Botticelli, Gold Lamé and the Origin of Helicopter Parents

By Morgan Bricca April 1, 2019

Masterpiece Cover Up

About a month after I finished my Birth of Venus masterpiece for my client’s grand foyer ceiling, her mother came to visit. Her mom was of the opinion that the nudity was inappropriate for a family home and was concerned with what the neighbors might think. To resolve the family dispute, the client had me back out to cover Venus up. Since they already had a lot of gold accents in the décor, I chose a stylish gold lamé one piece, something Botticelli would surely have appreciated.

In order to paint the ceiling, I used up a portaledge, the slim cot used by rock climbers for overnight ledge sleeping and attached it to a pulley system the contractor installed. I decided to stay true to the “old masters” techniques, and I mixed pure pigments into an egg tempera base. An unexpected perk was that as paint drips fell back on to my face, I could just lick it off. Most days I was able to just skip lunch.

Nine Putti Reveal the Meaning of Life

In the library of the house, I created a replica of the centerpiece of a ceiling mural painted by Rafael in 1508, the Stanza della Signatura. Rafael originally created this ceiling mural in the papal library in 1508. In 1965, Pope Saint Paul VI had the ceiling meticulously relocated to its current location in the Vatican museum because he got annoyed with all the tourists traipsing through his office.

The mural features nine putti, the Italian word for cherubs. The word Putti comes from the Latin root putare which means troublemaker. Fortunately, they are all potty trained.

Rafael painted nine putti to represent the nine personalities of the Enneagram, which, as was confirmed in the Da Vinci Code, was used in Renaissance Italy to determine which children would be allowed to attend university. In fact, several Ivy Leagues are currently considering reviving the tradition in order to improve the fairness and transparency of their acceptance process.

I would like to digress a moment to appreciate the amazing contributions to the arts and sciences made by Leonardo da Vinci, despite the fact he did not receive a university degree in either one. He might be proud to learn that, without one of his most prescient inventions, there would be no such thing as helicopter parents. Helicopter babies, of course, made famous by their putti cousins, have been a cultural phenomenon since they were first sighted flying in a barley field near Florence in the mid 14th century.

The owner recently decided to put this modern palace on the market. Although it might be one of the more expensive routes to procure a “Morgan”, to entice the new buyer, I hid a puzzle that will unlock 9 bitcoin into the mural. In five years, the bitcoin will be worth more than the house itself so, all things considered, it would be a worthwhile investment.

I wanted to include a QR code in the mural so that guests at their next house party could shoot me a virtual tip, but the client felt that a QR code might clash with the floral print on Spring’s dress. We compromised by including my PayPal ID under my signature. As I have said many times before in this blog, creative collaboration is all about compromise.

Thanks again for following my work and I am wishing you very happy… April Fools.

P.S. In all seriousness, I loved this creative challenge and the team that made this project awesome. Thank you, Chiara, for coming all the way from Italy to help me with this masterpiece. Thank you Alan, for meticulously managing a million moving parts, and also Liz and Calvin of Concept Creations who transformed a whole house into a singular work of art. This team was wonderful to work with every step of the way.

Liz, Morgan, Alan, and Calvin
Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca is a mural artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her clients run the gamut from professional creatives, including architects and designers to building owners, school administrators and community advocates. When she is not making art, Morgan enjoys sipping boba tea with her kids and taking naps on the couch.


Our entire staff enthusiastically appreciates the artistic transformation of our clinic. The kids here for medical services LOVE the murals as well. One of our young patients returned from emergency psychiatric services for a self-harm issue and when she came into our office she had a huge smile upon seeing the mural. It is amazing to all of us how immediately a depressed patient responded to the mural art.

It has been a pleasure to work with you. We love both your work and the positive environment and spirit you have instilled in our kids.  Once again Morgan, thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart.

Warm regards,

Chia-Chen Lee
Juvenile Hall Medical Clinic Pediatrics

Review for Juvenile Hall Mural Project by Chia-Chen Lee

Morgan blew it out of the water.  As a general contractor, I would say my decision to hire Morgan for this mural is one of the best decisions I have made in terms of impact of my work.  Every kid will remember this mural as long as he or she shall live. Watching a child see the mural for the first time is an experience words can’t describe. It’s mesmerizing to them. Adults too, for that matter. It’s a show stopper.  So much better than I could have ever imagined.

I would go out of my very busy way to recommend Ms. Morgan Bricca on every possible level, with no hesitation. Please feel free to call me if you are considering hiring Morgan but can’t quite take the leap. I will be glad to push you in.

Chris Carver
Aquatic Management Group
Raleigh, North Carolina

Mural artist review by Chris Carver

Morgan offers a unique collaborative approach with her clients. On our project, she struck the perfect balance; she listened to our ideas and feedback but very much maintained her role as the creative expert, making us feel comfortable the entire time.

I would absolutely recommend Morgan with no hesitation. With all that she has done, she is going to find the right approach for just about any client.

Jonathan Meyer
VP, Marketing and Community Relations
San Mateo Credit Union

Mural painter review by Jonathan Meyer

We absolutely love our mural! I anticipated that it would add beauty and a much-needed “nature element” onto our campus, I never could have imagined what a huge impact this would have on our school. I have seen countless children, parents, and teachers walk by in awe, totally captivated. Not only does it make our campus a brighter, more beautiful place to learn and play, it reminds our entire community of the tremendous importance of art. This is a gift beyond measure, especially in tech-obsessed silicon valley. Once again, you have exceeded my (already high) expectations!

You are so fun, inspiring and professional to work with and your projects in our kinder yard and now this mural have been my most satisfying collaborations on PTA.


Christy Flahavan
PTA President
Springer Elementary School

Mural Artist Review for Springer Elementary School by Christy Flahavan

The real value and pleasure of working with Morgan was that we connected with her. She was very personable, very sincere, very collaborative, but not one to sit back and let us lead it in a wrong direction. We trusted her completely from the past work she had done for us, and told her, “here is a wall, do something with it – surprise us.” It’s like dealing with a friend.

The murals she has created for us make our home more intimate, warm, and personal. I was surprised at how quickly she worked, how easily it got done, and how watching the process was enlightening. It just flowed; it was like watching a very large masterpiece being created before our very eyes. It was especially interesting when she got into the tonality and the tints. For us, it turned out better than we could have expected. I absolutely recommend her without a doubt.

Mural Painter Review by Sandy Bland

Morgan, the mural you created for our building has been a major attraction for both locals and visitors in Downtown Napa. The transformation of an eye sore, to a work of art, has been nothing short of amazing. I feel a little guilty receiving so many compliments for your work, however that doesn’t stop me from stealing part of your credit. Your attention to detail and sensitivity, bringing the Wappo tribe into the process, unified Napa’s residents with its history. This public recognition of the Wappo Indians is long overdue, reminding us all of a different time in the Napa Valley when nature and people could live harmoniously.

Every day, as I watch children and adults transported to an earlier time in the Napa Valley, I appreciate your ability to be the vehicle for their journey. I hope soon you will return to sprinkle some more fairy dust on another wall, so I can watch your magic talented creations at work.

Thank You,
Michael L Holcomb

Mural Artist Review by Michael L Holcomb

Hi Morgan,

We had an end of the school year party at our house and everyone raved about your mural. I see your name and date, 2012, on it and can’t believe it was 4 years ago.

Just wanted you to know it brings me joy every day.

Josh Weinstock

Mural Artist Review by Josh Weinstock

I have worked with Morgan on five mural projects at our house over the past six years. I love her work and she is a pleasure to work with. Once you see how transformed your space is by the first mural, it is easy to start seeing other rooms that could benefit from a “Morgan”.

Susan Wojicki
CEO, YouTube

Mural Painter Review by Susan Wojicki

Morgan’s work is exquisite. She loves what she does, works extremely fast, and is a true pleasure to work with.

David DaPonte
Architect, HKS

Mural Painter Review by David DaPonte

Without fail, anytime someone comes to our house who hasn’t seen the painting, they comment on it and how much they like it.

Adam King
Director, Intel Corporation


Mural Painter Review by Adam King