The installation outside of Mel’s was created by an artist at Local Edition named Masaka. According to the Local Edition website, “the canvas framework was inspired by whimsical 1950’s themed notes tying into the present day. The curvature and canvas layers throughout the art lures viewers in with curiosity as eyes start to wander from one layer to the next. The layers tell a story that is sometimes not conveyed through flat art. The tangible nature of the piece invites you into the artist’s process, build and passion with wonder.”
The artists has extensive experience in woodworking and carving precision from his days as a craftsman and dental technician, respectively. That experience, combined with a background in graffiti, led Masaka to this fusion of cutout pop art.
Local Edition writes that the purpose of the piece outside of Mel’s is to revitalize memories of the downtown Walnut Creek leisure experiences and incorporates landmarks from as far back as 1889, like St. Paul’s Chapel, El Rey Theater, Shadelands Ranch, the Lesher Center, and Century Theaters. Magnificent!
I was stunned by a new mural on the side of Cheap Pete’s downtown the other day, while walking over to La Scala for a coffee. I had to stop and take a few pictures! Lucky for us, one of the brains behind the wonderful artwork provided some insight about the inspiration:
Sage at Local Edition Creative said he conceived the mural concept, which was pained by the agency’s lead artist, David “Hyde” Cho. Sage lives in Walnut Creek and says he wanted to add some more contemporary art that also incorporated something representing a different culture, as a way of indicating that Walnut Creek has a growing, diverse population.
He says: “I chose a Japanese theme for the serenity and beauty that I believed would be well received, as well as playing off the Geishas’ masks in the time of COVID. The statement is the we all wear different masks in our lives and COVID is a physical manifestation of this. The title is “jiko-jitsugen,” and is Japenese for “self-realization.” The basis for the concept of the mural’s meaning was jiko-jitsugen – or, that each person has three faces: one they show to the world, one they show to their family, and one they show to no one.”
How cool is that? Thank you so much to Sage and Local Edition for reaching out to me and providing the extra information and for blessing that blank wall downtown with amazing artwork that we can all enjoy! What a great message! Local Edition also created a small mural next to Mel’s downtown, which I will share on a later blog.
According to the Local Edition website, this mural came about through the Walnut Creek REBOUND program that fast-tracked existing city money to help small businesses with parklets, new art installations, and other crucial things to keep people engaged during the hardships of COVID-19. Now that we are back to partially being open, I hope those reading this will take some time to go downtown, support our local business’ and take a walk past the mural, or maybe on your way to the farmers market on Sunday!
Walnut Creek has one of the most amazing ongoing public art projects a city can have and another one has just been completed. Strolling through Duncan Arcade downtown (the covered passageway that connects Main to Locust by the Amplify Barber Shop), I was thrilled to see some beautiful murals on the walls!
Bay Area-based artists Velia De Iuliis, Cannon Dill, Casey Gray, Sirron Norris, and Ricky Watts are responsible for the art and did so in partnership with Walnut Creek Public Art. The murals were described by Bedford Gallery as “dynamic and colorful,” and that description really nails it.
As for the future, the city plans to rotate murals regularly, to give new artists a chance to participate in the project. For now, I’d highly recommend making a detour next time you’re wandering downtown to see these murals.
This visually improved the walkthrough from Main to Locust! Check out the shops along the way, Norf London always has fun items, and now there is a photography venue focusing on baby pictures.
How cool is this idea? There’s a Public Art Scavenger Hunt in downtown Walnut Creek now, where you can start at Civic Park and finish at Lesher Center for the Arts. It’s an easy, fun course that is only about a mile in total, and allows you to see a lot of the great local art that I like to feature on this blog (check out my Art Town blogs for more)!
You can find all the art by reading clues, and all of it is outside. What a perfect activity to do to get outside, social distance, get some exercise, and learn a little bit about our town’s art scene. Starting this month, and going until February, you can also enter to win a monthly drawing when you finish the scavenger hunt – an iPad will be given to a winner in February!
If you do the scavenger hunt, make sure to call the numbers on the plaques to hear more about the artwork you’re looking at. Also, if you take pictures along the way, make sure to use hashtags on social media of #walnutcreekpublicart, #walnutcreektogether, and #walnutcreekcreatestogether.
I did this last weekend with my friend Rebecca, it was during our recent heat wave, but we stayed masked stopped at Starbucks for a cool drink and had a nice day catching up. I’ve seen and blogged about most of the local, public artwork at this point (see some of my favorites in the slideshow above), but it’s one of the great joys of living in Walnut Creek – getting to see art all over the place, and watching as certain areas transform because of those works!
We ended our scavenger hunt with pictures at the new “Walnut Creek Together” mural by artist Ally McKay is on Cypress Street which is a symbol of Walnut Creek emerging from the aftermath of the pandemic into a new and changed world. It makes for a fun photo opportunity and post to social media.
Let me know if you do the scavenger hunt or find the Walnut Creek Together mural. Get out there and enjoy all that beautiful Walnut Creek has to offer us!
I was recently in Danville for an appointment but first had to stop by the post office. And there, at the entrance into the parking lot, was a cute polka- dot heart by artist Lisa Hoffman #16. I saw two, without having to look, the second one #14 is by Suzanne Gale and you can tell where it is located. As you know, I regularly comment on the thriving arts program in downtown Walnut Creek and was interested to find Danville was hopping on the bandwagon.
This summer, the Town of Danville is inviting its residents and visitors to discover 17 uniquely adorned heart sculptures placed all around downtown (I just gave you the link to the map, but maybe you do a scavenger hunt trying to find all 17). The public art exhibition will be installed mid-June and run through October 16.
Each heart sculpture is unique, with each design created by a different Bay Area artist. Some of the hearts boast a Danville theme, with imagery ranging from oak trees to Mount Diablo. Others incorporate playful designs and motifs. With an array of styles and subject matters represented, from traditional to contemporary, this outdoor exhibition is not to be missed.
The exhibition will come to a close with an online auction. All proceeds from the online auction will go to a public art fund so that the Town can coordinate another public art project for all to experience in the future.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to take a run in my neighborhood. I got about 10 yards from my house running with my sunglasses on, before I stepped into a small hole I hadn’t seen, caught the edge with my toe, and fell flat on my face. Not my proudest moment!
Anyway, after a zoom video with my doctor, she recommended an X-Ray, so off to John Muir I went. It wasn’t really a pleasant reason for meandering around the John Muir Hospital campus, but I ended up catching some pretty cool art.
I love this blue, meandering line of glass depicting a river that starts at the waterfall rock. When I first started writing this blog, I did a quick picture to ask if people could guess where it is, but decided it was better to go more in-depth. It really is a peaceful place to sit and take a lunch or a reprieve from a sick or dying family member’s situation.
The hospital’s namesake, John Muir, also has a statue in the roundabout of the campus. I took a few shots of that as well! Visits to the hospital aren’t really something people look forward to, but props to John Muir for decking out the area with some serene artwork to make it a better experience!
I love venturing out to our little downtown art gallery and seeing the new exhibits every couple of months. The current one on view is titled The Great Wave, and it is all contemporary ocean-themed art. Much of it is also climate change-related, created out of ocean plastics and debris.
Here are some photos from the exhibit:
Two of my favorites were the woman crouching (see above), as that was created all out of plastic found in the ocean. The picture above that shows a bunch of small Buddha heads – the artist did a project where he buried those heads in the sand at beaches and let the natural erosion of the waves unveil them.
The cost to get in is $5 adult tickets, $3 youth (13-17) tickets, and FREE tickets for those 12 and under. The first Tuesday of every month is free and they also coordinate some sort of art work for kids on that free Tuesday. I love that we have such a great arts community and to quote Oscar Wilde: Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
The exhibit was inspired by Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave,” which is recognized across cultures as a symbol of the unpredictable power of the ocean.
The Great Wave exhibit at Bedford will be there through March 22. Be sure to check it out before then!
I’ve seen this little “fossil” artwork on the side of the ceramics building in Civic Park a few times before, but I still don’t know much about it! I think it looks cool, especially given its placement on that building in particular. Does anyone know anything about it? Send me a message!
With so much changing around downtown Walnut Creek at any given moment, it’s sometimes nice to reflect on the places that have been around for years. One of those places is the J. Rockliff real estate building at the corner of N. Main and Civic.
You’d recognize the building by its brick-on-brick look. It sits right across Civic from City Hall and diagonally across from La Scala. It almost looks like a mini-brick castle. Anyway, they have fountains out front that I never stopped to look at before, and they are gorgeous!
The fountains complement the property and the real eye-catcher is the wrought-iron statue in the middle, perched atop a mosaic base. It’s quite mesmerizing up close!
Take a minute to recognize an old classic in Walnut Creek next time you’re in the area. With buildings and blocks changing all the time, it is nice to see something stay the same.
The other day, I was wandering in downtown Walnut Creek and had to do a double-take as I passed a spot I’d seen a thousand times before. In that spot, there was a wildly painted piano with a sign saying “play me!”
I’m not sure exactly when this art installation was put in place, but it’s really cool! There are eight pianos around downtown all painted different colors. They are really eye-catching, and all of them invite people to play on them.
Check out this article for a little more background on the project. It looks like the project is called “Painted Pianos” and they were donated by Steinway Piano Gallery and hand-painted by local artists. They will be out there for the public to play until Oct. 18.
Additionally, there will be some live performances by special guests every Tuesday from 12-1 p.m. (September 10, 17, 24 & October 1, 8, 15) from 12-1 pm at three locations: 1655 N. Main St., 1501 Locust St., and 1328 N. Main St. The goal of the project is to bring community members together to create a musical memory! I love this! Take your lunch, walk downtown, and enjoy some music!