Posts Tagged ‘urban trees’

Bicycle as art

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
My Bike by  Amos Robinson

My Bike by
Amos Robinson

Amos Robinson created this whirling bicycle in 2008 for the San Diego Port Authority’s Urban Trees project. The  Urban Trees lined the waterfront for several years but the various sculptures have since moved to private settings or other public places. This “tree” is now in Coronado along a different waterfront but still part of the Port Authority’s domain. It sits along a path the rental bikes and walkers frequent and you have to stop and look up into the sky to really see it.

I think the bicycle probably was a bright red before the years of ocean air muted it.

Amos Robinson's bicycle at Scripps Memorial Hospital

Amos Robinson’s bicycle at Scripps Memorial Hospital

Robinson has another incredible cycle in front of Scripps Memorial Hospital and I saw it when it was shiny new. Occasionally he appears with a new sculpture on the lawn in La Jolla to photograph the new piece before it goes to a home.

We saw the Coronado bike on the last day of the 2014 Comic-con gathering across the bay at the convention center so Spider Man, Men in Black, and a ninja of some kind were walking by on their way to the harbor ferry to take them across the water to the convention.  And real bikes whizzed by as well and one Harley.

It was also a rare day for weather; we had rain drops and thunder but no one seemed to care. “My Bike” blended into the gray but it still was impressive.

I always enjoy Robinson’s pieces. They capture the sense of wind and freedom that comes with the ocean–and a bike ride.

Pirates, Sea Treasures, and The Star of India

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

It’s Halloween, the second biggest holiday event for adults next to Christmas.

So a quick Internet search tells us that this year Twilight has given new oomph to vampire costumes. Almost is the same mindset are costumes of Madonna and Lady Gaga.  And blue skinned avatars will be partying along with Toy Story folks.

Strangely, pirates don’t seem to be big this year.

But San Diego’s Maritime Museum is full of pirate books and buys, and the Star of India is flying its Halloween sails.

Star of India Halloween sails

Treasures and the sea are bound together. My blog on Tall Ships mentioned briefly the Black Swan case, Spain versus the US marine exploration company Odyssey Marine, a litigation still in court over treasure on a sunken Spanish war ship.  Kimberly Alderman on her The Cultural Property & Archaeology Law Blog is keeping us up to date on that conflict over sea treasures. Spain now has ships in its coastal waters hunting shipwrecks to claim and has found some 100 sinkings that need to be explored.

In San Diego we can venture onto the Star of India and follow behind a lantern toting guide below deck searching for ghost who show up for Halloween. The slight ship’s motion from bay waters adds to the uncertain feeling surrounding the search. It’s not the high seas, or a hunt for high value treasure but it’s safe.

The fun of discovery also comes from the Port of San Diego’s Urban Trees 7, now in the process of being installed. Daniel Stern’s Handstand Man is a great comment on joy found at sea side.

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Daniel Stern's Handstand Man

Urban Trees

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Keep Your Wheels Turning, Use the Wind

Does this look like a picture postcard?

You bet it does. At least to those of us old enough to know what a postcard is.

That’s the idea behind San Diego’s Urban Trees. Each year since 2004 an exhibition of 30 sculptures sprouts along half a mile of waterfront. This is Urban Trees Six. the sixth series or 30 trees. They reside in an urban landscape which makes it difficult to snap a photo without pieces of the city in the viewfinder. That’s the fun of it. The sculptures are urban trees. The beauty of the bay and sky can sometimes frame the pieces and generally the eye can focus on the sculptures as they stand and ignore the rest of the stuff. My little camera can’t. Of course, I can crop the heck out of the photo, but that is only half the picture. And only half the idea.

The sculptures exist in an urban setting because they are comments on city life. They are created from many different materials, rusted steel, Plexiglas, laser cut wood, or auto wheel rims like Dale Bolton’s Keep Your Wheels Turning, Use the Wind above. Some rotate like Neal & Tiffany Bociek’s SIC’Emore (doggie tree),

Kinetic sculpture

and Catherine Carlton’s Chemis-Tree.

Kinetic sculpture

Some sing in the wind like Jim Trask’s Bats in Your Bell Tree.

Singing bats and bells

Some make you laugh, some are serious comments like Cathy Ann Janes’ Thank You, an American eagle with US military dog tags for feathers.

American eagle

All worth the walk along the busy embarcadero. The trees are all for sale, if you have to have one. The prices range from $6,000.00 to $45,000.00. If you go to, you can see the pieces in studio portraits and some videos.