Randall Engstrom, owner of Randall’s Sandals, said he’d wanted to change the store’s walls to be more interesting, but hadn’t wanted just any beachy scene.
“I wanted something that would really be a part of the community. I heard that it was Crystal Pier’s 90th anniversary and thought it was so fitting. I loved the dynamic of something new and something old,” Engstrom said.
The mural, painted by artist Stefany Ghitea, depicts the iconic pier and the sea creatures that inhabit the ocean floor below. Engstrom had met Ghitea before he opened Randall’s Sandals, when they both worked at the Sandbar, and she’d told him that if he ever needed any painting done she’d be happy to do it.
This was a perfect opportunity, especially due to the fact that Ghitea was already familiar with Crystal Pier. She said it was one of the first places she went to when she came to San Diego and that it reminds her of all the memories she shares with others.
“It’s part of the history of Pacific Beach. It’s iconic,” Engstrom stated.
Wanting to accurately represent the community and Crystal Pier, Ghitea found inspiration for the mural by visiting Crystal Pier and getting a feel for the atmosphere. “There was some street music and families around, but what caught my eye were the surfers that had the tenacity to keep getting up on each wave near the pier,” she said.
When asked more specifically about the content of her mural, Stefany said, “You just never know what’s underneath the pier. I wanted to bring in aspects that would attract people when walking by, like the cool octopus that has tentacles coming out on the sidewalk. The contrast of all the colors makes the mural pop out and have a friendly vibe to people passing by.”
Crystal Pier has been a part Pacific Beach’s unique community since 1927 and is a popular sightseeing and fishing destination for locals and tourists.