Facebook Thumbs Up, 2017
16″ x 16″, dye sublimation on aluminum

This painting was created, using an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Procreate app, from direct observation of the Facebook Thumbs Up Sign (on the reverse side of the old Sun Microsystems sign) at their corporate headquarters in Menlo Park, located at the famous street address: 1 Hacker Way. Facebook, co-founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, now has approaching 2 billion users out of a world population just short of 8 billion people. That means almost 1 in 4 humans on the planet have used Facebook. Facebook is part of the realm of the “newer wave” of Silicon Valley internet companies, alongside other giants like Google, Twitter and Wikipedia, that impact human experience and interaction worldwide on a daily basis.

Sitting there drawing the sign, watching a continuous stream of people pose in front of the sign with their thumbs up, made me reflect on how much change has happened in the course of my own lifetime. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was a student at Oxford spending a summer working in America (at Varian in Palo Alto), and staying only a short distance away from where I was now sitting in Menlo Park. It was actually 1982 in an era that now seems so pre-everything….pre-smartphone, pre-Mac, pre-internet, pre-everything we now take for granted.

This time-lapse replay video shares the creative process, brush stroke by brush stroke. See all the elements that went into the background…

This painting is part of my Iconic Places of Silicon Valley series of plein air iPad paintings which will be exhibited in the Art Ventures Gallery, Menlo Park, in the group show iPad Art: Places – 3 Brits in Silicon Valley, with an opening reception on Friday, December 1st (7 – 9pm). Here are the places featured, as part of this series, that will be included in this exhibition, listed in the order the companies were founded (founding year noted in parenthesis), starting with the oldest:


The Hewlett Packard Garage, Palo Alto (1939)


SRI International, Menlo Park (1946)


Intel, Santa Clara (1968)


Xerox PARC, Palo Alto (1970)


Apple Park, “The Spaceship”, Cupertino (1976)


Google Bikes, “Googleplex”, Mountain View (1998)


Facebook Thumbs Up Sign, Menlo Park (2004)


Twitter, San Francisco (2006)


..and, not an official part of the series, but almost (will be silent auctioned to support local arts education at show opening reception):
Cafe Borrone, Menlo Park (1979)

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