Yikkin' and Yakkin'

Posted on by Barry Lee

Several months back I was approached by the folks over at the YikYak Headquarters to do a mural for their communal meeting and dining space. When asked to do a mural, my only stipulation from the client was to include a Yak. I took some inspiration from my illustration for "Creative Loafing" where I had drawn a mountain man, and I started laying out some drawings of Yaks and Yodellers. I wanted to keep a very simple color scheme of 3-4 colors and I wanted to use. With that in mind I sent my client three color palettes for the wall.

The folks at YikYak opted for the color scheme with the pink & brown but also noted to use more of a greenish tone to fit with their branding, so I decided to switch the blue for more of a green. While the original sketch shows more yaks etc, when I looked at the wall it was more narrow in height than in width so I decided to reduce the amount of characters in favor of making them larger in scale. Along with the task of painting the mural I figured I'd need an assistant so I enlisted the help of my friend Alan Chiang so that the process of the mural could go a little bit faster. Alan helped me a lot with laying down the large blocks of flat color. I think I would've been there painting for two months if it wasn't for his help. 

There were a few mountains to climb (uggh I know puns) with this piece, including the fire extinguisher box and the large television. We had originally tried to move the television out of the way, I think every employee at YikYak tried frankly but it wasn't going anywhere. We made do with the space that we had, and worked our way around it. I think my favorite illusion on this mural is the how I tackled the box. 

Originally they only gave me one wall to work on, but directly next to the wall I was painting was another blank wall and they decided to let me continue the image of the mountains, yaks and mountain men over to that space. This allowed of course for a larger image and in turn created more of a space for the room at the headquarters. 

All 'n' all I had a great time painting at the YikYak HQ, the employees there were super friendly and they go around in these hover scooters which looked absolutely terrifying to ride on. (Note: I rode on one for about 3 seconds and then yelled "NOPE.") Thanks again guys for having me paint in your space!