Paint Encinitas: Mural disappears from wall, but new art coming


Street art carries a silent, visual language that encourages our eyes to look up from our busy technology-driven bubbles. A language that dates as far back as caveman times and has historically given a voice to cultures without one.

And yet, like all living things, even public murals have an inevitable ticking clock from the moment they’re conceived.

“Public art is temporary,” Leucadia-based artist Santos Orellena from Santos Fine Art Gallery puts it. “You don’t know when the wall is going to be sold or demolished.”

Or in this case, seen by the eyes of another inspired artist.

Artist Dallas Smith, who helps run his family-owned business Leucadia Glass, recently decided he wanted to paint again. A decade ago, he put down the brush and dove deeply into his passion of stained and blown glass.

“I have friends who do painting and I’ve been getting inspired lately. I wanted to get back into it because I love it,” Smith beamed.

But before he began chipping away the art on the back north wall behind Leucadia Glass, Smith contacted the original muralist Bleu Avina through the Internet.

“I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. So I asked Bleu if it would be okay with him if I redid the mural. He was all for it.”

The north wall has a history of being a beginner’s paradise.

In 2010, Avina paved the way for the space to be an outdoor canvas as he tried his hand at becoming a muralist.

“I was pretty excited about it because it was my first big outdoor mural,” Avina reminisced.

Like many bare walls, Avina felt that it was “begging to be painted.”

As any artist trying something new, Avina had to find his flow. Looking back, he views that first mural as practice for the next one that came to be.

In 2012, with more skill and even more passion, he poured his soul into a bold new art piece.

“The second one was when I committed to painting murals more seriously,” Avina said. “It’s about how fast technology progresses and how it takes us away from our animal instincts.”

Soon after, with experience under his belt, Avina took on a spontaneous collaboration with a fellow artist on a conspicuous private wall on F and 3rd street in downtown Encinitas. Upon completing it, the satisfaction he received eclipsed even that of his previous solo projects.

“After that experience I learned to be particular about who I do art with,” Avina said.

Which may be why Avina has chosen to sit this one out while newcomer Smith dabbles in mural-making for the first time.

One thing is clear, whether intentional or not, Avina has passed the torch so that another artist has the opportunity to create art on the wall.

What will the new mural entail? Images more spontaneous than what was previously on the wall.

Smith envisions, “a flowing collaboration of an abstract landscape. I want it to be an expression of the soul…evolving as it is being done…following wherever the line takes you.”

Smith plans to collaborate with two to three other artists to bring his vision to life.

Avina wasn’t the only person who gave permission. Supportive property owner, Rod Sorenson, gave the green light to Smith as his daughter did to Avina two years ago.

Painting large format murals on outdoor walls is different than painting on a consistent surface like a canvas.

Which is a big reason why my organization Paint Encinitas has jumped on board to support Smith through the process.

We are here as a sounding board and an experienced voice to help guide the creation of quality work. Even though this is not a Paint Encinitas mural, we believe that public art should go up with a celebration and create a dialogue for people to engage in.

It is safe to say, public art is on the rise in Leucadia. This will make the third new mural installation of 2014!

The mural-making party will commence during the LeucadiART Walk on August 24th from 10am – 5pm behind Leucadia Glass at 396 N. Coast Hwy 101. Paint Encinitas will be setup near the north wall alongside musicians and other artists showcasing their works in true pop-up gallery glory.

We encourage the larger community to come on by, peruse the new mural and join in on the magic.

While some may still feel taken back by the sudden disappearance of one of Leucadia’s masterpieces, rest assured that this wall will always be alive with art.