Mural Collaborations with lululemon

By Morgan Bricca June 5, 2019

Click for time lapse

lululemon Napa Vineyard Mural. Click the image to watch a time lapse of the mural being painted.

 

Leaning back into a “yin” experience

Last week I was at a yoga retreat in Dominical, Costa Rica. The evening yin yoga classes were profound. The yoga sanctuary, a thoughtful curation that included the physical layout and organization of the space, as well as the art, music, and props, as well as the tone and expertise of instruction, was designed to create a proufoundly peaceful and expansive experience. And it was. The experience I had was a thoughtfully curated collaboration of many artists working together as a team: from the business owner who conceived of creating this yin-rich retreat experience, to the management, designers, artists, and teachers. As I write I’m listening to music from one of the classes, extending that singular experience back to my “real life”. A memento that reminds me of the whole immersive experience.

My work as a visual artist is only one aspect of a larger effort; I work alongside other creatives to curate remarkable environments, springboards for immersive experiences. I recently collaborated with lululemon for their new Napa and Los Gatos retail stores. I witnessed firsthand the thoughtful execution and level of detail that is considered so that every store has the feel of their brand. My role as a visual artist is to translate a feeling, narrative, or “in-vironment”, into the environment, and make sure it aligns with the overall vision for the space.

lululemon Napa, Hiker’s mural.

 

In my life, brand loyalty has meant whatever I can scrounge up on the racks of my local Goodwill store. After watching how lululemon rolls, I have been converted into a fan. Their manifesto bags are famous, but, even better, they live their manifesto in their company culture. Their big picture is solid: they pay attention to ethical supply chain, environmental impact and also donate to community impact yoga programs around the world. If you have owned a lululemon garment personally, you have experienced the longevity, many times over, compared with “best price” athletic wear. The lululemon culture is positive, supportive, and markedly pro-female.  When we were in the design phase, the manager for the new Los Gatos store reached out to see if I wanted to take a hike. Not metaphorically, but literally. Making friends at work is baked in to the culture.

lululemon Los Gatos, Rowing mural, detail.

 

The Napa store had already opened when I started painting. When I am painting I am very much a fly on the wall, perched in the corner, my mind absorbed with an obscure section of a flat surface while the rest of the world continues on its merry way around me. From this vantage point I’ve developed a delightful eavesdropping habit. I was privvy to team meetups where the lululemon ambassadors (employees) connected over questions like “What is your current theme song?” or “When did you have your best customer service experience outside of the store?” or simply, “What’s up for you today?”  I obeserved the easy camaraderie among employees, and their conversations were as genuine with the guests (shoppers) as with each other. They were wasting a LOT of time building relationships with guests. They were unmistakeably having fun. Half the employees I talked to in the Napa store said their primary reason for working there was for fun, the way one might join a sorority in college if membership came with an employee clothing discount. Mostly they had other jobs to pay the bills. One ambassador I met was retired but told me that working there made her feel youthful and hip and got her out of the house. True story. And she was.

Click to watch the mural being painted.

lululemon Napa, Vineyard detail. Morgan and Napa Store Manager, Genina Bradley.

 

The creative direction for the artwork was to celebrate the local landscape and outdoor adventure. Any project that requires me to put on my hiking boots to conduct research is a project I am happy to take on. I understood they wanted to preserve the clean aesthetics of the store, that the art would help create a soft container for a luxury product and experience. An ultra-soft color palette with simple, expansive compositions would inspire store guests to enjoy the outdoors without overwhleming the space visually. The glazes and soft layers are ambient more than arresting.

lululemon Los Gatos, Rowing mural.

 

If you are near the Los Gatos store or Napa store, I hope you stop by to see the artwork in situ. The Napa store is located directly below the Beckstoffer landscape mural I painted on the side of the adjacent building. Standing across the street from the store you can see peeks of both mural projects with just a tilt of your chin.

Click to watch the time lapse

Napa dressing room mural. Click on the image to watch a time lapse of this mural being painted.

 

Something else I appreciate about lululemon: they use normal sized, everyday women as models for online shopping and in their advertising.

I was running an errand at my local Target last night and at the entrance was a floor to ceiling photo of a full figured woman in a bikini. I almost started crying. Not because it is bikini season again, but because she was super sexy, and it looked like she was having too much fun in life to skip a meal or indulge in self-loathing. The bikini’d mannequins around the ad were also diverse shapes and sizes. I I choked up as I tried to explain to my fourteen year old daughter  how momentous it was that corporate marketing is finally ready to celebrate female gorgeousness in all its diversity. Being fourteen, she rolled her eyes as I enthusiatically delivered my speech, but I didn’t need to say a thing, the message from store advertising spoke louder than mom’s words: Don’t confuse being skinny with being beautiful. I feel grateful to all the corporate brands that are embracing this trend. It’s time to stop the nonsense.

lululemon Los Gatos, Lexington Reservoir mural.

 

Each store has an “About the Artist” plaque. The plaque in the Los Gatos Store reads:

Our environment influences how we feel, and how we feel influences our actions. I create murals with nature-based imagery because I believe the calming influence of nature is the perfect antidote to our fast-paced culture. My hope is that seeing the artwork will inspire viewers to lace on their running shoes or boots and experience the trails firsthand.

I love painting large-scale murals because the process engages all of my physical and creative capacities. I blend and layer rapidly drying pigments, keeping in mind the vision of what I want to create and how it will serve the space.

“Breathe Deeply” is my favorite manifesto quote because a single deep breath can ground my whole body and mind into the present so that I can create my best work.

Hot Off the Mic!

I released three new episodes of my podcast, If These Walls Could Talk, last month. There is something for everyone:

If you want to learn how to coordinate a mural project for your children’s school, my interview with Christy Flahavan offers insights into the process. She walks us through her multi-year effort that led to several high-impact mural projects at Springer Elementary School in Los Altos.

Episode Eight: Christy Flahavan

If you have wondered how YOU could bring more art into your downtown community, you will enjoy this thoughtful episode with Jason Newblanc. This software engineer persisted for years to get the ball rolling on a few public art projects in Redwood City. His civic efforts were critical in galvanizing a now vibrant public art agenda in Redwood City.

Episode 9 with Jason Newblanc

If you are an artist ready to be inspired, then my interview with Ink Dwell Co-Founder Jane Kim is the episode for you. Jane is the complete package: serious about her craft, her message, and her tiny brushes. I’m sorry you won’t be able to enjoy her dimpled smile and cute overalls on the podcast, but you will understand quickly why Jane is a powerful creative voice for nature conservancy today.

Episode 10: Ink Dwell

My daughter, in the heart sweater, out shopping with mom.

Thank you for reading, for listening, and for breathing deeply.

Namaste,

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.

WHAT CLIENTS ARE SAYING

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.

Warmly,

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.

Warmest,
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