It is impossible for M&F to think of Carlsbad without Snyder. Two years ago we'd never even heard of the place, and when we got our first email from Snyder saying that he runs a website called Carlsbad Crawl, at first we assumed that Carl was some sort of alter-ego, and that the website was a chronicle the drunken misdeeds and debauchery that Carl would crawl into.
The more we got to know Snyder we were continually impressed with his level of 'street art awareness', despite being from a small town. But what really caught our eye about Snyder is the way that he used street art to engage with and develop a relationship with his hometown of Carlsbad. From listening to Snyder, the place seemed ideal. Snyder made Carlsbad sound perfect, and honestly, after visiting the ocean front community, it pretty much is.
Carlsbad is the 2nd city south of Orange County, and there is a huge swath of military base called Camp Pendleton separating the areas. In fact, if there is one draw back to living in Carlsbad, it might be the background noise of the bombing on Camp Pendleton, and the day that we visited we heard nearly 10 big explosions (it sounds like booming thunder). But Carlsbad itself is a strange mix of artists and military personal, strange because it all seems to flow together so nicely.
There is a different, slower pace in Carlsbad. Once we arrived, Snyder informed us that the best way to travel would be on a skateboard or bikes, which we did--and it truly is an enjoyable lifestyle and way to get around.
Snyder is a home town hero in Carlsbad. Everywhere we went people would be calling out to say hello to Snyder, and when the five of us (plus one dog on a bike!) rolled up to a local sandwhich shop, the owner called out a gleeful welcome of "Team Snyder!"
The arts play a huge role in Carlsbad. Right in the heart of downtown, on the main street is a community art studio compound. In most cities, the studio district is on the outskirts of town, near the industrial area. In Carlsbad, the arts occupy the prime real estate. And it is clear from traveling around that Carlsbad is a very art focused community--and that shows. The place is very pretty, and it has great energy.
As for the local street art scene, it was truly surprising how much activity there is for such a small place. The Carlsbad scene is bumpin' like a big city. This is largely due to Snyder, who has single handedly transformed street art in Carlsbad from an outlaw activity of police lights and bandanas, to a community celebration of paint parties and scavenger hunts. There didn't seem to be much vandal-oriented graffiti or street art, and the street art that does get put up rides for a good amount of time and seems to be enjoyed by the community.
Snyder was the ultimate host, and perhaps because of that, Carlsbad has been our favorite place to vacation in LA~
^Even though it was the day before St. Pattie's, the pub run was well underway in Carlsbad.
^Many of the fire hydrants and electrical boxes are beautifully painted in Carlsbad.
^The owners of this yard decorate some unruly cross dressing mannequins for each holiday/season. (more pics below)
^The beautiful Carlsbad beach~
^The boardwalk above Carlsbad.
^One of our favorite pictures of Shasta--ever! Chillin in her basket at night, this girl rode all around town in Carlsbad!
^Even the 7-11 sign is picturesque in Carlsbad.
^More custom painted electrical boxes. These are decorated with some fun & cute doggies~