Hawaiian Murals

A love of nature is a big part of Hawaiian culture.

Since I adore public art in all it’s many forms, I was really looking forward to our recent trip to Hawaii. It would be a chance to see new places and look at new things. And the Aloha State did not disappoint.

The murals I saw during my visit tended to take on a natural theme, and that makes perfect sense. There is a lot of natural beauty to draw on for inspiration in that state. Having said that, I’m impressed that those talented artists manage to live there. Everything is outrageously expensive, and artists are notoriously underpaid. So each time I looked at their work, I felt proud of the person who created it, for the very fact of their perseverance.

Another reason for this recurring natural theme is that a love of nature is a big part of Hawaiian culture. It’s called aina. This article explains it well:

“Aina means land. Life in Hawaii is lived outdoors — malls, homes, offices, and even the airport are built with open-air walkways, large windows, or lanais (balconies or patios) so you’re never fully indoors. Native Hawaiians see their identities and wellbeing entwined with the land, and so respecting it and living in it are of the utmost importance.  Simply having lunch outside or taking a stroll through a park can help reconnect you to the aina.”

What follows are photos I took, or got from my Pokemon Go app, of the murals I saw in Hawaii. Think of this as a tribute to aina and a tribute to all artists who possess a strong survival instinct. Enjoy!

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Make Your World More Beautiful

We can move in a positive direction.

Nature is beautiful. And then we humans come along and build over the top of it, bringing pollution and urban sprawl and extinctions and overcrowding and cigarette butts.

But we do have a tiny bit of control. Artists understand that. We can create beauty if we want to. We don’t have to have boring, flat, monochrome surfaces that draw nothing but dust and debris and despair. We can make the spaces we occupy more interesting, inspiring strong emotions and deep thought that, on the best of days, will cause us to move in positive directions. Even those of us with no artistic training can bring beauty back.

We may not be able to recreate the Grand Canyon, but we can positively impact our surroundings if we choose to, even after much damage has been done. We don’t have to be a purely destructive force. We can clean things up and make them unique. The ambience surrounding you impacts your attitude, and shows your respect, or lack thereof, for your community and the wider world.

What are you doing to make your world more beautiful? We can all make a difference. We don’t have to be passive victims of our ever-expanding urban blight.

I’ll leave you with photos of some murals that beautify various places throughout the world. Individually, they may only cause a minor impact, but collectively they demonstrate that there’s hope for us yet.

Murals are not the only way to beautify your world. Use your imagination. Make something more beautiful today.

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Public Art Can Unite or Divide

People who wish to control the narrative tend to hate public art.

Public art is a subject near and dear to my heart. So much so that I administer a Public Art Lovers group on Facebook. If you join the group, you’ll be treated to the murals, statues, sculptures, fountains, and creative works that refuse to be pigeonholed, from around the world.

Public Art adds beauty to urban sprawl. It reminds us to take a moment out of our hectic and stressful routine to stop and look and think and smile. Art touches us emotionally. In fact, this study, conducted in Norway, suggests that viewing art actually makes you healthier. (Not that I ever needed an excuse.)

Make no mistake: Public art can be controversial. It is the most creative way to send a message to the masses. It is egalitarian. Anyone who happens to pass by it can enjoy it and perhaps be influenced by it. That’s pretty powerful. People who wish to control the narrative tend to hate public art.

Others take exception to the expense of public art. They feel that it is an unnecessary drain on the public coffers. But I tend to agree with this article, which states that “investments in public art can improve street safety, provide tourism and new jobs, and combat social isolation and anxiety.” That sounds like a wise investment to me.

Public art can unite us in that it makes us want to cross boundaries to look closer. It enriches culture and exposes that culture to a wider world. It reminds us that people can have a variety of perspectives, and that’s okay. In a polarized world, it gets people talking, and it serves as a point of reference. It brings us together.

But perhaps the thing I enjoy most about public art is that it comforts me. We are living in an overcrowded, polluted, corrupt world. It’s nice to see, in the midst of all that, that there are people who take the time to make things more beautiful. If you listen closely to any mural, you can hear it whisper, “You are not alone. I’m here because someone wanted to make this world a better place, just as you wish to do. Here’s a gift of beauty for you. Spread the word.”

What follows are images of public art from all over the globe that I’ve enjoyed receiving via my Pokemon Go app. Seeing these images every day makes me want to travel more to experience these things firsthand. Enjoy!

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More Murals

Art can and should be freedom.

For those who read my blog regularly, you know my love of public art. I even have a Public Art Lovers Facebook group that you’re very welcome to join. I’m endlessly fascinated by the variety of ways that artists express themselves. I genuinely believe that art increases one’s perspective on the world. Learning to see things through more than one lens is nothing but a positive. You can’t be narrow-minded if you look at things from a variety of angles.

The more fascist a society is, the more heavily regulated its art becomes. So I tend to look at the number of quirky murals in a city as a sign of how politically healthy the residents are. Art is a powerful thing. Art can and should be freedom.

I also happen to be addicted to Pokemon Go. The thing I enjoy most about it is that I get “postcards” from players all around the world. Often these postcards relate to the art in their area. So I get to enjoy art from places like Germany and Taiwan and Brazil and Australia from the comfort of my COVID-free home.

All this art gives me hope for our future. So, without further ado, here are some Pokemon Go postcards that I have received recently. Enjoy!

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California Murals, Part Two

Murals that jumped out at me and were gone in an instant.

While looking through our photos for part one of this California Murals series, I realized that the bulk of the mural photos were captured by me rather than by dear husband. That has a lot to do with the fact that he did all the driving. Of course he wasn’t slamming on the brakes to snap photos. The mere fact that we’re still alive is proof of that.

I have to say that many of the mural photos I took were unusable. Blurry. Obstructed. It’s hard to take good pictures in a moving car. I had to rely on stoplights and luck to get a halfway decent image.

But many fantastic murals would leap out at me as we turned a corner and would be gone before I could even raise my camera. That would have been heartbreaking, except that I remembered that many murals are pokestops on my Pokemon Go game, so I’d just open that app and take a screen shot from there. Voila!

So what follows are murals that I actually did see but could only share with you thanks to Pokemon Go. Enjoy!

And if you have any mural pictures to share, join my Public Art Lovers Facebook group and post them there! We’d love to see them!

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California Murals

The murals are what I love best about California.

As the bulk of our “West Coast Wander”, ten of the thirteen days, was spent in California, I can say with confidence that no two parts of this amazing state are exactly alike. Each town has its own character. Each bit of shoreline or mountain is slightly different. And since it takes up nearly 9 degrees of latitude, its climate varies dramatically. This is a very fun state to explore.

But if someone were to ask me what I love best about California, besides the Redwood and Jacaranda Trees, I’d have to say that it’s the murals. California is all but covered in colorful and unique murals. This is not a state that is conservative about its art, and as a public art lover, I appreciate that quite a bit.

What follows are some of the many murals I got to see. (There were so many that I’ll be doing a “Part 2” of this post!) If you have pictures of California Murals (or any other public art, for that matter), I invite you to join a Facebook group that I host called Public Art Lovers and post your pictures there. We’d surely love to see them!

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Worlds on Walls

Murals reduce our confinement for a brief, shining moment.

During this pandemic, and also due to a recent snowstorm that had me stuck in the house for 36 hours, I’ve been thinking a lot about people who are confined for various reasons, who don’t get to explore the wider world as much. There are inner city children who have never walked in the woods. There are people with limited imaginations who have never dreamed of life on another planet. There are those with health issues who may never get past the borders of their home, town or state.

My heart breaks for these people, because I genuinely believe that humans were born to be nomadic. We were meant to explore the wider world. We were given curiosity for a reason.

I will forever be grateful to artists who create murals. Murals break the boundaries. They reduce our confinement for one brief, shining moment. They spark our imaginations. They tell us of places we have never been, and introduce us to people we haven’t met. They take a flat surface and give it depth. They transform a drab cityscape into a colorful fantasy world. They transport us and transform us. Murals are windows to another world.

Here are some of the amazing murals that have been sent to me via friends in the Pokemon Go app lately. Enjoy!

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Murals and Graffiti

Turning a blank wall into something else is magical!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that public art is near and dear to my heart. So much so, in fact, that I’ve started a Facebook group about it. Feel free to join!

I think my all-time favorite genre of public art is easily murals. (I feel the same way about graffiti that is well done and well thought out, but I doubt property owners would agree.) It has something to do with starting out with a blank wall, and then turning it into something else. It’s magical.

Each mural is unique to its creator and its location and its message. Many of them tell stories. Some brighten up shabby areas with vibrant color and powerful images. Murals can also have a sense of humor and/or a sense of history. They can evoke emotions or inspire pride.

If they use depth of field, they’re basically creating space that didn’t exist before. Think about that. They create a whole new world. It’s amazing.

I consider murals to be delightful miracles. I really don’t understand why anyone would leave a wall blank when there is such potential for beauty. Our walls cry out to be canvases for our imaginations.

What follows are some murals that either I’ve seen or they have been sent to me from all over the world via the Pokemon Go app. Enjoy!

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Art Unites Us

Art exists in every culture.

We are definitely living in high stress times. And we are more polarized than we have ever been. It’s really distressing to see so many connections being shattered. It’s making me desperately cast about for anything, any little thing at all, that can be labeled a force for unity.

And then I thought: Art. Hold on. I know what you’re about to say. Art can be controversial. And there’s a debate over whether things can be considered art or not or whether they require historical context and education to be displayed. And there’s also an ongoing debate over whether art should be federally funded. I get all that.

But I would argue that all those issues are ancillary to the fact that art exists in every culture, one way or another. Culturally, we all feel the need to express ourselves. We want to put a mark on this earth. We want to add beauty to the world.

I think that creative streak is the thing I love most about humanity. If we lived in dull, grey, blocky, uninspiring spaces, if we had no ability to be unique in any way, this world would be a dull and lifeless place. It is a delight to go somewhere I’ve never been and see unexpected murals or sculptures or whimsical fountains. It is one of the primary reasons I love to travel.

So, yeah. Art can be controversial, but it exists in one form or another within all of us. It may be different from country to country or from artist to artist. Some things might be more my cup of tea than the next person’s.

But the fact that art exists is the thing. So I’ll cling to it for now, for some much-needed sanity, and if you are on Facebook, I encourage you to join my Public Art Lovers Group.

I’ll leave you with some public art from around the world that I received from Pokemon Go friends. Enjoy!

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Public Art from around the Globe

Art raises a civilization to the next level.

I love public art so much that I started a Public Art Lovers group on Facebook. I invite you to join! It’s fun seeing murals and statues and fountains and the like from far flung places that I’ll most likely never get a chance to visit.

I’m lucky I have a tolerant husband. Often we’ll be driving around, and I’ll shout, “Public art! Get a picture!” And he’s usually willing to do so, as long as it won’t risk life and limb.

I genuinely believe that public art raises a civilization to the next level. A life well lived should be much more than simply a desperate search for food, shelter, and clothing. Art is self-expression, and a sign that the mind has the time and luxury to be creative. Art also makes you think. It expands your mind. Art also adds beauty to the world, and we could all use a little more of that.

One of the unexpected pleasures of the gaming app Pokemon Go is that you can make friends all around the world and receive digital postcards from them. Aside from the ubiquitous pictures of playgrounds and places of worship, you are also treated to a great deal of public art. So without further ado, here are some of the cool digital postcards I’ve received or sent of late. My apologies that I can’t tell you the locations of most of these works of art, but I hope, like me, you’ll delight in the fact that they exist somewhere in the world.

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