Earlier this year, before the coronavirus lockdown, I planned a self-guided tour of the Murals of La Jolla, California. Even if you don’t live in the San Diego area, you can “visit” them in this seaside town, albeit virtually. The Murals of La Jolla project commissions art by both well-known and lesser known artists based in California. Murals such as my favorite Man, Myth, and Magic by Steven Hull (above) bring art to the the buildings and community.
Because the murals change, check out the current map to plan your own walking tour.
I first encountered Suns by Victoria Fu and Byron Kim during an unrelated walk, and it prompted me to research the other murals in this beach town. Once I found the link to the site and its map, my husband and I set off to see as many as we could.
You could be forgiven if you think at first that All That It Proves is just a sign. Located at 7744 Fay Avenue, this mural by Marcos Ramirez Erre mimics an eye chart to invite the viewer closer as the powerful words get smaller.
Playing La Jolla (for all it’s worth), located at 7611 Fay Avenue, overlooks a parking lot. I love that this photographic collage by Terry Allen merges La Jolla’s ocean with its musical arts.
I wish I could have gotten closer to Alex Katz‘s Bill 2 to take a better photograph. Unfortunately, a rainy afternoon and traffic got in the way. I had planned to return but did not. If you want to see better detail (on a sunny day), you’ll have to visit the Mural of Jolla website for mural.
My second favorite mural, Expecting to Fly (for the Zeros) by Fred Tomaselli, probably no longer exists, so you’ll have to enjoy it here. It went up in 2013 at 7569 Girard.
To find the satirical Tear Stains Be Gone by Jean Lowe at 7661 Girard Ave., we had to search. Finally, we discovered it around the corner and overlooking a small parking lot.
From the most difficult to find to the easiest: You’ll find Raul Guerrero‘s Raymond Chandler at the Whaling Bar at 1162 Prospect St. This eye-catching mural of La Jolla can be seen by anyone walking down the main drag.
Kota Ezawa‘s Once Upon a Time in the West overlays architect Louis Kahn’s portrait over the Salk Institute. A celebration of La Jolla’s contributions to science and architecture, this mural draws in your eye and doesn’t let go until it reaches the Pacific Ocean.
Technically not a part of the Mural of La Jolla project, this triptych faces Kota Ezawa’s mural, at the opposite side of the parking lot. It announces the newly opened Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. I like that it adds the performing arts to Ezawa’s tribute to science.
This enormous mural by John Baldesarri can be best viewed from the restaurant Georges Level 2, although you can also see it from the beach. Its title, Brain/Cloud (With Seascape and Palm Tree) explains it all. Although the official address is 1250 Prospect St., you cannot see it from the road.
In quiet La Jolla, sometimes you must find your own things to do, particularly in January. Yes, you can walk the beach, and yes, you can shop. Creating your own walking tour to view the murals of La Jolla can provide yet another thing to do. We found it much like a scavenger hunt. Arm yourself with the most recent map, and explore.
Debbie Lee Wesselmann