Notes On Office Art

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[First published, Sept. 2009]

Recently on Twitter, I wrote:

Art that brightens up the office vs Art that brightens up the home. Two different vibes altogether. I prefer making the former.

To which my friend, Kathy Sierra replied:

Good! Homes are less likely to *need* brightening the way offices do. I can brighten my home just by making toast.

Whether we’re talking wee cube grenade laser copies or something much larger, like The Purple Cow Print, when I launched the gapingvoid gallery earlier this year, that was my intention- to make art for the workspace.

This desire goes back to my early years working as an advertising creative. There was always cool stuff- fine art, posters, graphic design, cartoons- hanging up everywhere. Stuff to amuse and inspire us, stuff to tweak our brains in the right direction. And though its effect on the agency’s bottom line would’ve been hard to measure, somehow it worked- or at least, helped.

Why can’t all offices be more like this? Is there some law that requires certain types of businesses to maintain a dull, gray, machine-like, life-sucking visual environment? You could ague that maybe for some companies, sure, but that’s not a world I’ve ever aspired to belong to.

“Office Art” tends to come in two main categories: 1. REALLY expensive. 2. REALLY cheesy.

I wanted to make office art that was neither…

[Afterthought:] Of course, a lot of my collectors work from home, therefore their offices are in the house, not in an office building. But the prints were made with the workspace in mind, not the “living” space, regardless.


  1. Office art stuff if done the right way be very interesting and enliven the space, We have a few posters in our office and the space feels really cool. Office art should be something that would make one stop, read and ponder, maybe even over and over, without getting bored.

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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

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His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

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