I was flying out of San Jose this past weekend when I saw this amazing mural. It was pretty hard to miss. It’s huge! 7 stories and 1200 feet long wrapping around the entire east side of the airport’s new rental car and public parking garage currently under construction.
It’s titled “Hands” and was created by an artist named Christian Moeller. It was commissioned by the San José Public Art Program to be a creative and cost-effective way of covering space.
It’s made out of two layers of wire mesh. The back layer is a tight mesh to create a background for the image. The front mesh is a bigger mesh much like a chain link fence. There are about 400,000 white plastic “pegs” hand snapped into the bigger mesh to create a high-resolution image. Think about the schools you drive by in small towns that have taken plastic to-go cups and stuck them in the fence to spell something like “GO TIGERS” or whatever the mascot may be. The whole mural is basically done the same way.
I hope to get the chance to go back and shoot this building properly. It’s kinda hard to get the shot you want while in the extended section of a small extended-cab truck ;)
Below is selected text from a news release in 2009 from the Mineta San José International Airport
“Airports are meeting places where moments of intense emotional connection occur as people arrive and depart. During a considered public process, Christian Moeller listened to our community and captured that emotion and the importance of our airport’s relationship to our region’s people, history, and technology,” said Mary Rubin, Project Manager for the San Jose Public Art Program.
According to Moeller, “Hands are one of the most expressive parts of the human body and have facilitated communication, technology and innovation throughout time.” The image will be approximately 60 feet high, comparable to the height of the faces on Mt. Rushmore from chin to forehead.
Fifty-four Silicon Valley residents posed as models for Moeller’s image composed of hands. Participating community members represent a spectrum of the South Bay’s population, including a tamale maker and a surgeon, teachers and students, technologists and construction workers, musicians and poets, parents and children, police officers and fire fighters.
“Our hands are active in our communications. Our hands facilitate our endeavors, they interpret and distinguish and inspire. ‘Hands’ is a brilliant expression that will be open to many interpretations, but will need no translation for the incredible diversity of the visitors and residents who will engage with the artwork,” said Rubin.