The lawn next to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront is one of the most striking intersections in San Diego. The Convention Center’s next door. Petco Park is across the street. That new pedestrian bridge is close by. The trolley rumbles past. And around the corner, giant ships shoulder stacks of Dole freight containers.
In this intersection, Nina Preisendorfer and Brian Zimmerman worked Wednesday afternoon to set up their art piece, one of the 18 ArtLabs local artists are presenting this weekend in connection with the Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair. Their rendering of what it would be showed the phrase “i once did something thoughtful” in large letters along the Hilton lawn.
When I asked about the phrase, they said they don’t intend to communicate any specific message — to some viewers, the inscription might literally inspire a remembrance of a time they did something thoughtful. Others might be bewildered by its existence on the lawn and dismiss it entirely. Still others might mess with the medium itself, smooshing the flour. It’s unpredictable, the artists said, but that’s exciting to them.
The plan was to pour baking flour — they bought 200 pounds of it — through a stencil they’d made onto the lawn, then lift the stencil carefully to leave the white letters against the green.
Though both artists have incorporated text into their artwork before, neither had used this technique in a previous piece. Would it work?