Planet Labs
Artist in Residence
February 2014 – May 2014

Planet Labs (Planet) is an aerospace company in San Francisco, CA. Their micro-satellites called Doves monitor global change from the space, so we all can make changes to save our mother planet.

As the second artist in residence at Planet, I created various illustrative work. One of which was dedicated to an astronaut Koichi Wakata. He helped deploy Doves on top of conducting various tasks as an engineer and a scientist while he was stationed at International Space Station. We wanted to thank him for his hard work.


Title: Man On the Moon
Medium: Mixed Media
I was able to show him the artwork with the help from astronaut Ed Lu. He happened to be visiting Planet giving a talk about his recent project at Liquid Robotics the same day I finished the painting. When I showed him the painting, he was kind enough to pull out his smartphone from his pocket and say “Hey, do you want me to email him your picture holding it?”

It was surreal to have a conversation with an astronaut who is standing right in front of me and another astronaut who is currently up in the space at the same time.

We also sent this photograph over to ISS via Jaxa.


Title: Floating Shark
Medium: Acrylic

This piece is a homage to one of the floating sharks from Planet Labs.

-The Story-

It has always been a great entertainment to have/play with a remote-controlled shark filled with helium gas at Planet Labs.

One day, someone said “Why not have him float outside that big window by the courtyard? It would look like he’s in an aquarium!” So they did exactly that and shark started to flew up and up and up…It went out for an exploratory swim in the city by itself.

Engineers from Planet chased the shark in SOMA near the bay, where the lab was located at the time. The city of San Francisco is famous for the fog but it is also windy. Shark filled with helium gas could swim (fly) fast and just when they thought they caught him, it swam away.

After about an hour or two, they eventually found it floating by the dock. They went over the wire fence to catch it, but was unable to do so as it flew higher up and further.

Farewell, friend. Live long and prosper.

Title: Africa
Medium: Acrylic

Being at Planet inspired me to paint a piece representing each continent. I started by Africa, the place where I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time.

One of the engineers at Planet was from South Africa and he helped me figure out what kind of animals to paint and some interesting stories to build my imagination.