CARLSBAD — When artist Bryan Snyder returned to his hometown of Carlsbad 10 years ago, he saw the village as a blank canvas. Snyder wanted to combine the vibrant artistic culture that he saw in San Francisco with the strong community in Carlsbad to create a thriving art scene.
“I say it was a blank canvas because I saw the potential,” Snyder said. “The paints were out there and the canvas was here but for whatever reason the paint wasn’t being applied to the canvas.”
Since then Snyder has worked to paint the village, helping to mold the area into the colorful, quirky spot that it is now. To do this he created an equation for a more creative culture in Carlsbad which includes adding more street art, encouraging professional working artists to come to the village and cultivating community-based projects. He’s also responsible for many of the playful murals hidden throughout the village.
“This community means a lot to me, it really does and I felt like there could be a better community,” Snyder said. “So I sat down and sketched out my equation and I went hard.”
One of these community-based projects is the Carlsbad Art Wall, a rotating mural painted every two months by an artist from Los Angeles or San Diego. March marks the third year since Snyder started the Art Wall.
“I’ve been told that this is one of the best projects that has happened in Carlsbad,” Snyder said. “People actually travel to here to see the most recent mural, so it’s bringing people to Carlsbad.”
However, the wall has been more than just an opportunity to bring new art into Carlsbad. Snyder also wants to encourage people to come and witness the creative process and hopefully be inspired to do the same. He also holds Teen Art Workshops a week before each new artist paints the wall, in order to teach teens about urban art.
After a decade of work nurturing the artistic culture in Carlsbad, Snyder has begun to see a shift. Although part of Snyder’s goal was to inspire community members and local businesses, he also felt that in order for the culture to shift, the local government had to be supportive as well.
“The Art Wall marks a major milestone because for the first time in 10 years, they’ve publicly supported my efforts,” Snyder said.
This is also the second year that Snyder has received an arts and culture grant, allowing for both public and financial support from the city of Carlsbad. Although Snyder has seen progress toward his goal, he is in no way finished with his work. He’s currently developing a website that will be launching soon that will completely document all of his past projects. For Snyder, the city of Carlsbad is art itself.
“The village as a whole is my favorite piece of artwork,” he said. “All the community art projects, people and local businesses make this community a masterpiece.”