useful next time I’m going to the park. It’ll be nice to know a little about those trees. What else have you got?

Me: If you enjoy psychological satire (think self-help meets Monty Python), then quit digging because you found gold!

You: You’re really overselling this.

Me: That’s useful feedback. Here’s a sample from my series, The Complete Guide to Misery.

You: Okay. But what if I’m just a San Diego local or tourist who’s not into all that craziness? What else have you got for me?

Me: Check out this guide to driving like a San Diegan:

You: Okay, okay. I got it. You think you’re funny. Can we get back to the mural, please?

Me: Sure thing.


I would like to get to know the artist but he’s pretty busy. So the best I could do was put his spoken words into text. The following is a section of Fairey speaking, beginning at 1:11 of the video, of his motivation and perspective:

“So, for me, I’m always inspired to find the solutions, to talk about topics I want to talk about in my work, but put it across in a way that might catch someone’s attention, their imagination and just… make them want to look at the image and look deeper into it because it just struck them on a visual level. In the gut.

This piece is the first all-stencil image, at this scale, that I’ve done… It’s a mixture of painting with rollers and a brush to create the fade but then the primary imagery is created with stencils.

Most of my work, historically, has been done with [we pasted/pasting] up posters or large painted-in images. Because it is usually temporary. This is gonna be permanent, so it was worth the extra effort to paint the entire thing.

I am excited that it’s gonna be something that lasts longer than most of my illegal street art and… I think it’s an important thing for the community to see.. artists who started in the margins, make the transition to being seen as… more legitimate because I think it inspires other creative people to try to take what they’re doing further.”


Now let’s enjoy the mural some more…


If you really want to find a hidden gem, check out this EXCLUSIVE post featuring an eighty-year-old tour of Balboa Park:


Shepard Fairey’s work is stunningly poised.


It is yet another reason to looove South park SD.


Thanks for reading and stay tuned!!

One thought on “South Park SD: Burmese Monk Mural

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s