Nov. 8, 2021

How Murals Bring People Together: A Conversation with Bryan Snyder

Want to listen to their discussion? CLICK HERE

Find out more about the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.

Would you ever like to paint a mural? On this episode of the Carlsbad People, Purpose, and Impact Podcast, Bret Schanzenbach spoke with Brian Snyder, the creative director of Snyder Art and Design. He has spearheaded a variety of projects in the city of Carlsbad, including the new Alley Art Wall, which will be the city’s first Recreation Mural Space—a dedicated area for aspiring muralists of all ages to practice their technique and nurture their passion for art.

Carlsbad-raised and San Francisco-trained, Bryan Snyder is passionate about using art to bring people together, celebrate life, and spark creativity. Whether it is creating an art wall for local artists, establishing a space so people can express themselves creatively, or learning new artistic mediums to celebrate people’s lives, Bryan is ready and willing to serve those in the community with intentionality, brilliance, and innovation. In this conversation, Bryan and Bret talk about the various projects Bryan has done in the Carlsbad area and the exciting new path he is taking as he seeks to merge his love for art with his passion for teaching kids. 

Inspired to Thrive: Using Beauty & Creativity to Serve the Community

Until he attended college in San Francisco, Bryan Snyder had spent his entire life in Carlsbad. When he graduated in 2006, he returned home, eager to get reinvolved in the community. He soon got a job as a digital illustrator for a screen printing company, and he saw that, in the span of three years, Carlsbad had changed. “I realized what I loved about San Francisco was this rich artistic culture. And when I came down here, I realized Carlsbad was so amazing, but I felt like this rich artistic culture had room for improvement,” Bryan says.

Certainly, there was a creative culture in Carlsbad and many fantastic artists in the city; however, Bryan could not sit on the sidelines. He eventually stopped working at the company where he was a digital illustrator and opened his own studio in the heart of the Village. This has led to incredible opportunities as he has developed art projects that impact the city and beyond.

Now, Bryan spearheads efforts to showcase art, stimulate local economic growth, and help people get their messages out. His passion for the community has led him to expand his horizons as he does whatever he can to ensure that kids are able to pursue creative endeavors. Alongside the artistic work that he leads throughout Carlsbad, Bryan is also in a program to become a middle school science and art teacher.

“I was using my vacation pay to volunteer at schools to help inspire kids to find their love for art. And at that moment, I knew it was time to make that commitment,” he says. “I'll always be creating art. I'll always be creating these community events. I'll be doing graphic design, video, editing, web design—all the things I love doing. And I hope to merge it into the classroom where I can inspire kids to do the same thing.”

Certainly, this is an exciting new chapter Bryan is stepping into, as he continues to utilize his passions to connect the community, encourage creatives to continually innovate, and inspire youth to become artists.

Connecting the Community Through Murals

In 2015, Bryan started the Carlsbad Art Wall, which has become legendary in the city and beyond. Every two months, an artist paints a new mural on the Carlsbad Art Wall. Nearly 30 artists from Carlsbad, LA, San Diego, and across the world have painted murals on the wall. “It's a learning experience for those who are aspiring to become a muralist,” Bryan notes. “It's an opportunity for the community to engage and communicate with each other, and it's an opportunity to create friendships, really. The art facilitates all that. It's almost like the art is a trophy that represents multiple steps throughout a process—and that process to me is the artwork and the connections and the community that comes together because of it.”

The Carlsbad Art Wall inspired Bryan’s latest project: the Alley Art Wall. “The Alley Art Wall came to be, not because necessarily I came up with an idea, but the community expressed a need for something. They told me a void that we had in the community and the Alley Art Wall became the solution,” Bryan explains. “For years now, kids contact me and they ask, ‘I love murals. I see them around Carlsbad. I follow muralists online on social media. And I want to be able to do that… How do I become a muralist and where do I go?’ And it hurt me to my core. Every time I told them, ‘There isn't a place for you to go.’”

When Bryan was stretching his artistic muscles as a youth, he would illegally sneak into the Pit—which is where the Reservoir, the new park in Carlsbad, now is. “I was trespassing every time and I'm not going to tell kids to do that,” Bryan says. “I had to tell them there's not a space right now, but over the years of hearing that, I started to realize, ‘Okay, there needs to be a space.’ We have ball fields for kids who want to play baseball. We have skate parks. We have swimming pools. What about the kids who want to paint murals?”

The answer was the Alley Art Wall, which will have a dedicated space for people to paint their own murals in the middle of the wall. Bryan intends to bring in 18 artists who had created a mural on the Carlsbad Art Wall to paint the space surrounding this collaboration area. Located on the side of the Ground Up Café, the collaborative space will be Carlsbad’s first recreational mural. “At any time, an aspiring muralist can come to this wall with their own supplies and practice painting. And the moment that they finish their practice, they know that the next person in line will paint over theirs,” Bryan smiles. “It's not about a masterpiece. It's about practice. And it also breaks down inhibitions because… when people know that it's temporary, they're going to be more inclined to potentially find their passion for painting murals like I did and so many other people around the world have.”  

Not only is art a powerful medium that brings the community together, it also helps increase economic growth for small businesses. The murals draw people to the city, which, in turn, allows them to explore the many amazing businesses in Carlsbad. Without a doubt, the murals create an atmosphere of collaboration, as businesses partner to support the art that is created, people donate to compensate artists’ work, and everyone is inspired to make the world a more beautiful place.  

One of the most significant ways that art creates beauty and connection is by celebrating and memorializing those who are no longer with us. This is exactly what Bryan Snyder set out to accomplish when he heard about the tragic death of Jack Munday, a 16-year-old high school student who passed away in a car crash in 2020. “It really affected me, but I hadn't known him or the family prior to that. And one day I was in my studio painting and his mom, Jo, called me out of the blue and just wanted to chat,” Bryan recalls. “After I hung up, I got on my bike and I biked to the location of the accident. And at that time there were a bunch of rocks… and on each rock was painted something about Jack… I learned a lot about Jack through those rocks and through that conversation.”

Over the course of a year, Bryan and the Munday family worked together to create a mosaic bench to honor Jack’s life. Bryan had never mosaiced before, but he spent three weeks learning how to craft a beautiful bench that would capture the joyful, inspiring, kind, fun, and adventurous person that Jack was.

Certainly, Bryan’s art impacts countless individuals throughout Carlsbad.

Click on the link below to learn more and support the Alley Art Wall!

Interview Links

Learn more about Bryan Snyder’s art here:

Reach out to Bryan:

Check out Bryan’s Twitter:

Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn:

Watch Bryan’s YouTube Channel:

Friend Bryan on Facebook:

Follow Bryan on Instagram:


Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting here: