Downtown Graffiti

Silver Mural 5
Yesterday afternoon, I was walking around downtown after leaving work at the language school when I decided to take some pictures. It has been a while since I’ve actively snapped pictures and shared them. I’ve taken so many pictures of Downtown San Diego that I was starting to think that there was nothing left for me to see. However, when I was walking back and forth between the language school’s two campuses, I saw the grafitti on the walls of the old California Theatre building and wanted to take them. Unfortunately, I had no camera on me, so I more than made up for it yesterday.

I took close to 100 photos. It had been so long that my picture taking felt like a binge.Then again, I’ve had similar feelings regarding my music files, various Mac applications, and the other things I used to to, that feeling of having my life back.

I had to take pictures of the silver mural on the west side of the decrepit California Theatre building. Just when urban graffiti seems utterly passé, especially in a cleaned up, gentrified downtown San Diego, someone or some people made some artful murals in the Core District. That the California Theatre has been forever condemned as a building and that no property owner or developer has ever done anything about it made the once glorious theatre a fair target.

Silver Mural 1

Silver Mural - North End

As I tried to frame the silver mural in a shot, a transit police man on his way to the 3rd & C Trolley stop briefly asked me if I liked the graffiti. His tone wasn’t unfriendly, but it implied a moral judgment, as if I the photographer approved of the illicit activity. I hedged my answer, saying I found it interesting. He then said the mural wouldn’t be up there for that much longer and then went to the trolley stop.


This was an interesting drawing found on the northwest corner of the California Theatre building.

Yellow Mural 3The yellow mural on the south side of the California Building, along the C Street Corridor, appears to have been done by the same artist(s).

Back Door of $5 store on C Street

This is some dirty graffiti found on the back door of the $5 Store on C Street. C Street is some of the few pockets of grittiness in an otherwise cleaned-up Downtown San Diego.

Broken Circle


Going through the Core District, the lovely financial and civic center of Downtown San Diego, I saw the broken circle, which is stenciled in several spots on the sidewalk, and “Troll.”

4th Avenue Graffiti 10

On these protective wooden walkways surrounding construction sites, naturally anyone with a promotional poster gravitates to them. They also attract the graffiti artists, as seen with these drawings catty corner from St. Joseph’s Cathedral in the Cortez District.

To answer that trolley cop, I suppose I find graffiti fascinating because it is so uncharacteristically San Diego. While DIY murals and tagging have existed in this city for a long time, it runs contrary to the image San Diego wants to portray of itself. It’s not attractive to people who want to spend tons of money on Downtown condos or vacation time shares. Suburbanites, who make up a majority of San Diegans, definitely don’t like them. No doubt they like the homeless who sit in front of Horton Plaza and spots here and there in Downtown much less, but graffiti is much easier to deal with.

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