Featured Artist: Priscilla Witte’s Sunset Deck Murals
Overlooking the scenic waters of Lake Merced, abstract swaths of color adorn the walls flanking a rooftop deck, reminiscent of an imaginative sunset and sunrise. Just this last summer, California-based artist Priscilla Witte worked with Maximus to craft a contemporary mural for Parkmerced’s Sunset Deck, located in The Arballo Collection.
As part of a larger initiative to bring the arts to Parkmerced, this mural is just one entry in a collaboration between Maximus and local art agency Building 180 curating a diverse cultural collection across the community. To explore the process behind this partnership, we sat down with Priscilla Witte to discuss her creative journey, working with local businesses and the palette of California.
Witte originally hails from upstate New York, which may come as a surprise to those familiar with her generous use of bright and beachy colors in her collaborative projects with companies like Google, Amazon and Uber. Witte shared with us that although she’s from the East, she had always dreamed of California living: “I had envisioned California to be straight out of a Beach Boys song. Beaches filled with surfers, cool cars, free spirits, and people having fun all the time!” After uprooting and carving out her own space here at the age of 19, she found her own version of the Golden State: “I think that living here and becoming immersed in all of the sights and sounds that California offers has inspired all of my work. I was attracted to the laid back, be-who-you-want-to-be, skies the limit mentality.”
Although Witte is recognized for her work with larger entities like Redbull and Puma, the artist has also provided artwork for various local businesses in San Francisco, including the coffee shop Bloomstock and pizza joint Goat Hill Pizza. Witte’s work tends to be free-flowing and brimming with vitality: “I’m inspired by nature, music, ideas that are thought-provoking, the randomness of life, the world around me, and making people happy through my illustrations and paintings.”
Regarding the experience behind Parkmerced’s Sunset Deck mural, Witte shared her enjoyment over reuniting with female-driven collaborator Building 180: “We’ve worked together on projects in LA, but they brought me in on this Parkmerced opportunity. I love working with them!” For the Sunset Deck mural, Witte expressed her vision: “I wanted this mural to represent a sunrise on one side of the building and sunset on the opposite side. Since you can see both from the roof, I thought it would be a cool idea to keep them abstract and not looking too ‘on the nose.’” Witte’s organic shapes and abstractions are fundamental to her free-flowing process of piecing together a scene.
I wanted this mural to represent a sunrise on one side of the building and sunset on the opposite side. Since you can see both from the roof, I thought it would be a cool idea to keep them abstract and not looking too ‘on the nose.’
On working with Maximus, Witte joyfully responded, “They made me feel right at home and they were so helpful. Anything that I needed, they were on it! I love when I work with people who I not only connect with, but also feel like we could be buds. I’d love to work with Maximus again!”
We also asked Witte how she would envision the new mural in a larger context of residential interaction: “When I look at the finished mural, to me it looks like a very happy place to be! It really gives that space so much life.” Among romantic deck lighting, fire pits, and lounge chairs, “[it] seems like a great place to watch the sunset, take a selfie and have a cocktail!”
We deeply appreciate Witte’s participation in our efforts to imbue our communities with artistic expression, and are excited for the Parkmerced community to enjoy Witte’s uplifting visions of our coveted waterside sunrises and sunsets. Looking beyond California, Witte has been commissioned to paint internationally as well in Indonesia, Italy and Croatia – we’re excited to see where she takes her vibrant colors next!