June 14 2011 12:00 AM

Ben Darby brings happy thoughts to Terminal 1

"Puff" by Ben Darby

Tonight, Constance White and Susanna Peredo of the San Diego International Airport Art Program will be celebrating the closing of the recent American Association of Airport Executives Arts in the Airport workshops and the opening of the American For the Arts Public Art Preconference, at which White and I will be presenting.

This evening's so-called San Diego International Airport Arts in the Airport Reception also marks the opening of a few new pieces of public art at the San Diego International Airport.

One piece is a colorful, fantastical elephant piece by San Diego artist Ben Darby. ---

"I made a painting for [the airport] called 'Puff,'" said Darby. "It's basically a happy painting where it's blowing blow fish and birds and there's a chihuahua at the bottom and lots of flowers.... People get nervous when they fly, so I thought I'd make a happy painting to cheer them up."

The painting was sent off to Italy and translated into hundreds of colored tiles, which have been installed as a mosaic piece behind a water fountain in Terminal 1.

"It's pretty cool because it's my first public art piece," said Darby. "It gets all pixelated when you get close, but as you back away it all comes together."

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