Mural Hunting with Jodie Alonso
Follow one local’s trail to see some of her favorite vibrant street art.
Jodie Alonso, who runs her namesake public relations and consulting business, has always had an eye for art. She studied it when she was at university in England. So when local artists here started treating blank walls like giant canvases several years ago, Jodie took notice—and her camera—and started exploring the city one wall at a time.
“My kids call it mural hunting,” she says. “And I do love finding them here and in the places I visit. I particularly love finding those that don’t get as much visibility online, the ones that seem to be hidden in plain sight. I wish every wall was covered in art.” Jodie started filling her Instagram feed with eye-catching wall art and friends (even strangers) began sending her the locations of new murals they thought she should visit. Now, Jodie has tracked down some of the most vibrant walls from here to San Francisco, so we asked her to play tour guide one recent sunny day and take us to some of her favorite public artworks. From Carlsbad down to the East Village, Jodie posed in outfits that complemented each piece.
1. Flower Hill Promenade
We visit several murals at this shopping center. Full disclosure: Jodie handles the social media and PR so she spends a good bit of time here and has even commissioned many of the murals.
We start near the Whole Foods, actually on the path from the parking garage to Whole Foods. Jodie worked with Pandr Design Co.’s (@pandrdesignco) founders Roxy Prima and Phoebe Cornog to conceptualize the “Good Vibes Only” mural found here. It started with some renderings and color palette options and became this very SoCal saying done in red, orange, purple and pink. “The murals help get people to the shopping mall,” Jodie explains. “They come to photograph themselves in front of a wall they discovered on Instagram and then stay to shop.”
Next, we walk to Delilah Strukel’s (@wanderingdelilah) hand-painted fiercely fun mural, where cacti grow from an open mouth. “I love the vibrant colors and the nod to nature,” Jodie says. This mural currently lives near Between the Sheets and was inspired by an oil-on-canvas painting the artist created and sold. Delilah painted this mural on canvas. Jodie says some of the murals are done this way so they can be moved around for events.
Our final stop finds us next to Promenade Dentists and just around the corner from Core Power Yoga, where Stefanie Bales’ (@stefaniebalesfineart) serene mural of sun, sea and soaring sky stretches 144 feet from the tile floor to the top of the building. Jodie has one of Stefanie’s seascapes in her living room and asked Stefanie to do this one for the mall. Done on canvas, Stefanie started this outdoors using a series of ladders, then moved it inside to finish the details. She used dramatic, contrasting colors since this piece can be seen from the parking lot.
2720 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, 858-481-2904, flowerhill.com
2. The Forum Carlsbad
Tucked in an alcove on the second floor between a healthcare facility and a salon is a pretty pink wall decorated with tropical leaves and the words “California Dreamin’” by calligrapher and graphic artist Angi Phillips (@angeliqueink). “I’m living the California dream,” Jodie says. (You can read all about Jodie’s move to San Diego and her sweet home at sandiegohomegarden.com.) Other things she likes about this artwork is that it’s in the shade so photos work anytime because you don’t have to worry about glare or funky shadows and it feels like a hidden gem.
1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, 760-479-0166, theforumcarlsbad.com
3. Genteel Coffee Co.
A friend introduced Jodie to this coffee shop when she sent her a message on Instagram about the murals inside and outside the building. On the façade, local media creator and designer Michael Chandler (@michael_version0.1) painted a black-and-white design that’s bold and graphic and helps this building stand out.
Otherwise, you might miss the painted paw prints that travel down the alley to the rustic-industrial warehouse where bespoke coffee and tea brews and house-crafted syrups add flavorings such as honey, agave and activated charcoal.
Inside, Jodie orders a latte and settles into a seat beneath the wall-length mural by local art instructor and jewelry designer Anne Brady (@abraydee). It’s an abstract piece done in pink, green, white, orange and taupe, and it’s framed from above by giant swags of fabric. Besides the large art installation and delicious coffee, the spot sells leather carryalls, candles and some secondhand apparel and accessories.
403 13th St., San Diego, 619-786-6142, genteelcoffee.com
4. East Village
Our final stop takes us across the street from City College at Park Boulevard and C Street. There are three murals on one wall, but Jodie’s particularly fond of the one in the middle. It’s by American artist Jessi Raulet (@ettavee), who now lives in France and creates a vibrant world known as EttaVee. Inspired by her surroundings, travel, nature’s color palettes, colorful fruit and pop culture, Jessi came to San Diego last September for the Ladies Who Paint Mural Walk (@ladieswhopaint). The free weeklong event, conceived by Roxy and Phoebe from Pandr, brought 10 female artists from all over the globe (including some locals) to create permanent wall art downtown. “Jessi’s installation is one of my all-time favorites,” Jodie says. Visit ladieswhopaint.org to find the map from the 2019 festival and to get updates on this year’s all-female mural walk, planned for the fall.
Obviously, there are numerous other murals that we couldn’t hit in one day, but Jodie gave us a few recommendations. You can also follow her @jodie_alonso to see where her hunt leads her next.
“I love anything Betty Larkin,” Jodie says. Janie Rochfort (@betty_larkin), the principal designer and artist behind Betty Larkin, has painted walls in Moniker General at Liberty Station and inside Leo nail salon in North Park. She also completed one of the murals on the Ladies Who Paint walk.
Loren from Four Things Paper (@fourthingspaper) left her mark inside Hatched Collective in Normal Heights with her “We Are All Just Looking to be Seen and Heard for Exactly Who We Are” mural, but she’s also been in this magazine for a mural she created in a master bedroom.
Jodie Alonso shares tips to get the right shot.
1. Befriend a photographer.
2. When it comes to picking the outfit, stick to your signature style. “If I’m going to be in front of a bold mural, I opt for lighter colors and prints that aren’t too fussy.”
3. Head out on cloudy days when shadows won’t be an issue.
4. Use an app for editing.