The “Tech-Start-up” Artist: Ian Ross’s Sprawling Murals Adorn the Walls of Google, Lyft, Facebook

Third-generation, San Francisco-based artist Ian Ross first became known for his “hyperorganic” paintings and murals—a term coined by one of his BFA professors to describe his vibrant, kinetic large-scale works. Over the last few years, Ross has evolved as an artist, having been hired by companies like Google AdRoll, Livefyre, and Lyft to create in-office murals, and served as the resident artist at Facebook in 2011. Consequently, he has become known as the “Tech/Start-up” artist, although he also has commissions from more established corporations such as Gap and Red Bull under his belt.

In 2012, the muralist founded his own eponymous gallery in the heart of SOMA, San Francisco, in order to give visibility to local artists and help support his favorite charities. Before opening his gallery, Ross sold his work independently through social media outlets, proving himself to be a self-sufficient millennial artist. The artist has compared his work to the emerging tech industry, saying: “Street art—it’s reactionary, about putting your work out there, on the spot, doing it illegally if you have to…about young people carving out space for themselves. That’s what these companies are doing too.”

Ross’ artistic process is spontaneous and reactive, and the painter, who is famous for his live paintings, often applies brushstrokes “without the burden of intention,” as he explains. Most inspired by his present surroundings, Ross claims he paints based on the energy around him. “Energy may be our strongest sense, yet the least understood,” says the artist.

Recently, he has transitioned to creating paint-can installations that resemble pixelated, abstract designs. This December, during Art Basel in Miami Beach, one such work will be on view at Project Gallery’s SCOPE Miami Beach presentation. You can find the artist himself on the ground during the Miami fairs in Miami Beach and Wynwood, creating new murals; Project Gallery will be sharing live updates with details via social media.

Sola Agustsson

Visit Project Gallery at SCOPE Miami Beach 2014, Booth H11, Dec. 2–7.

Follow Project Gallery on Artsy. 

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