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 had never thought about creating public artwork.

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 Calls for Art projects in a public space.

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.

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.

Projects

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,
2018

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.