Painting the Town
A look into the past, present and future of San Diego street art
Written by Christine Pasalo // Design by Brandie Mata // Photos by Teresa Hernandez
Invader, Shepard Fairey, Os Gêmeos: These are just a few of the internationally known street artists showcasing their work on structures in San Diego. Their pieces can be seen in Downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, East Village and Little Italy; in the neighborhoods of Normal Heights, North Park and South Park; and even in La Jolla.
To understand why they’ve chosen to become a part of San Diego’s diverse urban art landscape, one must first look back a little more than 30 years ago. The 1980s are often regarded as the decade San Diego’s street art movement began to take shape. Whether it was the NO ART stencil of a Palomar College art and photography student known as Saint Marko or the colorful lettering and characters of graffiti writers (and kings) like Quasar, Sake, Zodak and Dyse, it was equal parts talent and rebelliousness that made the everyday business owner, and occasional city official, pay attention to the voices of these pioneers. Over time, that attention morphed into appreciation and an understanding that these artists were doing something positive, something that could enhance the city, and if given the avenue to bring their art from the underground to the light of day, these artists wouldn’t disappoint.
Maintaining the stage set by such legends are San Diego artists Persue, whose mentorship by Quasar during the 1980s helped him establish a style and an aesthetic that would heavily influence the skateboarding industry in the 1990s; Gloria “Glow” Muriel, whose solo pieces and collaborations with renowned artists including Persue inject a feminine fluidity and a holistic emotional power to the San Diego street art scene; and Monty Montgomery and Jason Feather of Kreashun, whose work over the past three years has consistently taken center stage at a variety of design and fashion events, including PROJECT MVMNT and POOLTRADESHOW of the fashion trade show giant MAGIC.
Persue, Glow and Kreashun represent a small sample of the talented artists in San Diego today, inspiring those who visit and live in America’s Finest City to look beyond the purpose of a wall as a boundary maker and consider the murals on it as boundary breakers. Unlike a gallery, there are no rules to view art in the street, no timeframe, no need for hushed tones. Their art is simply there to shake us, confuse us, make us smile, make us wonder, and make us feel.
To read the full article about San Diego’s Street Art scene, CLICK HERE and turn to page 134.