Ocean Beach’s Mural Alley

by on June 29, 2018 · 6 comments

in Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach has a long history of public murals – a history that stretches back at least to the mid-late 1970s.

Some of the more famous ones are those painted each year during the OB Street Fair and hung on exterior walls of various businesses around Newport Avenue. But we’ve had others – and most of them are still around.

Well, we’d now like to highlight an alley off Newport filled with fairly-recently painted murals – an alley many locals have known about for quite some time.

The alley – OB’s Mural Alley – is the alley between Newport Ave and Niagara Ave – and between Sunset Cliffs Blvd and Cable.

Click on image for larger version. All photos by Frank Gormlie

There’s 3 major murals – that begin just outside the former Gilmore family jewelers store and end on the sides of Kilowatt Brewing Co.

This post is mainly a visual one, as I don’t know the muralists or when they were painted. All I know is that I enjoy them as I move down that alley. Thanks to whomever installed them and paid the artists.

Next is the Bee Lady (my title – please someone correct me).

The Kilowatt Corner


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

retired botanist June 29, 2018 at 12:12 pm

Bee-u-tiful! And I so wish Banksy would come to OB and grace a wall with a statement about STVRs…now wouldn’t THAT be cool? :-)


Dave June 30, 2018 at 12:39 am

+1 Banksy reference.


OBlover June 30, 2018 at 1:39 am

I love this ally too!
The bee artwork is by a local artist, Celeste Byers.
The following is from her website http://www.celestebyers.com

Willamartha’s Honey Pot

I painted this mural for a local beekeeper named Shauna Aiken in my hometown of Ocean Beach in San Diego, California (Shauna calls it Oh Bee). She wanted a mural to make people think about bees since they are so important to our world. When I met with her, she told me that her family bought property in Ocean Beach in 1887 when plots of land were only $25. Her family bought 2 and have been here ever since. She showed me photos of her Grandma Willie, a local Obecian, who was a really interesting character. She had all her fingernails painted different colors with glitter on them, would wear textured stockings, wild clothing, and had a husband who built UFOs in the front yard. After seeing pictures of her, I really wanted to paint her because she seemed really cool and captures the essence of what I feel Ocean Beach is all about. I combined the ideas of a mural about bees along with Shauna’s family history and ultimately the history of Ocean Beach to create this image.

Shauna requested an elephant handing a heart to a bee in the mural because she learned about a project in Africa where they are using bees to protect elephants. Elephants were getting killed because they were trampling farmer’s crops. Some people discovered that elephants are instinctually scared of honeybees so the Bee and Elephant Project started making “bee fences” by putting beehives around areas where elephants were unwanted. This has resulted in saving many elephants from being killed as well as helps provide farmers with improved pollination for their crops and income from sustainable honey sales. The program has been implemented in 9 African countries including Kenya, Mozambique, Botswana, and Uganda, as well as in Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. It’s a great example of how we can use nature to solve problems!

“Bees are magical creatures (a bit like magical fairies) – they do so much for us and the world and for the most part, go unnoticed. 99% of the bees you see are female and they do all the work (drones, the boys, are just there to mate and nothing more) and each bee in the hive has a specific job – from nurse bee, guard bee, queen attendants, coroner bee, forager bees, etc. And then honey has such healing qualities. For example, in New Zealand they use honey to help heal burn patients, it helps with inflammation, allergies, blood sugar levels, etc. Every time I have some, I always feel I’m tasting sunshine from my neighborhood. Those are some of the reasons it’s so important for me to have a mural focused on bees. I want people to think about them, learn about them and understand their importance. They don’t want to sting or harm us. They just want to go along and do their business. Without them, we wouldn’t survive.”
-Shauna Aiken


Frank Gormlie June 30, 2018 at 9:18 am

Thanks, we’ve been highlighting Celeste Byers’ work in the OB Rag: https://obrag.org/2016/10/local-muralist-celeste-byers-keeps-messages-alive-in-her-artwork/


Frank Gormlie July 2, 2018 at 11:48 am

OBlover – we used Celeste’s quote in a post; thanks again for the heads up.


retired botanist June 30, 2018 at 11:19 am

Wow, awesome back story on Oh Bee! Thanks!
And to Dave: I actually sent Banksy a request email- I suppose he gets thousands, but why not? :-)


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