A man claiming to have deciphered the jumble of words on the ceiling of the newly built Brighton Street “comfort station” (bathroom) in Ocean Beach presented his case to the Ocean Beach Town Council on September 26.
Jeff Russell read off what he considered to be negative phrases that local artist Shinpei Takeda put into his vision for the ceiling of the bathrooms. All were quotes from the OB Rag, a local online newspaper. Russell said he googled each one: “fatal shooting of a dog by police officers” and “anger expressed on Newport Avenue will translate to violence” were two that he read.
This reporter conducted an impromptu survey at the bathrooms a few days ago, asking over 25 people coming out of the bathrooms if they had looked up to see the quotes there. One hundred percent of them said they never even looked up. When I brought this up at the meeting, many in the crowd laughed.
One man defended the artist, saying that art is subjective and that there are negative things sometimes in art and it is part of the artist's vision.
Though Russell had a printout of all the quotes and started to read them off, the town council stopped him. They did admit that when the ad hoc committee was given the plans a couple of years ago, not all of the quotes and phrases were laid out for the board to see.