This stage in my career began with some major changes. All within the same year I closed Snyder Art on State Street due to an 100% increase in rent, moved out of the Art-partment and moved into a new residence and working studio space. In addition, my family doubled in size the following years with the birth of my son Hank Wayne and daughter Stella Lou.
My trips to Los Angeles became more infrequent in the beginning of 2013. July of that year marked my last art related visit. I decided to shift my priorities back to the Carlsbad Village where the culture I had envisioned 5 years prior was at the brink of a major creative transition. Local organizations also began to see the shift and started to get involved.
At this time the Village had some historical murals, a handful of my Doodle murals and some lasting early street stencils, but the overall presence of urban art was still developing. A local theatre noticed the transition and, in collaboration with a grant from the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation, implemented a project that brought a number of new murals to the Carlsbad Village.
This marked the first time an organization outside of Snyder Art pushed for more murals in the Village in recent years. The intentions of the mural project are up for debate, but the end result was positive and it brought more color to the local streets—although it was not without controversy.
In the early stages of the theatre x Carlsbad Charitable Foundation mural project, I was contacted to submit a mural proposal. I supplied my mural proposals, but was later told that I was being removed from the project due to my already large presence in the Carlsbad Village. As a local artist who at the time had dedicated his last 5+ years to help develop a more artistic culture with emphasis on murals, I felt my removal exhibited a lack of support for my efforts, but also felt the project used my restless efforts for the organizations’ own well being—potentially removing a Snyder Art affiliation to maintain full credit.
I had already made the shift to refocus on the Carlsbad Village again after three years dedicated to Los Angeles. After painting large scale Doodle murals all over LA and seeing the communities joyous reactions, I had planned on continuing this aesthetic in the Carlsbad Village by adding to the collection of current murals.
The treatment I received from the theatre x Carlsbad Charitable Foundation mural project only fueled my desire to paint more, ultimately motivating the creation of four new large scale Doodle murals within four months—with the last of the four murals culminating in a community art project, live mural demonstration and Carlsbad Village wide art scavenger hunt along the path of the theatre x Carlsbad Charitable Foundation mural tour—a tour that I was asked to include my newest murals in. I denied the request on the grounds that I felt I was initially removed from the project unfairly and unethically.
Painting large scale murals was just one component of my overall goal, which was to encourage the development of a more artist culture in the Carlsbad Village. With a new audience gained during the years showing my art in LA, I opened a Doodle art show and scavenger hunt at Vinaka Cafe in the heart of the Village. The goal of this show was to continue inspiring the Carlsbad community to explore the local streets while inviting a new audience to Carlsbad.
Local and LA Doodle enthusiasts lined up at the front door of the local coffee shop waiting for clues. Each clue provided the opportunity to find a hidden original Doodle painting hidden in the surrounding Village streets.
In 2014, I brought this art show and scavenger hunt formula to Culture Brewery in Solana Beach which was also attended by a fan base combination of communities from different geographic locations.
In 2016, I brought this exhibition/scavenger hunt idea back to Carlsbad during the Carlsbad Art in the Village street faire. I realized communities outside of Carlsbad were now following and attending my shows and Doodle art hunts. At this moment I realized the importance of establishing Carlsbad as a community with a thriving artistic culture from both inside, as well as outside the Village and city limits—and these Doodle related happenings were help spreading the word.
I felt my return to the Carlsbad Village was welcomed by the community, which fueled a creative burst of projects, as well as a rekindled love my hometown. This love was showcased in a collaboration project with the Carlsbad Magazine in the form of a hand-crafted model of key local landmarks created over a two month period, photographed and showcased on the cover of the November–December 2016 cover.
The Carlsbad Magazine model, which has found a permanent home in the Carlsbad Historical Society, marked a transitional period in my career from a time when I created at a feverish rate to stage in my career when I attempt to make sense of it all.
I have documented every day, every art project, every travel abroad and every thought for the past 10 years through photos, video and writing. I’ve dripped a colorful trail a decade long—and now I follow it back down memory lane—and I invite you along for the ride.