Murals of La Jolla: Latest installation is ode to preciousness of water

The new, untitled mural by Sandra Cinto is at 7835 Ivanhoe Ave.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The latest work in the Murals of La Jolla public art program explores what the artist calls “the language of drawing.” It’s a black-and-white, untitled, hypnotic drawing and it replaces Kelsey Brookes’ psychedelic “One Pointed Attention” at 7835 Ivanhoe Ave.

In creating the mural, Brazil-based gymnast-turned-artist Sandra Cinto said she was inspired by La Jolla’s proximity to the ocean, so she imagined something “immersive” to contribute to the murals program.

“I discovered that the ocean and the waves are an important part of La Jolla’s landscape,” she explained, “so I decided to create another kind of landscape and make it by drawing without colors ... just black and white and shades of gray. My idea was to create an immersive experience inside the drawing, so when people go near the work, they’ll see forms with different shadows, and when people view it from a distance, they’ll see the whole composition.”

Focusing on the influence of water, Cinto added: “It’s so important to think about the power of nature and how to preserve it. I’ve been working for years on the subject of water ... such a precious element. We cannot live without water. In all religions, it is a symbol of passage and renewal. When we are inside our mothers, we are in water. Unfortunately, water is something we are not taking care of, we are using it up.”

And when it came to conveying her message to the masses, public art provided the perfect platform.

“I consider it an honor to be a part of this project,” Cinto said. “It’s very important to put art on the street and introduce it to people so they can have an encounter that may start something different and new within them or develop their curiosity.”

Educated at the Universidade de Sao Paulo, Cinto said she has been making art for almost 30 years. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries in her native Brazil, as well as in Japan, Spain, Portugal, Colombia, France and Russia — and in Florida, here in the States.

Artist Sandra Cinto Courtesy

“Drawing is my main language and I want to expand that language,” she told the Light. “Everyone can use that language. When we are children, we all draw. But when we grow up and become adults, people stop drawing. For me, drawing is like speaking, it’s a very important expression because it’s a simple language. You don’t need money to draw. I hope to introduce this concept to the community. I want people to join me in this journey of drawing.”

But before she habitually took pen to paper, it was body to mat, baton in hand. For a decade in her youth, she practiced rhythmic gymnastics and said she was inspired by how the body moves and interacts with objects. That further inspired her to look at how art could interact with its surroundings, so it should come as no surprise she would soon explore public installations.

“I started with paintings and then installations, which allowed me to play with architecture and expand drawings,” Cinto said. “I try to create art that is very open to everyone. I believe each person will have a different experience looking at my work. It all depends on their age, their background and history. The La Jolla mural is a very open piece, so everyone can have different experience with it.”

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library advisory committee member Derrick Cartwright said he recommended Cinto for a mural, having worked with her in Seattle in 2010 on a public art project. “I was so impressed with what she was doing with public spaces,” he said. “I’m excited to see how her work will look on a big scale. She’s an artist that is up to challenging a community with imagery.”

Speaking about Cinto’s mural for La Jolla, Cartwright added: “It’s very immersive in this oceanic form and you could be psychologically set adrift in this compilation.”

On a personal note, he called Cinto “one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” and stated that her volunteer efforts in art are “a tribute to who she is as a person.”

Cartwright said the La Jolla Murals program is “another feather in La Jolla’s cap. It serves our community, as well as all the folks who visit here for a day. So long as we keep inviting artists of this caliber, people are going to be surprised and entertained. San Diego can’t have enough good public art.”

Did you know? The Murals of La Jolla program was created in 2010 by the La Jolla Community Foundation and subsequently relinquished to the care of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, which oversees the program and hosts free, guided walking tours in the summer.

There are currently 15 murals in place around town, funded solely by private donations. For more information, visit

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