David Eastmond

Blog highlights Riverside’s outdoor public art

David Eastmond’s explorations of the city on his bicycle bore fruit during the pandemic

June 13, 2023
Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
June 13, 2023

Soon after he retired in July 2020, David Eastmond began riding his bicycle in Riverside more than ever, leading him to stumble upon works of art — many of them murals — that he began to catalog about six months ago. The result is a blog rich in content, offering glimpses of art works sprinkled around the City of Riverside that many people may have missed.

David Eastmond
David Eastmond has been blogging about publicly accessible art within Riverside. (David Eastmond)

To date, Eastmond, a UC Riverside professor emeritus of molecular, cell and systems biology and toxicologist, has uploaded about 200 posts to the blog and completed 11 posts illustrating art on the UCR campus, including the underpass between main campus and University Village.

“This is almost all publicly accessible art within Riverside,” Eastmond said. “More than half are murals. I have cataloged many sculptures, too. When possible, I geotag the photos so people can go exactly to where the art is located.”

A resident of Riverside for 33 years, Eastmond tended to ride his bike uphill on the way out from his house in the Canyon Crest neighborhood, and downhill on the way back.

“But then, during the pandemic I changed this routine, which is when I began finding items of interest in Riverside that I knew little or nothing about,” he said. “Down Victoria Avenue, for example, there are beautiful and extensive nurseries. There’s some wonderful landscape art there as well. The city has an extraordinary range of vegetation — from desert to South African species to Australian species. We even have a few banana trees here. I have leads on 25-30 more posts and new ones are coming my way all the time.”

Eastmond enjoys cataloging the art he sees in the city because it allows him to call attention to many local artists and their work. 

El Trigo Restaurant mural
The El Trigo restaurant mural features a woman among sheaves of wheat and floral embroidery. (David Eastmond)

“They put up this art, these impressive murals, and then almost never hear anything about them,” he said. “Many of them have expressed appreciation to me via Instagram. Sometimes, I get to meet with the artists and talk to them about their mural art.”

Eastmond’s goal is to catalog as much of the outdoor art in Riverside as he can and make it easier for people to find it. He hopes by spotlighting the artists people will learn more about them.  

“Many murals are unsigned,” he said. “You find out about the artists through word of mouth, and, hopefully, are able to track them down. One muralist, Juan Navarro, is the artist in residence for the Riverside Art Museum. He and fellow artists at the Eastside Arthouse, are working to beautify Park Avenue and other areas in the Eastside. Navarro’s work, I think, has definitely improved parts of the east side neighborhood.”

The project, which Eastmond plans to continue, is expanding his horizons, both artistically and geographically. Besides giving him an appreciation for local art and artists, the project has made him venture into neighborhoods he didn’t consider visiting before.

Riverside Central Dining Center mural
The Riverside Central Dining Center mural is one of Eastmond's favorites. (David Eastmond)

“I hope people will take advantage of the blog and visit the murals,” he said. “This project has given me more appreciation for our city’s history, too, which I have shared on the blog. Some murals have a UCR connection. One of the best muralists around is UCR alum Tom Seibert, who graduated in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. His work is quite impressive.”

Some of Eastmond’s favorites:

Riverside Central Dining Center Mural

Gage Middle School Murals

Hawthorne Elementary School Mural

El Trigo Restaurant Mural

“How to Fly” Mural in Mariposa Alley

Ruhnau Clarke Architects Mural

“Greetings from Riverside” Mural

Reid Park Little League Murals

Olympic Market murals

Cesar Chavez mural on Casa Blanca Center