Public art on a grand scale now accentuates the natural beauty of the La Jolla Cove and other locations in the downtown area of this tony beachside community. “Brain Cloud” and “53 Women”, the 4th and 5th art pieces of the series, have recently been installed as part of an effort to beautify and bring attention to the arts by the La Jolla Community Foundation.
The Murals of La Jolla project is the most visible enterprise for the Foundation, whose charter directs them toward “improving the atmosphere, ambience, and cultural lifestyle of La Jolla”. The scope for Murals of La Jolla encompasses up to 12 large format art pieces either painted directly on the walls of local businesses, or printed and stretched across frames erected on the buildings. The remainder of the art projects will be installed over the next year in the La Jolla business area.
Installation of these very large pieces (Brain Cloud, by John Baldessari for instance is 36 ft. by 40 ft.) was a challenge for CNP Signs & Graphics, the San Diego-based firm that provided the expertise for printing and installing the pieces. Instead of simply hanging a printed banner, the art is being stretched across aluminum frames that hold the 15 oz. vinyl taut, flattening the artwork and creating a more finished look.
A normal building installation would not be a problem for the 7o year-old sign manufacturing and design firm, but access to the building was restricted to a steep staircase coming up from the La Jolla Cove. The 40-foot roll of canvas weighing nearly 600 pounds needed to be man-handled from street level up the staircase before it could be attached to rooftop hauling systems that lifted the canvas into place.
Artist Baldessari, whose roots are here in San Diego, created the whimsical “Brain Cloud” which pictures a floating brain-shaped cloud over an idyllic San Diego beach scene. His intention was to create a shift to our perceptions of the world around us.
Both “Brain Cloud” and “53 Women” are printed on vinyl and then stretched over aluminum frames installed on the building sides. The frames will remain in place over time, but according to the La Jolla Community Foundation, the pieces themselves may change as new works are commissioned.
The frames installed by CNP Signs & Graphics will endure for some time as they are made of extruded aluminum and painted with Matthews Acrylic Polyurethane to protect the system from harmful UV rays and corrosion. This protective coating means the frames can survive maintenance free for years, if not decades.