A Head on the Freeway


Alongside the 5 freeway heading north somewhere around the airport there is a pink building with a huge white rendition of Michelangelo's "David" painted on the side. I want to know why.

-- Susie in Spring Valley

San Diego's nod to the classics has been around for quite a while so let's revisit it. The 16-foot acrylic-on-stucco masterpiece is the work of Jeff Sale, circa 1984. At the time Jeff was a physics student at SDSU; he now works with supercomputers and other high-techy, non-arty things. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, Jeff gets itchy when he sees blank expanses of wall. They seem to cry out for something. Art is one of Jeff's hobbies. And Michelangelo is one of Jeff's heroes. So the head of Michelangelo's statue of David seemed just the thing to put on the vast pinkness that was the side of his brother's house on Conde Street in Old Town.

Jeff spent about 50 hours on the project. He first traced a photograph of the head on grid paper, then transferred the head (enlarged 20 times) to the side of the building, and painted it in. His first wall-painting experience was executing an 8-foot-by-12-foot silhouette of the skyline of Bologna, Italy, on the wall of his fraternity house in Minnesota. Since then he's adorned friends' bathrooms, his daughter's room, and pretty much anything that will stand still long enough. You can see Jeff's work on the Internet. A true Renaissance guy.

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