If you don’t know artist Christopher Konecki’s name, you certainly know his work. Drive down PCH and you’ll see his giant whale swimming on the side of BJ’s Equipment Rentals; head to Pendry San Diego’s Oxford Social Club and find his signature long-necked cranes swooping down the entryway; or check out 707 Broadway, where his futuristic cityscape covers the building’s parking garage, making it one of the largest murals in the city. “I grew up here, and I love S.D.,” Konecki says. “But I would have loved it more if I had been driving around going, ‘Whoa! Look at that mural!’—instead of always seeing beige and gray.” With help from the Cohort Collective, a group of seven artists he co-founded in 2014 with his girlfriend, Carly Ealey, he’s been beautifying the county one stroke at a time. Last year, the artist helped organize the second Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans festival, which resulted in 18 new murals in just one week.
As an obsessive doodler growing up in Tierrasanta, Konecki never imagined he could make a living off his hobby. But after graduating from Point Loma Nazarene in 2008 and being unable to find a job during the recession, he decided to try art as a career. Now, he’s proud to say he hasn’t worked a side job in five years. “I haven’t had a moment to breathe,” explains Konecki, who spent much of the last year jetting around to gigs at art festivals.
The only trouble with painting outdoor murals, of course, is that they tend to have a short lifespan. The popular SILO in Makers Quarter—which is covered in art by the Cohort Collective—is soon to be torn down for a new construction project. “It makes me sad to lose great work; however, that’s the nature of the game,” he says. Konecki already has dibs on a six-story parking garage that’s coming to the area, which he says will act as “S.D.’s largest outdoor art gallery,” with permanent and rotating exterior panels created by local and international artists. And with Konecki as curator, it’s sure to be anything but beige.
The water, beach chairs, my cohorts
Beige walls, tourists on Segways, conservative attitudes toward public art
Photography Courtesy Of: