Move over Banksy, RSF is popping art

The Snail Family was the first of three mysteriously placed pop-up art installations around Rancho Santa Fe/McKenzie Images

Rancho Santa Fe this summer is channeling Buffalo Springfield: “There’s something happening here. What is is ain’t exactly clear.”

It’s anonymously placed mysteriously at night in the manner of English-based graffiti artist Banksy.

Some call it the ultimate in pop-art.

Unfortunately, as quickly as the art pops up, it tends to pop down. The Ranch can be an unforgiving place when it comes to anonymous unsolicited pop art in public/private spaces.

Yet, the artist and the galloping art plants will not be denied. New pieces come down and then even newer pieces, like so many colorful phoenixes, rise up in their empty wake.

The artist revealed himself Monday, Aug. 7 through an email sent via a friend to a local news source. In the communication, he identified himself as a 30-year San Diego resident who has live the last 10 years at The Ranch.

“The art was a simple gesture of gratitude and thankfulness and meant as a give-back to the community I live in every day,” the unknown artist said, adding, “I have never done a single art project and don’t intend to ever do another.”

The sixth and penultimate pop-up art appeared Aug. 7 at El Apajo. The artist, still unidentified, said via email, one final piece would be placed soon at Calzada del Bosque/McKenzie Images

For the momentary artistic record, beginning in the wee hours of morn early Sunday, July 16, the first of these journeys through the Rancho Santa Fe community psyche, popped up, as it were, between Via de la Valle and Via de Santa Fe, the Ranch’s major highway thoroughfare intersection.

Referred to by some of the cognoscenti as “The Snail Family”, the representation consisted of a fluorescent paint object highlighted by 135 black lights.

KUSI News – San Diego, CA

Then came Heart Rocks Stacked just after July 4/McKenzie Images

A second piece, since taken down, plopped down at San Dieguito Road by Fairbanks Plaza shopping center. Referred to as “Heart Rocks Stacked” it graced the hitherto empty space between July 5-8.

Then there were three as Willow Girl came and went in mid-July/McKenzie Images

Undeterred, the artist currently known as who knows, put on yet another show for the barely contained ages between July 9-16. Referred to as “Willow Girl”, the display was taken down in the dead of night as mysteriously as it had been placed.

According to a local news source, “the artist, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the art pieces are designed as a give-back to the community: ‘Simply to make someone smile for a brief moment in a hectic world.’”

The sixth, and penultimate, piece went up early Monday, Aug. 7 at the intersection of Bella Siena and El Apajo. It’s a peace sign made with 700 hand-painted butterflies floating on a sea of black lights.

“In art piece #6, “Hope and Peace,” my kids painted every one of the 700 fluorescent butterflies by hand,” the artist said by e-mail. “We typically use a privacy screen and go out very late at night so very few people see us. The only wildlife we have encountered are bugs. We keep a can of bug spray with us at all times.”

Where will it all go? When will it all end?

The artist, through that aforementioned e-mail to a local source, said he was planning one final installation before retiring

The seventh and final piece will appear somewhere along Calzada del Bosque. “It will be for those who we’ve lost too early in life,” the artist said.


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