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Editor’s Note: Little, Magic, Time-Traveling Works of Art

A look inside this month's issue where we talk art conservation, Tijuana's art scene, and local hip-hop roots
A variety of postcards collected by San Diego Magazine Executive Editor Mateo Hoke as part of December's editors note

Postcards make the world go round.

These intimate snippets of life, condensed into a finite word count, handwritten, and offered to the winds, they’re a true egalitarian art form. Anyone can write a postcard and likely find a happy audience for their efforts.

What magic.

If everyone sent one postcard per week, I’m convinced the world would be a more welcoming place for us all. Imagine: Someone writes you a little note from some far-flung local and maybe gifts you a little doodle, drops it in the mail—unsealed for the world to see—and, days or weeks later, you find yourself
holding this little one-of-a-kind work of art.

Suddenly, you’re back where that person was when they wrote to you: drinking tea in an Istanbul café or a beer in a foggy Bolivian village or instant coffee in a damp tent in Montana. The sender has moved on—left that café, packed that tent—but you’re still there each time you take that postcard off your fridge to read it again. Postcards are a time machine.

I can’t remember all the postcards I’ve sent, or all the many I’ve gotten, but I keep boxes full of them. They’re leaves on the tree of memory, each one carrying a story. You can even send them to yourself if you want to. There’s no law against it.

I once wrote a postcard to myself after traveling 10 hours out of my way to go to the Magritte Museum in Brussels, which I’d long dreamed of visiting. “Finally” was all I wrote. See, some people are sports stadium bucket-listers who long to see a game at every MLB field; some are live music freaks who, no matter the odds, will see Beyoncé or T. Swift before they die. For me, it’s art.

The Magritte Museum was only open for another hour when I got there. I would have liked to stay longer, but I saw an opportunity and I took it. Jet-lagged as I was, I didn’t want to miss what might be my only chance. Call me a fool, but art propels us toward a bigger, richer life. It fertilizes our souls.

In this issue we’re exploring art and virtuosity in SD. So much about our unique corner of the world inspires creativity, and we’re celebrating it.

We head south, north, and everywhere in between. We’re gassing up what’s to come with a huge 2024 local arts preview and then we check in on some of the incredible talents firing up Tijuana’s art scene. Staff writer Danielle Allaire takes us inside a collaboration between two local avant-garde indie theaters, and we venture out on a tour of some of LA’s weirdest museums. Neon, bunnies, and dinosaurs anyone?

We’re also exploring SD’s hip-hop roots and getting the lowdown on what $1 million does for a prolific local art conservation org. For our cover, we commissioned an oil painting from one of our favorite local artists, Encinitas’ Taylor Chapin, featuring a visual commentary on the contemporary tendency to offer our very selves up for consumption.

Our team has felt inspired while weaving this issue together. We hope it inspires you, too, to get out and experience what so many creative minds are up to around here—and to maybe create something of your own. To sing in the shower, to dance in your living room, maybe write a song. Who knows, maybe you’ll be on the cover of this magazine next year.

If you want to share your work, I accept emails, but postcards are preferred.

By Mateo Hoke

Mateo Hoke is San Diego Magazine’s executive editor. His books include Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, and Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation.

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