Timothy Robert Smith’s ‘Ripple Effect’ invites differing perspectives

"Ripple Effect," a mural by Laguna College of Art and Design alumnus and faculty member Timothy Robert Smith.
“Ripple Effect,” a new mural created by Laguna College of Art and Design alumnus and faculty member Timothy Robert Smith, adorns the side of the downtown parking lot at Glenneyre and Mermaid streets in Laguna Beach. The mural was supported by Community Art Project.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

After weeks of work to complete the project, a new mural called “Ripple Effect” has been installed on a side wall of Broadway restaurant in Laguna Beach.

The artwork can be seen from a downtown parking lot at the intersection of Glenneyre and Mermaid streets. Created by Timothy Robert Smith, an alumnus and faculty member in the fine arts department of Laguna College of Art and Design, the mural prominently displays recreation activities that can be enjoyed at Main Beach.

“The architecture of the entire scene is fluid, and it twists around,” Smith said. “The core idea, or the spirit of the piece, is about the diversity of perception. That’s kind of what I’m going for is perception of reality and how there’s lots of points of view out there. I’m using actual perspective, like visual perspective, as a metaphor for the different perspectives of all the different people on the planet.”

"Ripple Effect" is the sixth mural created by Timothy Robert Smith around town in Laguna Beach.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

In the painting, a woman runs under the sun along the boardwalk toward some palm trees in the distance, while other beachgoers lie in the sand. The mural spans the length of the wall.

Smith said he manipulated the perspective of the viewer, utilizing a worm’s-eye view and a dramatic twist in the floor to create the desired effect.

“It’s really fantastic, and we really thank the property owners of that building — Joan and Lise Miller — for letting us use that grand wall for this beautiful mural,” Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf said on the City Chats podcast last week. “So many people have commented to me in town about it, how much they enjoy it. It’s kind of whimsical, so if you have time, go down and check it out.”

The artist elaborated on how his reality warping manifested itself in his most recent work.

"Ripple Effect" is a new mural created by Laguna College of Art and Design's Timothy Robert Smith.
“Ripple Effect” is a new mural created by Laguna College of Art and Design alumnus and faculty member Timothy Robert Smith.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“In this one, I really wanted to emphasize that twist, so on the right side, there’s the runner — and of course, it’s a worm’s eye because you see this giant foot, so it’s from below looking up,” Smith said. “As you move to the left, the floor shifts. I guess you could say the viewer’s eye shifts, so now you’re kind of rising up and then you look at the piece from another point of view — more of a bird’s eye — and the further you go to the left, the higher up you are looking down.”

Six murals by Smith can now be found around the city. Three of them are at LCAD, another at Laguna Beach High School and one at Starbucks.

“I just feel really happy that I’m able to give back to a community that’s taught me so, so much,” Smith said while reminiscing about the skills that his education at LCAD equipped him with.

Thirteen student muralists at LCAD assisted in completing canvas sections for the mural, which was sponsored by Community Art Project, a Laguna Beach nonprofit organization.

“We were just so happy that he was teaching at LCAD and that he could draw on his students from his classes to participate in the process,” Laura Mayo, president of Community Art Project, said.

Timothy Robert Smith's mural "Ripple Effect" is located at 328 Glenneyre Street.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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