Colorful Murals in Chicano Park and Meeting an Artist

Posted on Mar 16, 2015 in photography


I’m not sure why I ended up in Barrio Logan yesterday.  I was cruising around San Diego looking for interesting places to take photographs and I ended up at Chicano Park – a place that I often cool characters.

I parked the car and started walking.  It was hot.  I felt like I was in Mexico and I walked into Northgate Market.  They were blaring Mexican music and I ate some really greasy food.  Yep, this was exactly like being in Mexico.

Meeting the Artist

After a bit more walking in the 90 degree weather I felt I could use another Mexican Coke and I started to wind may over to Restaurant Depot.  As I approached I saw the most bling bling murals I have ever seen, ,so I stopped and had a look.

Apparently someone was painting them as the ladder and paints were on the ground in front of the mural.


As I was taking pictures, an elderly walked up and I asked her – are you the artist and as it turned out she and her husband were.  Here name was Gloria Torres and her husbands name were Salvatorre Torres.  There she was making these beautiful paintings on the side of the building and you would never think it would be someone like her.

In fact as I soon learned, Salvatorre Torres is a famous painter in San Diego and was largely responsible for starting the mural projects in Chicano Park in the early 1970’s.  She said that they started doing this over 40 years ago.

Salvatorre Torres about 30 years ago working on Murals for the Padres.


I told her that I remember driving over the bridges and seeing the big mural that said “Yonkees NO!”.  I told her that my dad said that stood for Honkies NO! (meaning no white people allowed in the park and that is why we never went.

She laughed and said, Yonkees means Junkyards and her husband painted the mural to protest the fact they were moving all the junk yards into Barrio Logan.

Capturing San Diego

Salvatorre Torres does a great job of capturing the essence of San Diego and life in Barrio Logan.  For example his murals depicting the sea life (particularly local Tuna Fish) which was caught and processed in Barrio Logan factories capture some of the real beauty of the cities history.

Super Bling Bling mural by Salvatorre Torres.


 This old diver took me back to my Sea Hunt days with my brother watching old dive TV shows.


 Seals are loved and hated in San Diego but this is an awesome mural


More Murals in the Area

I got back in my car and began driving around the area and came upon many more murals but I can’t help but wonder how many of the artist in the area actually owe a great deal of their inspiration to Salvatorre Torres.  It seems that many must be fans of his work

Superman Jesus as seen across from the train tracks


Garden of Eden, as seen on the side of a cheap liquor store


Virgin Mary covered in rosaries


Barrio Logan Buey


Look at this Chingon


You never know what you will find

I am always surprised at the things that you will find when you go explore with your camera.  It is always one of my favorite things to do and today was no exception.