BarkingOwls Studio

Public Art is for Everybody.

I create collective experiences that bring a meaningful message about community and a positively changed urban environment.

Before producing my first commissioned piece in 2014, painting a mural for a private home in California, I was a little intimidated  about creating public art work.

It was my first time working on a larger scale and experiencing how size, space, and human interaction change the scope of a project, becoming essential to the work itself.

Soon after, I began submitting to Calls for Art projects in a public spaces, mostly in California.

In 2017, my designs were chosen for utility box murals in Redwood City and San Ramon, public sculptures in cities across California, light installations in Alameda, and a series of paintings for street planters in Tustin.

At the end of 2019, I painted a 28 feet mural for a condo lobby in the Castro district, and for 2019 and in 2020, I painted mini heart sculptures for auctions benefiting mental health programs at the SF General Hospital Foundation. Also had a chance to paint Adirondack chairs for Dublin, CA & large heart sculpture for Danville, which was auctioned off in 2020 benefiting their art programs. Recently (2021,) I completed another window & light installation for Palo Alto Public Art Microlift project called Little Fish. I’m currently creating a public art/ play for 

When creating public artwork, I seek an immediate response from the audience by choosing literal narratives and a direct interaction while working on-site open for me the opportunity to value my work outside the walls of a gallery.


Dublin Utility Art Project 2023: Moonlight Salutations

Situated at the intersection of Positano Pkwy & Solerno Drive in Dublin, CA, this utility box mural is across the street from the local daycare & community center. Not only do I get to chat with the kids getting picked up, I also get to meet the elementary & jr high schoolers on their way home. It is a very diverse neighborhood in the East Bay. Dublin reminds me quite a lot of Irvine, where I grew up. 
In this box, I designed a very whimsical dreamscape, where everything doesn’t appear as they should.

Dublin Little Free Library 2023: Can you Help me Find my Key?

My own kitty modeled for this mural on the library box. She fell asleep over a book, playing & dreaming. The birds outside watches her. Are they laughing at her or are they her guardian angels? The ladybug is busy fetching the lost key to unlock the library.

dublin utility box- before painting
dublin utility box- breeze of summer flowers

Dublin Utility Art Project 2022: Breeze of Summer Flowers

Located at the intersection of Amador Valley Blvd & Donohue Drive in the City of Dublin, CA, I painted this utility box mural in Sept 2022. I found the experience very fulfilling because it’s located right next to a very active senior center and across the street from a memory care facility. The memory care center has a couple of butterflies on their building, which as everyone knows, I love butterflies, it was perfect match for me, so i had to paint it into my box of flowers too!
dublin utility box

Picture This! a Tri-Valley temporary public art

  • Play of Fire & Water: Danville, CA
  • Submarine Portal: Dublin, CA
  • Fractaled Field,
    San Ramon, CA
This temporary art project is a collaboration between the cities in the Tri-Valley region in the Eastern Bay Area. Each up-cycled wood frames were built by the cities and painted by various artists. I was lucky to be selected for all 3 cities. The frames were up from July to end of September 2022.
garden kaleidoscope- front

Utility Box Mural:

Garden Kaleidoscope 

Dublin, CA 2021

Following the theme of the Secret Garden, I wanted to create a more playful and colorful look at this garden, like through the fractal lens of a kaleidoscope. 

The pandemic has hit everyone hard in different ways. During the time I was painting on-site, many people have stopped to say hello or honked their cars to cheer me on. I hope this mural will brighten someone’s day. 

garden kaleidoscope utility box mural

Little Fish-A community activated art project.

  Temporary installation in Palo Alto, 2021

As the 2020 Pandemic continues into 2021, the Palo Alto Public Arts Progam put out a call for art to engage community and art. My proposal to make origami fish with the public was select in the spring, It took a lot of research to gain the use of an empty storefront. The now closed J Foss store on the corner of Ramona and University is now the site of this installation. 

A website was created in the beginning as part of the community outreach. On the site, there links to the YouTube videos of folding instructions, mail-in or drop off of the folded fish, project goals, etc. The installation will be  up from now until at least end of September and beyond, until the store in rented out again,

The Butterfly’s Love Story Private commission in Danville, 2021

I was contacted after the Heart of Danville auction in 2020 by a lady who lost the bid. We decided to paint her another heart, set in the same Secret Garden storyline, but with Golden Butterflies as the main characters. In this story, the butterflies were being hunted by collectors because they’re so rare. They were guided to the Garden where they found sanctuary. 

Secret Garden The Dog of Danville, 2019

My stylized flower pattern was selected for the first
edition of The Dog of Danville project. It was on
display at a storefront for a month and then
auctioned off to a private collector. 

Adirondack Chairs Dublin CA 2020

Completed in March 2020, this design was
created for the temporary public art project:
The New American Backyard.
This is a continuation of the Secret Garden
storyline. Dogs and cats play daytime
and night-time guardians of the garden, while
hummingbirds are messengers and scouts.

Secret Garden Heart Sculpture Danville, CA 2019

The Secret Life of Rosa the Otter has recently been
auctioned off to a private collector. Rosa is a new
guest at the Secret Garden, rescued by
the residents of the garden when she was an
injured pup.

Let’s Dance Utility boxes of San Ramon,

In San Ramon’s first utility box project, my
designs were selected for a pair of side-by-side
boxes. The theme is on celebrating the arts,
and that, for me, is everything I love and makes a community. Dance, music, visual arts, movies, books, and theatre.

Planter Beautification Project, Old Town Tustin CA, 2018

The planter murals were selected during the
pandemic. I went to Tustin, paint them, and left for the public to discover the artwork, happy to be part of making this small town prettier during these challenging times.

Heart Strings SFGH Foundation

San Francisco 2020

The two mini hearts were made using everyday trash, through collage and acrylic paint techniques. I was thrilled to support the hospital’s mental health programs, the artwork was auctioned and sold to private collectors in 2020.

Ashen Bloom A Temporary Mural Installation

San Francisco, 2020


I painted Ashen Bloom in three days, for a last-minute exhibition called Future Tense. 2020 was the year
of the pandemic and BLM, a troubled election, and massive
California fires. This was also the final gallery show before their permanent closure. I paint the piece in memory of
all the trees and animals lost during the fires.

From this installation/ mural, a new series of work came about, Remnants of Ashen Bloom

Santa Ana Veterans Village The Blue Wave Bicycle Rack

Santa Ana, CA 2019

This design was based on the idea of the line of a wave. It was the first time I created a design in CAD and
presented it to the board using a 3D printer.

Century Building Lobby Mural

San Francisco 2019

Inspired by the silhouettes of the surrounding hills and the fog covering them, I loved being able to create something to warm the cold building lobby, and in a small way, brighten up the days of its residents.

Peripheral Beauty

Light Installation for Alameda Art Walk

Alameda 2019

I collected over 800 used coffee cup lids that would otherwise have ended up in the landfill. To light the installation, I used a fiber optic light engine and fairy LED lights with remote control for switching the light feature at night-time. On the window floor lay a pile of fallen leaves crafted from reclaimed food and various wrappers.

You can view the light in action on this YouTube video.

We love to hear from you.

Please get in touch to work with Sophia on creating a new collective experience or public artwork. 

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