CARLSBAD — While setting up for a workshop at the Carlsbad Art Wall, local artist Bryan Snyder finds himself interrupted every few minutes by curious onlookers. “Are you painting the wall?” asks a teenage boy as he skates by. A family of three visiting from Los Angeles also stops to eye the wall. “We used to live in Carlsbad,” says the father holding his young son. “Every time we come back we make sure to stop by and check out the wall.”
This kind of interaction is typical for Snyder whenever he’s at the Carlsbad Art Wall, a rotating mural that is a local and tourist favorite. Since the project’s inception in 2015, many people have wondered when Snyder would paint the wall himself, however, he preferred to remain in a curator role. That mindset changed this year after the Carlsbad Magazine ran a piece marking Snyder’s 10-year anniversary of creating art in the Village.
On Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, local artists Bryan Snyder and Alex Gall collaborated to create an interactive art installation on the wall featuring an oceanic background and a life-size metal surfboard in front.
“For me the Carlsbad Art Wall was never a personal thing, it was more about bringing new art to the Village,” Snyder said. “But with the release of the Carlsbad Magazine article, I feel like the timing could not be more perfect.”
Snyder chose to replicate the front cover of the Carlsbad Magazine, which depicts the Encina power plant through the barrel of a wave. To do so, he used his drip technique, which Snyder had never attempted to do using paint on such a large scale. To do so, he used masking tape to section off the wall, and then overlapped lines of spray paint to create the wave.
“I’ve done it with pen and ink and markers, but it’s completely different because I have to use a bunch of masking tape to mask off areas,” Snyder said. “Not everyone chooses a very large and very visible canvas to experiment on for the first time but I’m just going to go for it.”
Gall, a local welder and ex-professional skater, created a life-size metal surfboard that was placed in front of the mural, allowing passersby to photograph themselves as if they were surfing.
“I really feel like this is the next level of murals,” Snyder said. “Everyone has done everything you can think of. But I think the next level is creating a 3-D aspect where you have a flat wall, but you also have the space on the ground in front of you.”
For Snyder, achieving the next level of mural also includes engaging the community. In addition to creating the interactive installation, Snyder also created custom “doodles” for those who brought a current edition of the Carlsbad Magazine.
“I want to give the community a chance to be a part of it,” Snyder said. “Without that relationship, you’re just putting color on a wall and leaving.”