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San Diego's Mural Magic

Striking Streetside Art

They're on doughnut shops and apartment blocks, in beachside neighborhoods and urban business districts, bursting with imagery from waves to wildlife to abstract wows. San Diego's murals are a vivid window into the heart and soul of the city, and a showcase for this place's dazzling range of artistic talent. Come with us on a trip through some of our town's most striking streetside art.

Untitled by Kelly RISK Graval


Artist: Kelly "RISK" Graval
Location: 1301 Market St
Artist Contact Info:
A kaleidoscope of color that covers an entire wall of a six-story apartment building, RISK’s Untitled deserves a prime spot on the itinerary for your walking tour through East Village. RISK is considered a founding father of street art and has made a major impact on the evolution of graffiti as an art form in Los Angeles with his unique letterform. He continues to be a pioneer with this massive mural at Quartyard, one of downtown's favorite community gathering spots.

In Time She Blooms by Kyra Palmer

In Time She Blooms

Artist: Kyra Palmer
Location: 3120 University Ave
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Kyra Palmer's vibrant collage "In Time She Blooms" blossoms with possibilities, using dynamic portraiture, feminine florals and bold abstract elements to evoke a sense of curiosity. Palmer is an Orange County/ Los Angeles-based artist with a diverse and eclectic portfolio. Her signatures are her eye-catching subjects and lively color choices.

Pizza Pals a  Nicholas McPherson Collaboration with EyeGato and Jorge Gutierrez Garcia

Pizza Pals

Artist: Nicholas McPherson Collaboration with EyeGato and Jorge Gutierrez Garcia
Location: 3448 30th St
Artist Contact Info:
The murals of Nicholas Danger — aka the San Diego-based, Texas-bred illustrator Nicholas McPherson — pop with offbeat humor. A prime example is "Pizza Pals," which livens up the exterior of Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria. "This was a fun project I got to do with two other local artists and friends, Jorge Gutierraz and Eye Gato — two really great artists who I have worked with in the past and are local to San Diego," McPherson says. He adds that while Lefty's made a specific request for three popular menu items — pizza, beer and hot dogs — to appear on the mural, "they gave us free rein to do the art in our own unique styles, and it has become an icon on 30th Street. The corner there has seen a real change in the last few years, with more shops and restaurants and bars going in."

Shabu Kois by Nicholas McPherson

Shabu Kois

Artist: Nicholas McPherson
Location: 3640 30th St
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A pair of playful koi fish cavort along the outside wall of Tabu Shabu, a North Park favorite that specializes in traditional Japanese hot-pot cuisine and is another creation of artist "Nicholas Danger" McPherson. For this one, McPherson focused on the owner's request to bring a "flowing" feel to the mural, painted on a wall where a previous piece had been vandalized. Now, North Park locals and visitors alike delight in its grace and color.

Love Home by Hanna Daly

Love Home

Artist: Hanna Daly
Location: 4424 Ohio St
Artist Contact Info:
Hanna Daly's towering mural in North Park was commissioned by Chris Butler, a designer-builder on a mission to create a unique living space. "He wanted something geometric and bold for his new building," Daly says. "I normally don't do geometric designs, so I felt the need to add a little flair to the design. I hid the words 'Love' and 'Home' on each tower. We flipped 'Love' upside-down to make it a little more cryptic." The artist adds: "Painting the mural was terrifying because it was on 70-foot scaffolding with one tall ladder on the side. It is still my tallest mural to date."

Raymond Chandler at the Whaling Bar 2018 by Raul Guerrero

Raymond Chandler at the Whaling Bar, 2018

Artist: Raul Guerrero
Location: 1162 Prospect St
Artist Contact Info:
A glamorous scene out of the 1960s, "Raymond Chandler at the Whaling Bar" transports you back in time, paying homage to Raymond Chandler's novel Playback and the iconic La Valencia Hotel. Only half a block away from its inspiration, Raul Guerrero's mural explores the moody atmosphere of the bar, capturing its tantalizing narrative. Guerrero, a Mexican-American artist, has expertise in a range of mediums, including film, sculpture and photography. This piece is part of a bigger collection, which highlights notable bars frequented by artists and their muses.

Home Sweet Home by Simmage Designs

Home Sweet Home

Artist: Simmage Designs
Location: 1991 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
Artist Contact Info:
Since Simon Melnyk moved to Ocean Beach from Australia in 2015, he has grown to love the "OB life." And OBcians (as locals like to call themselves) are loving the opportunity to enjoy Melnyk's murals. In creating "Home Sweet Home," the artist says, the property owner — a longtime OB resident — gave him "full artistic freedom to conceive and create something to suit the space." Melynk notes the mural's "smiling surfer girl" riding a wave at Sunset Cliffs: "Surfing is no longer a male-centric sport, and the surfer girl offers a fun and inclusive representation of what is sometimes overrepresented as a 'macho' sport," he says. The artist also points with pride to the hummingbird and sunflower imagery. Overall, Melnyk says, "my aim with this project was to add some fun, creative color to the wall for passersby to have their days brightened up."

Movements Begin Within by Simmage Designs

Movements Begin Within

Artist: Simmage Designs
Location: 2183 Bacon St
Artist Contact Info:
Looking for a little inner peace when the outside world feels out of control? This meditative mural on the wall of a small yoga studio might help you get your om on. Created by the multimedia artist, yoga instructor and Ocean Beach resident Simon Melnyk, the piece is designed to show the ripples of inner reflection and represents the themes of nature's power and majesty that Melnyk explores with his art.

Show your love by Celeste Byers

Show your love

Artist: Celeste Byers
Location: 2275 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
Artist Contact Info:
If you're looking for a wave of inspiration, find your way to this bright and playful mural that sits near the entrance to Ocean Beach at Chris' Liquor Store. Celeste Byers, a San Diego artist, created the mural to celebrate Small Business Saturday, which encourages people to shop and dine at local establishments. To make sure the mural had plenty of local flavor, Byers included native kelp, sea lions, the Point Loma peninsula and lighthouse, Newport Avenue and the iconic pier, as well as a coterie of surfers.

Superhuman Nature by Celeste Byers and Aaron Glasson

Superhuman Nature

Artist: Celeste Byers and Aaron Glasson
Location: 5032 Niagara Ave
Artist Contact Info:
This colorfully mysterious mural, which graces a wall of The Template art and performance venue just half a block up from the Ocean Beach pier, has its origins in what artist Celeste Byers calls "an intense emotional experience" she had alongside co-creator Aaron Glasson at nearby Sunset Cliffs. The piece, she says, depicts the two "surrounded by a dark cloud of energy, even though everything surrounding us was bright and beautiful. We worked through the experience and painted the mural about it." The work was finished just before the opening of an art show the pair curated for a previous incarnation of the building. Now, the moment documented in the mural lives on.

Vespa Trio at Vespa Motorsport by Nicholas McPherson

Vespa Trio at Vespa Motorsport

Artist: Nicholas McPherson
Location: 3955 Pacific Hwy
Artist Contact Info:
It's whimsy on wheels with Nicholas "Danger" McPherson's amusingly stylized artwork for Vespa Motorsport, his biggest mural to date. McPherson says (a little cryptically) that the helmeted figures in the piece — an alligator, a cat and a bird — "are representative of the variety of unique groups of people who all ride Vespa scooters." He and his team spent nearly a year working on the mural for the dealership, whose owner is "a huge art fan," McPherson says. The artist, saluting all the locals who've helped make his work happen here, adds: "I have lived in San Diego now for 15 years and the art community has consistently supported my work, and I am so thankful for that."

La Clochette du Coin by Hanna Daly

La Clochette du Coin

Artist: Hanna Daly
Location: 4680 Cass St
Artist Contact Info:
One of the busiest mural artists in town, Hanna Daly works in a wide variety of styles, but always with a mind toward matching vision with site. Case in point: This elegant, two-tone work for La Clochette du Coin, a French-inspired breakfast spot and bakery. Daly calls the mural "a fun collaboration with the owners, who are a brother and sister from Madagascar. They love clean lines and flowers, so I freestyled that design, which is a cool blend of geometric and floral, simple and complex."

Nite Owl by Hanna Daly

Nite Owl

Artist: Hanna Daly
Location: 2772 Garnet Ave
Artist Contact Info:
Another distinctive Hanna Daly mural, this one will ensure you'll never forget the name of the vintage cocktail bar it presides over: The Nite Owl, a Pacific Beach institution since 1962. Daly, who says her own mom used to frequent the place back in the '60s, calls it "a San Diego classic" that the present owner has preserved and improved nicely. And she has quite a story to tell about her artwork's creation: "While I was working on the mural, I hated painting next to all that traffic because it's noisy and scary being so close to revving motorcycles and tons of cars," Daly says. "One day I was painting, and a car slammed into the side of the building. Luckily, I was about 30 feet away and no one was hurt, but the brick wall got slightly knocked down and it was a close call. Two days later, a U-Haul truck clipped the roof and tore off part of the building. The building was jinxed while I was painting!"

Towering figures of man and animal dominate Joram Roukes' mural on the Found Lofts building in Vista.

Found Lofts Mural

Artist: Joram Roukes
Location: 516 S. Santa Fe Ave., Vista
Artist Contact Info:
Dutch artist Joram Roukes drew on the storytelling traditions of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians to create this towering mural, which now ranks as the tallest in North San Diego County. The 60-foot artwork graces the brand-new Found Lofts, a 42-unit residence that seeks to "inspire community and creativity" with its artist-in-residence program; Roukes was the first artist to participate in the initiative. His murals and other works have been exhibited around the globe.

The World of Les Mor and Mor no Mor

The World of Les Mor and Mor no Mor

Artists: Marcus Deridder and Taylor McCabe
Location: 200 W. Island Ave.
Artist Contact Info:
The New Children's Museum tapped two of its own staffers to create the Downtown institution's first in-house mural. "The World of Les Mor and Mor no Mor" depicts "two lively worlds of the imaginary Mor Universe: Les Mor on the upper level with friendly feathered birds, and Mor no Mor on the main level with mischievous cave-dwelling creatures." The interactive aspect of the mural "allows visitors to travel between the two worlds through the museum's magical elevator 'portal' and help the citizens of each world stay in touch by writing messages and leaving mail in each level's mailbox."

Smile Youre in San Diego Mural

Smile You're in San Diego

Artist: PANDR
Location: 109 W C St
Artist Contact Info:
No roundup of San Diego murals would be complete without this landmark, Day-Glo ode to the joys of spending time in our town. Commissioned by the San Diego Tourism Authority, the signature work by Pandr Design Co. — aka artists Roxy Prima and Phoebe Cornog — has been making passersby smile at the corner of First Avenue and C Street since 2018. It also serves as maybe the ultimate San Diego selfie location. As the artists put it: "The vibrant, colorful backdrop works for anyone who poses next to it." They add: "And really, with the gorgeous San Diego weather being what it is, how could we keep from smiling?"

This is just a small sample of San Diego's rich bounty of mural art. Have a mural you'd like us to feature? We'd love to know about it! Email us at

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