South Park SD: Beautiful San Diego!

A Target store stares greedily across its football field of a parking lot at The Big Kitchen, which leans, politically speaking, slightly to the left of Karl Marx.

The buildings’ adjacent spots, at the elbowed intersections of Fern and Grape Streets, represent the tension of this neighborhood’s history. Artists, musicians, and those on the fringes made their homes in South Park SD for decades before it became a realtor’s dream. Read more from the San Diego Reader here.

Across the street from The Big Kitchen are a liquor store and The Alano Club, both mentioned in an earlier post.

Corporate power and community sharing.

Alcohol promotions and sobriety.

In the midst of all that tension, you’ll find this:

Welcome to the first contributed piece by Beautiful San Diego (BSD), a non-profit of local artists, started in 2019 to donate murals to San Diego communities.

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San Diego artist, and BSD founder, Aleck Christian painted the mural over two and a half days.

“Long” days.

Based on the mural and BSD website alone, looks to me like the artist inhabits a world of strong passions and declarative statements.

So I imagine him wearing himself out on this piece ’til the late evening, sleeping fitfully, dreams intruded on by images turning and glinting for his attention, and waking up early, itching to get after it again.

Then sleeping for 36 hours after the entire work was finished.

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Christian provided perspective via email.

About fonts as a representation of this village’s residents:

  • “The ‘welcome’ typeface represented the tattoo and alternative culture that embodies the population here.  
  • [The word PARK] used the filigree style to illustrate an element of class!  — just because we’re alternative, doesn’t mean we’re ignorant! Let’s give ourselves some credit!”

About South Park SD’s rise to hip status:

  • “The seemingly carelessly placed hanging ‘south’ was an attempt at illustrating the obscure nature of the way our neighborhood suddenly became ‘cool’ in a city that had never payed much attention to it.”

About his bold hues:

  • “The color scheme is one that I use in a lot of my art.  The teal/gold/burgundy mix is something I’ve been working with for the last couple years… it grabs ahold of the viewer.”

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Let’s enjoy more of Beautiful San Diego’s inaugural work.

I love that the strands holding “SOUTH” so nicely match the actual wire across the wall!
If you’ve got a wire there anyway, why not be inspired by it?

BSD’s mission is to create something new, sustainable, progressive, and most of all, challenging. To give their communities works of art that represent the artists’ unique expression. Pieces that stand out and can’t be found anywhere else! (www.bsdmurals.com)

I’d say mission accomplished.

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It looks like an urban landscape to me.

“Welcome” comes from the heavens. Emerged and fully-formed in the mist and clouds.

On the bottom end, the foundation, is the sponsorship group. Makes sense artistically and economically. Without some financial backing that mural probably wouldn’t be there.

Just above the bedrock is earth, as represented by “PARK” and the ornate growth around it. If I look loosely enough I see flames climbing the park.

And somewhere between the soil and sky, tethered to a structure, is “South”.

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Something has always bothered me about it. (Why do I have the feeling Aleck loves reading that? Why am I typing in parentheses as though the artist “can’t hear” my written aside?)

I don’t know art or design, but I’m guessing middle-middle is an important spot in a piece.

The “U” at this mural’s heart is dangling and, due to the laws of physics, appropriately tilted.

“U”.

You.

“U” are here.

“U” are off-kilter.

“U” are hanging by a thread.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels that way when I’m honest with myself.

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And now for a word from BSD’s sponsors. Yeah, if your company supports local artists, you, too, can get a cheap picture on my $%!^ty-little blog.

An attorney?!? Nice marketing, BSD!

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You can see more of Aleck Christian’s work and the BSD movement on Instagram:

@bsd_murals

@aleck_christian

And in case you missed it earlier… http://www.bsdmurals.com

Listen here for a podcast interview with Aleck and Carla Ricci, both representing Beautiful San Diego.

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I’m glad BSD stepped strongly into the space. It is exactly the boldly welcoming position I hope South Park SD adopts more broadly.

And it is yet another reason to looove this neighborhood.

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Thanks for reading and stay tuned!!

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