Bryan Snyder cut his teeth in the Los Angeles street-art scene, eventually working his way up to being dubbed the 2012 "Los Angeles Street Artist of the Year" by the formerly thriving, now-defunct urban-art website Melrose and Fairfax. During his time in L.A., though, the Carlsbad native never lost sight of his hometown, always making a point to promote to his big-city artist friends the seaside city he loves.
"I spent about three solid years up in L.A. showing in galleries and doing projects and collaborations with other artists," Snyder says. "I don't think there was one time I didn't mention Carlsbad and invite them down here to do some work."
Snyder's had a longtime goal of infusing more arts and culture into Carlsbad Village, a touristy enclave known mostly for its cutesy boutique shops and restaurants. For the last eight years, he's taken matters into his own hands, painting seven large-scale murals—plus dozens of smaller street-art pieces—throughout the village and organizing a number of cultural events, including innovative art scavenger hunts that encourage participants to explore Carlsbad's growing mural scene.
"I grew up in the village—I've lived here for over three decades," Snyder says, explaining the impetus behind his self-funded mission. "It's just part of me. I've spent a lot of time here, and it's not a hard place to like. I mean, the village is pretty awesome... It's just a great place to use as a canvas."
Snyder will launch his latest project this week. He's partnered up with Señor Grubby's (377 Carlsbad Village Drive), a Mexican restaurant in the village that's given him free rein over a 28-by-16-foot wall. He'll curate the east-facing blank wall by hand-selecting artists to paint new murals every month. The first few will showcase the work of some big-name L.A. artists.
"It's good to finally have the opportunity to bring outside artists to this area—to the place I've been talking up for so many years," Snyder says.
Street artist bumblebeelovesyou will kick things off on Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7, with one of his signature large-scale stencil pieces. Street artist Morley will take a turn in April, and Annie Preece, an artist featured on the Oxygen reality-television show Street Art Showdown, will paint a piece in May. After the initial wave of out-of-town artists, Snyder says he's opening it up other area artists (apply at carlsbadcrawl.com/wall).
"At this point, we're just offering artists a blank wall, free beer, free food and a nice weekend in the village," Snyder says. "The project is 100-percent funded out of my pocket with support from Señor Grubby's, but the long-term plan is to bring in a monthly sponsor to help artists with supplies, gas and additional promotion. But, essentially, we're just offering an amazing wall with high visibility to artists who just want to paint and help bring new creativity to the village."