La Jolla Community Foundation ramps up ‘Murals of La Jolla’ with three new installations

More Murals of La Jolla:

By Pat Sherman

The La Jolla Community Foundation (LJCF) is adding three new works to its “Murals of La Jolla” project, an acclaimed assemblage of public artworks located throughout La Jolla Village. The additions include works by internationally renowned artists Julian Opie, Fred Tomaselli and Gajin Fujita.

Mural No. 9: ‘Walking in the City 1 and 2’

Opie’s two-sided installation, “Walking in the City 1 and 2,” went up atop La Jolla Independent BMW Service in Bird Rock on April 20.

Opie’s brightly colored graphic portraits feature the British artist’s trademark animated pedestrian figures — a perfect fit for a neighborhood that has in recent years become a thriving, walk-able community.

“It’s very graphic, very legible from a distance,” utilizing “bright colors and crisp images,” said LJCF selection committee member Lynda Forsha, a former curator with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and public art director with the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

A part of the New British Sculpture movement, Opie’s paintings and sculpture have been shown around the world, including galleries in Mumbai, Milan and Munich. More than a dozen of his works are in the collection of the Tate Modern Gallery in London.

He designed an album cover for the British pop band Blur, and an LED projection for U2’s Vertigo tour.

Forsha said Opie personally oversaw the production of his murals in London.

“It’s the first time we’ve worked with someone out of the country,” she said. “Because he really understands the (public art) process, he wanted to make sure that he was involved every step of the way.”

Mural No. 10: ‘Expecting to Fly for The Zeros’

On April 22, a mural by Brooklyn-based artist Fred Tomaselli, “Expecting to Fly for The Zeros,” was installed on the AT&T building on Torrey Pines Road, near the intersection of Girard Avenue.

The mural pays homage to Chula Vista Latin punk rock band, The Zeros, which formed in 1976 and were honored for “lifetime achievement” at the 2009 San Diego Music Awards.

Born in Santa Monica, Tomaselli is best known for his finely detailed paintings on wood panels, which suspend unorthodox materials in clear, epoxy resin.

A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, Tomaselli was one of the first artists associated with the 1980s art scene of downtown Los Angeles. While some Murals of La Jolla have been tucked away on side streets, both the Opie and Tomaselli installations are located in prominent locations.

“You won’t miss these,” Forsha promised. “They’re on major thoroughfares. They’re going to be much more visually accessible to the public.”

Mural No. 11: ‘Tail Whip’

In the coming weeks, a third mural, “Tail Whip,” by Silver Lake graffiti artist Gajin Fujita, will be installed in the 7500 block of Fay Avenue, adjacent to Rubio’s restaurant.

Fujita blends Eastern techniques (anime, partitioned screens) and mythology (geishas, warriors) with Western, urban imagery (Latino graffiti, U.S. pop culture).

Speaking with the

La Jolla Light

, Fujita said he hopes his “urban dragon” will serve as bridge between old and new, east and west for La Jolla viewers.

“I think public art really breaks (down) stereotypes and stigmas,” said Fujita, noting the oft-negative connotations associated with graffiti art.

“Even when people tell me something about graffiti, I don’t right away think of something positive, but I think when it becomes a mural it breaks those boundaries,” he said.

Look for a photograph of Fujita’s mural in an upcoming issue of the

La Jolla Light

, following its unveiling. Fujita’s “Tail Whip” will replace “Surf’s Up,” by Anya Gallaccio, the first of the murals to be rotated out since the project’s inception three years ago.

“They’re temporary artworks — and that’s sort of the beauty of it; it’s always changing,” Forsha said of the murals, intended to be up a minimum two years each.

The first two murals, by Roy McMakin and Kim MacConnel, were painted directly on their sites. Subsequent works have been printed on vinyl and installed on billboard-like structures.

The murals are funded via private donations to the La Jolla Community Foundation, under the umbrella of the San Diego Foundation.

Selection committee member Mark Quint, owner of Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla, said because the project is privately funded and the works appear on private property, the committee has more creative license in its choices than city-approved public art. “It’s what’s made this refreshing,” Quint said. “It’s a good example of what can be done.”