Who Dismantled the OB Rock Art by Those 2 Homeless Guys?

by on August 2, 2016 · 14 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, Media, Ocean Beach, San Diego


The Rock Art has been dismantled.

A little over a month ago, we ran a story about how two local homeless guys were responsible for all the rock art along the bushy median between the lanes of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard up to the intersection with Nimitz near the freeway.

It was a short story about how two Local homeless guys, Corey and Greg, had what they considered “Rock Art”, with rows of stones piled on each other forming small pillars of rock. This type of rock art has been gaining popularity – and one can see piles such as what Corey and Greg have done at the shore, along the San Diego River.

Then, just days after our story appeared – there was that horrible period beginning on July 3rd of the serial killer preying on homeless men – including one killed in Ocean Beach. In a way, it was a relief seeing those rocks – almost a monument to the homeless.

Now, the rock art has been dismantled – all of it – and the rocks and stones currently line the thick bushes within the median. Who would have done that? The police? Other homeless? The 2 artists themselves to begin again?

We reported then:

There’s these two guys – Corey and Greg – both homeless – who are making Ocean Beach rock with their rock art.

You can see it all along the Sunset Cliffs Boulevard entryway into and out of OB. And Corey and Greg have been doing this for the past eight months – they told me.  They work everyday, they say, 7 days a week, on their art.

Greg – the self-admitted artist of the two – figures they have completed up to a quarter of a mile of their installations. Corey agreed that it takes a lot of time just to assemble one pile.

I also added:

What about the cops, what do they say? I asked them.

The police see it all as art – and because it is art, the officers won’t disturb it nor allow anyone else to disturb the art.

I had asked them this, as I had recalled a similar compilation of rockart over along the San Diego River next to OB that was reported in the San Diego Reader. The day after the Reader came out with the story, down went the rocks – as one officer was ordered to dismantle them by his superior – who had read the article.

Why do they do it? I asked Corey and Greg.  Without hesitation, Corey said, “It’s for release.”

So, who dismantled the rock art?

It wasn’t the cops; not other homeless, not the guys themselves.

It was the good ol’ City of San Diego itself. City crews (or contractor?) were witnessed dismantling the rock art roughly a week ago by well-known Ocean Beach writer/ reporter Mercy Baron.

Mercy told me in an email that she saw city crews out there taking down the piles and presumably rearranging them.

Now, to be honest, our original article about Corey and Greg was not met with universal acclamation. Some readers made comments that they’re thieves and criminals, or if they had spent as much time looking for work as they did on the rocks, maybe they wouldn’t be homeless.

Many commenters, however, appreciated the rock art. Here are some of them:

  • Nice. Hope they’re encouraged to continue their community art.
  • I love seeing the stone art; it sets us OBecians apart again from the rest of SD, and in a very good way.  Thanks for the artistic idea, Corey and Greg.
  • Great story! I admire the rock sculptures every day on my way to and from work, and the rare occasions I leave OB on the weekends. I imagined that the individual(s) building the sculptures were likely homeless locals. I am happy to hear that local law enforcement is appreciative of their contribution to the community and protecting their work. Here is a great example of co-existence within our community in true OB style.
  • whatever happened to appreciating the creativity that ocean beach has always nurtured…..come on folks…..if these guys weren’t homeless, would anyone make a connection between their art and “petty theft, alcohol and drug abuse, tagging, and criminality”…..let’s respect the lives of our fellow obeceans whether they have a home or not….

Well, not to worry now, the gracious City has taken over and reclaimed the rocks and the space.

In one community, the City placed jagged rocks down under an overpass so the homeless couldn’t sleep there. And in Ocean Beach, the City took away the rocks used as art. The City giveth and the City taketh.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

kh August 2, 2016 at 11:24 am

Did someone actually complain? Meanwhile the city crews are ignoring citizen’s requests to fix things that actually need fixing.


cc August 2, 2016 at 11:32 am

Maybe Corey and Greg should spend their time trying to find jobs instead of rearranging city landscaping.

I don’t consider that art, I consider that vandalism. You want to build stuff? go to the beach and build a sand castle.


Marilyn Steber August 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm
Chris Bennett August 2, 2016 at 1:26 pm

If homelessness can act as a symbol, let it stands for the transience of things. The guys enjoyed building the art, most locals and visitors got to enjoy it for a time and the city’s hired gardeners get paid for returning the landscaping to its originally designed condition. Now the whole cycle can begin again. You will only see me complain when the city tries to enforce some kind of code to prevent these men from expressing themselves so harmlessly. That kind of authoritarian intransigence OB can do without.


RC August 2, 2016 at 3:14 pm

If they want to go through the process and pay for permits to showcase their are, they are welcome to do so, but until then, keep them off the median. The city works shouldn’t have to waste their time cleaning up after homeless. And we shouldn’t need the increased police and security guard presence in OB, but because of the homeless population, our tax dollars are wasted.


triggerfinger August 2, 2016 at 3:46 pm

I agree these guys shouldn’t be messing with the landscaping, but really… Did the city workers NEED to clean this up?


Jeremiah August 2, 2016 at 4:28 pm

How about you guys run a story about how nice it would be if homeless people picked up trash in our community


rick callejon August 2, 2016 at 4:56 pm

How about each of us disposing of our own trash?


Groucho August 3, 2016 at 8:17 am

Is it possible to have both a medium and an art exhibit in the same space? Well, of course it is!
The two gentlemen made the space better aesthetically by adding interest to it.
In a way, they are showing all of us that our under used spaces can be repurposed and recycled into open public spaces. How about an Ocean Beach version of New York’s Highline.
Maybe Corey and Greg can be hired to maintain the space and give talks.


Frank Gormlie August 5, 2016 at 3:27 pm

When I drove by that site yesterday, I could see someone was beginning to stack and pile some of the rocks – again.


OB Dude August 6, 2016 at 12:47 am

It would be nice if the peace sign on the rock would come back :-)

Who took that down? Balderdash!


PL Local August 8, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Go check the OB Hostel


John August 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

The peace sign on the hostel is a replica of the one that once stood proudly and defiantly during Iraq War on Bird S**t Rock. The original art was not ever recovered to the best of my knowledge.


jerry sweeney August 9, 2016 at 4:07 pm

At Wellfleet on Cape Cod you can find Marconi Beach on the National seashore. The coast line is called the most beautiful on the Cape. It may well be.
People stack rocks there and no one minds. It adds not detracts.


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