When you arrive in San Diego, you can see the world as soon as you step off the plane. Eighteen worlds, in fact from the 100 Worlds Project.
They’re the work of Ron Miriello, himself a man of many worlds. The graphic designer, creative director, business owner and sculptor created his “100 Worlds Project” as a way of rediscovering everyday items. The collection is on display until December 2016 near Gate 33 in Terminal Two West post-security. It’s part of the airport’s latest art exhibition, “Port of Entry“. The exhibition features a group of artists inspired by the geographic, cultural and social aspects of borders.
One of Miriello’s globes is made of the soles of shoes worn down from walking. Another is a cluster of little pencil nubs, packed tightly in a metal casing. Some are playful, others serious.
Many have industrial components: rugged metal cables, welded steel, pipe wrenches and inner tubes. Miriello collaborated with craftspeople from across San Diego, but particularly Barrio Logan where he works. He wanted to draw on the neighborhood’s rich tradition of manufacturing and engage people who might not consider themselves to be artists.
“That’s part of the inclusionary aspect of this whole show philosophically – to demystify the creative process and make it approachable to others who may not think of themselves as creative beings,” he says. “They look at designers and sculptors as the ‘creatives,’ and themselves as not. We all are creative beings. We just manifest our creativity in different ways.”
A large, brightly colored globe is carved out of old board games, dotted with dice and marbles. Miriello says the concept came to him when he was sitting in a favorite coffee shop in North Park, sketching. He sees connections between artistic experimentation and the region’s strengths in research and innovation.
“They’re all highly inventive creative processes; they just use a different palette of information,” he says. “That’s something we do fairly well as a city. It gets to our ability to spend time outside. We’re inspired by nature and beauty. You have surfers who are scientists, and artists who are also doing technology.”
Although he call’s his project “100 Worlds,” he has only created 50. He likes the idea that it’s open-ended, and the rest might come from someone who saw his work and was prompted to build their own globe. He hopes that his art will help shape visitors’ impressions about San Diego, lingering as a memory from when they first arrived, perhaps even producing a new way of thinking about travel, communities and interconnectedness.
“I love having people come and visit me because I get to open my own eyes about my city and realize just how special it is,” he says. “You get used to just paddling off to work and then you realize you live here and it’s just mind-blowingly cool.”