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Public art projects keep Carlsbad artist busy

Above: Carlsbad artist Bryan Snyder installed ‘A home break ambush’ on May 25, which features a shark stalking a surfer at the Carlsbad Village Lofts project between Carlsbad Village Drive and Grand Avenue. Photo by Steve Puterski 

CARLSBAD — Much like the great ocean predators, local artist Bryan Snyder found and stalked his latest installation.

Along Carlsbad Village Drive, where a new mixed-use project is in the beginning stages of construction, Snyder saw an opportunity to strike.

A chain-link fence with a blue canvass surrounds the Carlsbad Village Lofts property. The idea hit Snyder, so using cardboard, paper mache, paint and duct tape, he installed a surfer being stalked by a shark using the blue tarp to represent the ocean.

The artwork, which went up May 25, is generating a buzz for those driving and walking by, even though the property owner, Wermers Property, didn’t sign off. However, residents and visitors alike have taken their own interpretations, Snyder said.

“It’s really developed more into than what I initially thought,” he explained. “What caught my attention was the glowing blue fence. For me, blue was like the ocean or water. I could put some fish in the water, so it was really this visual aesthetic that inspired me.”

Snyder touches up a surfer for his latest art installation. Courtesy photo

And while some see a representation of developers hunting for new construction in the Village, others see it as an ode to the ocean and surfing tradition in the city. However, Snyder also looked at the art as a way to spread awareness of shark attacks, noting a California surfer was killed in an attack in Hawaii the day after the installation.

“People see the shark as development or developers and the surfer as the community,” Snyder added said. “Through this commentary from the community, I developed the title, which is ‘A home break ambush.’ I felt it took my relationship with art one level deeper. This piece, though, has nothing against the project or the developer.”

Snyder, who also oversees the Carlsbad Art Wall, said he came up with the idea about one month ago. He figured it would be a way to dress up the lot as construction nears.

In fact, he would like to see more developers engage with public art during the building phase. Snyder said it add a little more charm and take away from the drab tarps encircling a site.

Also, he said perhaps the city of Carlsbad could assist in the matter by requiring developers to pay a small percentage for public art projects.

“This piece really relies on clear skies and bright sun because I wanted that silhouette to be as dark and sharp as possible,” Snyder said. “Without sunny skies, you’re just not going to get the whole viewing experience.”

Snyder also recently spray painted a mural at Calavera Hills Middle School, where he was able to engage students in the art class, taking their drawings and putting them on a huge wall by the outside lunch area.

The mural, which is 29 feet wide by 19 feet tall, consists of birds flying in the glow of the sun, a coyote (school mascot), a surfer and monarch butterflies. In addition, the left side of the mural features the words: community, boldness, respect, engagement and inclusiveness. The project took three days.

Snyder did the outline of the mural, hauling in lights at night so then the students could paint during the day. Calavera Hills Principal Michael Ecker said since the mural has gone up, it has changed the feeling of the space and provided a source of pride for the students.

“To have him come in and really turn a wall that was looking a little dingy and worn into this focal point of beauty on campus, especially right where students spend a great deal of their time, a great deal of pride increases with what the students have,” Ecker said.

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