ARTIST Q & A: ERIC LOUIE ON CREATING A MURAL FOR FACEBOOK

Recently we chatted with Eric Louie about the mural design he completed for the lobby of Facebook’s Vancouver office.  He was one of two local artists selected for the Facebook Artist in Residence Program to create an original mural for the company’s headquarters and was given the timeline of 1 week to complete it.

1. What was your concept for the mural?

My goal was to convey a sense of life in motion. I envisioned the mural and the bustling and transient lobby space as a portal to a virtual world and wanted to transform the elevators into flood gates leading into the expansive space.

2. Did you face any challenges while creating the mural?

I found the large scale of the mural to be a challenge but the hardest part was painting with acrylic. The quick drying time of this type of paint made things difficult as I’m heavily reliant on blending techniques...I had to work fast and improvise my approach to achieve a similar effect on the wall as I do in my oil paintings. I also cut directly onto the wall’s surface using exacto blades which was tricky because of the drywall’s tendency to flake.

3. Have you worked on any murals in the past?

This was my 4th mural.  I have done a couple murals in town that year for Granville Island (Art Smash in the Forge space) and for Strathcona Brewery. The creative director for the Vancouver Mural Festival helped set up these opportunities for me which I think led to my presence online as a candidate for Facebook.  

4. Can you describe your creative process with this project?

After some brief design planning and a digital project proposal, I began painting. I have always worked from a contemplative approach where taking time to reflect and edit is important.  I’m not good at being a designer who comes up with an image and executes it to a tee, but instead like to get into the moment and see where things go unexpectedly. I thought it seemed gutsy to improvise on such a big project but I had to trust in my ability as an artist to follow through. 

“Art should always be a surprise otherwise what is the point?”

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Established in 1965, Bau-Xi Gallery represents both Canadian and International artists, exhibiting Modern and Contemporary painting, photography, and sculpture in three art galleries in Toronto and Vancouver.

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