PLNU’s art department will soon unveil a public art pieced located in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. The County of San Diego commissioned the piece by Art Professor David Adey for a new parking structured located downtown.
Adey, who praises the county for its “vibrant” public art program, was contacted by the county’s public art committee roughly a year and half ago to come up with the piece.
“They invited me in to present and they loved the idea so we made the piece,” said Adey about the piece’s concept. It is made up of more than 3,300 ceramic, uniquely shaped tiles with tire impressions that allude to the hundreds of cars using the parking structure every day.
“The idea came to me really, really quickly, and so probably within a couple hours of getting the first call I was thinking about tire treads,” he added.
The committee was made up of the county’s Public Art Consultant Gail Goldmeman, Kathryn Kanjo who is the chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, as well as Gordon Carrier of Carrier Johnson, the architecture firm that de- signed PLNU’s Sator and Latter halls.
“We pretty much collected all these different ceramic tiles that were tire impressions and then they were all glazed in different color and different ways, and then laid out in terms of a giant mosaic,” said senior graphic design major Brook Hugus.
She is one of the students who helped Adey with the piece.
“How it’s set up is there’s a couple trickling in, kind of like traffic, and then a whole bunch,” said senior visual arts major Heather Kastein, who also helped produce the tiles.
“Because that’s how parking garages and traffic goes – and then dispersing out, so it’s like the flow of input and output.” She explains that one of the special aspects of the piece is its handmade quality.
“He focuses a lot on handmade aspects in this day, that’s why the little tiled paddings are all handmade be- cause it’s a day of a lot of mechanical reproduction and automated things. So it’s really cool that our hands touched it,” she said.
After being selected for the projected, Adey began the process of de- signing the piece and creating 3D renderings before beginning its physical construction in February.
“I think it helps show that Point Loma cares about the community and wants to contribute and respond to the culture,” Hugus said.
“I think that with public art pieces, it’s something that people see. Some people are going to see that every single day and it’s going to be something that’s in their consciousness and that they’re responding to,” she added.
According to Adey the piece is al- most complete but just requires some more grouting in difficult places. The 3D nature of the piece makes it more difficult to fill in gaps. The piece takes up four sections of wall but one of which is blocked by two transformers that are part of a nearby trolley station stop. The city is working to move the two transformers by March.
To Adey the piece conceptualizes the constant flow of traffic in and out of the structure.
“I very intentionally wanted to get this sense of movement,” he said.
“There’s that sense of dispersal,” he adds. “The function of the parking garage, with this daily inhalation and exhalation of cars.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DAVID ADEY