The Benefit of Mr. Kite
- Location: San Diego, CA (2002)
- Client: San Diego Port Authority
- Size: Figures 37′ and 32′ tall
- Material: Aluminum, glass, prismatic film, planting, lighting
- Budget: $600,000
Canyon Path, a narrow pathway with 70 ft high walls, is the only public access to the San Diego Marina between the San Diego Convention Center and the Marriott Hotel, once impossible to find through the parking lots and buildings. The artists created a public art pathway consisting of a gateway, a landmark, and a choreographed path of light and color that lead pedestrians through this maze to the marina.
The Mermaid & The Man Looking
The artists created two giant figures at the approaches of Canyon Path, landmarks to guide pedestrians into the path. At the city’s end of the pathway “The Man Looking” peers through binoculars at the water. At the water’s end “The Mermaid” calls the city to the water through a megaphone and flies a kite above Canyon Path.
To connect the sculptures to the surrounding space the artists drew inspiration from the site’s espaliered ficus plantings and used it throughout their design. This includes lenterns designed to be covered with growing plants at the approaches of the path, which provide lighting at night. Additionally, the artists created a gateway to the San Diego Convention Center that continues the topiary patterning.
The Mermaid holds a string in her left hand the that leads up seven stories to a glass kite sandwiching prismatic film. As sunlight passes through the prismatic kite, a rainbow projects onto the walls of Canyon Path. The rainbow light moves with the sun across the walls and down into the center of the pathway. The kite acts as another guide to lead pedestrians to the water front.
Within the Canyon Path there are three spaces, each painted a different color: orange, yellow, and pale green. Light bounces off the walls to create a space that glows with color.