Last month, I completed a sprawling, multi-surface mural at the new YouTube Headquarters in San Bruno, California.
The initial ideas for the mural came together as the building was nearing completion. During the late stages of construction, Keri Goodlad from Jensen Architects brought me onsite to get a sense of the space and imagine how my painting could exist in harmony with the building’s striking architectural elements.
The space exudes a confidence and directive momentum. The building’s exterior is a modest shell coyly housing a palatial entryway with massive windows that flood the cavernous space with light. I wanted the mural to channel that energy, while remaining distinct from the interior surfaces.
In our early conversations, Keri and I discussed color palates and how the directionality of my mural’s marks would guide the eye through the space.
Turning these ideas into tangible, visible art takes time and preparation. I did much of my early planning off-site, receiving photos of the space from the construction team building YouTube’s new office. As the photos came in, I used my iPad to digitally render marks over the images.
Shapes and colors you draft will morph as they’re manifested into reality. But, composing these ideas digitally helps me compliment the architect’s intention and get a better idea of what the client sees in their mind’s eye.
Today, YouTube’s office is completed and the marks that once only existed on my iPad now adorn the office’s two 45ft hallways. These hallways lead to rooms meant for creativity — conference rooms and auditorium spaces. I wanted to strike a balance between harmonious color fields and bold, expressive lines to conjure imagination and spark creative energy in a critical space.
The mural’s line-work jumps playfully from wall, to floor, to ceiling, even jumping through windows at times. I took extra time to line-up marks spanning from one surface to another, so the viewer can see shapes forming as they wander through the space. The contour and energy of the lines gives the mural an immense presence.
A special thanks to Part 2 Gallery for suggesting my work for this project, Jensen architects for trusting my artistic vision and collaboration, and Lynette Young from YouTube for gracefully managing the project. All photos by Margaret Austin Photography.