A clean coat of white paint slowly dried on the east facing wall of the Carlsbad Village taco hotspot Señor Grubby’s as street artist bumblebeelovesyou finalized his design 100 miles North is his Los Angleles studio. In a week, he would be painting the 28ft x 18ft wall kickstarting the Carlsbad Art Wall, a project I have been developing for the past 5 years.
Bumblebeelovesyou, a prolific Los Angeles based artist, arrived in Carlsbad on Thursday March 5. We met at Señor Grubby’s where we briefly exchanged memories of seeing each other’s work in the LA streets. After a beer and burrito, we began the preliminary preparations on the wall. The overall composition was mapped out along with some early base coats. The night ended early as a full day of painting crept near.
I learned that Bumblebee sleeps in. The toy tossing shrieks of a 15 month toddler was no match for his late morning slumber. I spent the early hours of Friday morning prepping supplies, creating marketing materials and loading the truck. I met up with the Carlsbad Magazine and walked the village chatting about the current state of Carlsbad art while Bumblebee slowly awoke and made his way to Vinaka for some coffee. We met at the wall around high noon and began day 1.
Bumblebee buzzed around the wall rolling a series of base coats as I greeted the many passersby interested in Carlsbad’s highly anticipated visiting artist. Many learned of his visit through articles in the Coast News1 Coast News2 and the San Diego City Beat, as well as a large blast of social media and online directory announcements. I greeted each visitor as Bumblebee worked feverishly around the wall.
As the sun sank and the bulbs hanging from the overhead lights flickered bright, we finished our last brushstrokes. At this point the night was young and I was eager to introduce bumblebee to some friends and local establishments. I began the introductions at Pizza Port where Bumblebee had his first taste of the infamous selection of Pizza Port brews. We continued to check out some live music at the Coyote Bar and Grill, eventually ending the night clashing pints at Mas Fina Cantina.
Saturday began much like the previous morning. After some early errands including an interview with the Coast News, we began Day 2. This day was important as it was entirely dedicated to brushing in the black outlines and shadows of the piece. With each brushstroke of the thick oil based black, Bumblebee’s design came more and more alive. A steady flow of mural visitors experienced the creative processes while I provided additional information on the project, as well as on the artist’s background. Grubby’s supplied food all day and the hot sun pelted the back of our necks unforgivably. We worked long into the night as the sounds of the nearby train and wilds of the Carlsbad Village nightlife roared, which ultimately lured us into the shadows of another late night in the village.
After sharing stories of the first 2 days at the bar with Justin from Grubby’s, I decided on introducing bumblebee to some more friends at The Compass. By this time it was getting late, which means it was just the right hour for a solid prime rib at Koko Beach.
Sunday morning came fast. We began the final day like each of the prior days at Vinaka, but took a mandatory detour followed with an introduction to my lifelong friend, the Carlsbad coastline. We drove along the coast to Tamarack. Bumblebee pointed out the large amounts of families and the overall sense of safety. We made our way to the Irie Bench overlooking the Agua Hedionda west basin lagoon, South-side Jetty and down toward the Encina Powerplant. I explained how the amazing view that we gazed upon was not only my current home, but it was also my childhood playground— the inspiration for most of my art.
We returned to the wall where the editor of the Coast News awaited. Bumblebee gave an video interview explaining his experience painting the wall, as well as visiting the Carlsbad Village for the first time. I took some additional photos and video as Bumblebee examined the wall. He made some final touchups as I greeted the continued flow of interested passersby, some whom I interviewed.
By high noon, the editors had left and the crowd had dispersed. Bumblebee and I remained in awe of Carlsbad newest color, a large brightly colored child innocently playing with a colorful chatterbox (cutie catcher) while bees and butterflies animated overhead. We congratulated each other and shared memories created over the past days. I gifted him a personalized Doodle painting and he presented me a doodle of his own. After a handshake, he set off back to LA.
As I lingered at the wall unwilling to call it a wrap, I looked down Carlsbad Village Drive and saw Bumblebee driving by for one last glance. After a nod to each other— and one toward the wall— we set off on our individual paths concluding the inaugural Carlsbad Art Wall mural.
Click HERE to submit your wall design.
Click HERE to learn more about the Carlsbad Art Wall.