Art. The creative spawn of our souls, often overlooked in our time-crunched, Instagram, selfie-shooting culture. Our over-programmed brains become so obsessed with releasing and retweeting information, we often shut out the visual world residing just outside our cellphones.
Do we look up from our text and wonder who created the painting behind the mixologist at the bar, the larger-than-life mural on the way to work, or the lights above our table at the hottest new restaurant? If not, let's start. Like the incredible renaissance of cocktails and craft beer in San Diego, it's time for that next creative step with art.
With the rise of thoughtfully designed cocktail bars, restaurants and nightclubs, San Diego artists are finding their path to the public in exciting ways and turning out blisteringly good work. Here are six artists to get your creative juices flowing around town, while having a cocktail, a bite to eat, a stroll downtown, or a spin on the dance floor:
Jason Feather: Between running a print and clothing shop, Gallery AKA (Art Kills Artists), and creating large-scale masterpieces for local restaurants and clubs, Feather literally lives and breathes art. Find his work at the popular sushi restaurant/bar/nightclub Bang Bang, where he created the gigantic lanterns, or cut a techno rug next to his large mural in Bassmnt, a nightclub on Fourth Avenue. Go to artkillsartists.com to shop and become a part of the movement.
Chris Konecki: Ever wondered who designed that big green 707 over downtown? Move in closer and you will discover a stunning oasis of murals on an urban parking structure at 707 Broadway. Gaze upon gargantuan figures in a rainbow array of colors, and contemplate for yourself the tenuous threads he's alluded to between humanity and technology. Also check out his walls at Park & Rec, Waypoint Public, Syrah Wine Parlor, Silo at Makers Quarter, and Warehouse 1425. For more information about his work, visit christopherkonecki.com.
Cory Schnitzer and Matt Ocampo: The now infamous mural wall proclaiming "Eat Your * Vegetables" is one of the best talking points about Juniper and Ivy. An undeniable conversation starter, Schnitzer bucked the uptight fine-dining restaurant concept, bringing an urban grittiness to the space, and knocking elitist eaters off of their perches for the night. Ocampo, a painter, muralist and mixed media artist, collaborated with Schnitzer on the art for The Crack Shack. The two adorned the egg-splattered garage doors with a proclamation The Crack Shack Sucks, complete with an angry rooster. For more about the aritists, visit coryschnitzer.com and mattocampodesign.com.
Josie Rodriguez: A well-known female artist working in encaustic (a wax-based paint composed of beeswax, resin and pigment), Rodriguez exhibits and teaches workshops locally and around the country. Just recently, she was selected for Ashton Art Gallery's 30 Artists on 30th Street Contemporary Art Book. Working in both painting and sculpture, you can see her work on your next over-the-bridge trip to Coronado. Stop into Islander restaurant, have an art moment with her fish painting, all while munching on seafaring goodies. Gallery show and book launch March 26 at Ashton Gallery. For more information, go to josierodriguez.com.
Shay Davis: An artist in surrealism (mixing the unconscious mind, dreams and reality), Davis is known for his mind-bending paintings and plays on perception. His most accessible work can be seen at the wildly popular Carnitas Snack Shack in North Park, where a pig floats in midair and has buildings coming out of its head. It's a juxtaposition of the animated animal you see and the pulled pork you eat. shayvision.com
Delk is an avid art historian, holding a Masters degree in Art History, with concentrations in the Modern and Postmodern movements. She has taught classes at Tulane University, and has been published with several art publications including Sculpture Magazine and New Orleans Art Review. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.