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The writing’s on the wall

Second mural in art wall project brings interactive component

CARLSBAD — The messages conveyed come from a little bit of everywhere, explained Morley, 33, the latest street artist to bring his art form to the Carlsbad Art Wall Project.

On the wall, painted in a chalkboard green, is contained in big white lettering the phrase: “If I knew then what I know now.” Written underneath is a message prompting people passing by to write a message to their younger self.

In a matter of a Sunday afternoon, the wall had become filled with messages from not only locals but from fans of the artist that had responded through his Instagram account.

The chalk-written messages ranged from the humorous to the heartbreaking. Some expressed regret, while others commented on relationships, some urging to stay in school and some leaving short notes of self-encouragement.

The artist, who puts himself figuratively and literally into his works, is known for posting “wheaties” (posters glued to walls) that feature ponderous and oftentimes uplifting messages.

“A lot of my messages are messages I need to hear myself,” he said. “I sort of put myself in the thought of, if I was walking down the street and not having a great day, what’s something that would be (an) impactful message to me.”

A life-sized drawing of Morley also adorns the wall — something he includes in many of his works. That, he explained, is because he wants his art to feel like it’s coming from a person, not just some disembodied voice.

Morley, who went to college in New York to pursue his dream of becoming a screenwriter, eventually realized the arduousness of bringing his art to audiences.

That realization segued into his street artwork, starting on the streets of New York with stickers. In 2006 he moved to Los Angeles where he upped the scale of his works. It was about the chance to bring his art to the audience instead of inviting the audience to his world, he said.

“It was the chance to step into another person’s environment and say, ‘This is something that’s for you — that I brought to you,’” Morley said.

Artist Bryan Snyder, right, presents Morley with a “Doodle” portrait for participating in the Carlsbad Art Wall project. Photo by Tony Cagala
Artist Bryan Snyder, right, presents Morley with a “Doodle” portrait for participating in the Carlsbad Art Wall project. Photo by Tony Cagala

The mural here is the second in a series of multiple murals that will be done by Los Angeles-based street artists. Every two months or so, a new mural will appear on the wall of the Señior Grubby’s restaurant on Carlsbad Village Drive. The project, known as the Carlsbad Art Wall, was launched two months ago with a work from artist Bumbleelovesyou.

Carlsbad artist Bryan Snyder started the art wall project as a way to introduce new art to the Village, he stated in a previous interview.

It’s a unique idea, Snyder said of the art wall project, adding that other communities around the world have done it.

“It’s new for Carlsbad,” he said. “And people are understanding that it’s good for Carlsbad; it’s good for the community, good for the local businesses…They’re sad when a mural that they like and become attached to goes, but they’re also excited when they see something new.”

Asher Jacobsen, 12, like some of the other people passing by, did express a little annoyance that the previous mural was painted over. But he, like the others, already started to come around to the new piece, its message and its interactive component.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Jacobsen said.

The theme behind the Carlsbad mural was based on whether a person could go back in time and what advice they would give themselves, Morley explained. It’s a fantasy of his, he said, of writing letters to his younger self, telling all of things that will happen and to just be ready for it.

“Why not give other people the chance to metaphorically do that?” said Morley.

Jacobsen wrote on the wall, “Fear isn’t a punishment.” He said he wrote that because he used to be afraid of a lot of things. “I thought I was being punished for being bad, but it’s not a punishment.”

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