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04 Sep 2015

Blog: The Postcards of Santa Barbara

Heather Tipton / 04 Sep 2015 Testing
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Photo: As they stroll down lower State Street in Santa Barbara, pedestrians observe murals like “Welcome to Santa Barbara,” a mixed media on canvas, created by local artist Jonathan Paul Hernandez, a leader of the Outsider Street Art initiative at Youth Interactive. Gail Fisher/Vox Orbis

Heather Tipton

Late in the afternoon Thursday, Sept. 3, I walked down lower State Street in Santa Barbara, Calif. Nearby, a street sweeper kicked up smell of soap, dust and water while chopped slats of sunlight burned down through a narrow corridor of metal scaffolding. Behind the scaffolding, framed with black tape against green wooden walls, a series of large-scale murals hung, each depicting a different facet of life in Santa Barbara.

Photo: Ginny Brush, Director County Arts Commission, applies a few more strips of tape to “State Run,” paint and screen print on canvas by artist Earl Arnold who has been creating custom t-shirts and designs in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone since 1996. Gail Fisher/Vox Orbis

The murals are part of the Postcards of Santa Barbara exhibit, organized by Youth Interactive. The exhibit features 16 8-by-6-foot murals created by local artists of all ages. According to Youth Interactive’s website, the exhibit is meant to “beautify the lower block of State Street” by offering a visual counterpoint to the long-term construction in the area.

Photo: Combining their skills as graphic designer, illustrator, printmaker, painter and muralist, artists Anke Gladnick and Sara Wilcox collaborated on “The Gratitude Mural,” an acrylic on Canvas. Gail Fisher/Vox Orbis

That chosen locale is itself engaging. While the large size of each mural begs us to step back to view the whole scene, the narrowness of the sidewalk forces us to step in, get close and appreciate the details.

Photo: Artist Matt Rodriguez, a local Funk Zone artist and muralist created “Home,” exploring line, shape, color rhythm and balance with his appreciation for Santa Barbara. Gail Fisher/Vox Orbis

It is those small details of Santa Barbara that seemed to inspire the artists behind the murals. Through these large-scale postcards, each artist describes, in detail, what is beautiful and interesting about their hometown of Santa Barbara. 

Photo: Artist Barbara Eberhart created “Barbara Santa Barbara Mission Joy,” believing that art is a way to spread joy and loves painting acrylic on canvas murals and in this case sharing her art with pedestrians on lower State Street. Gail Fisher/Vox Orbis

The Postcards of Santa Barbara exhibit will officially open to the public during an unveiling street party at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, at 121 State Street. This free event will feature live music and dancing.


Heather Tipton for Vox Orbis, 2015