Part 1 of 3

This last spring I had the pleasure to conducting an art workshop with Waymo’s Andy Warburton and his wonderful hardware integration team. The workshop was to create a unique art piece of a LIDAR generated image with the Waymo modified car in the center. Broad Brush Arts set up the workshop at the Nest campus’ Google Cafe. It was a 2-hour workshop after an all-day team building meeting. The engineers arrived a half hour early and were initially a bit shy and skeptical.

Once they saw the large plot of the imagery and I explained the project to them, they were excited! They were divided into 7 teams and had to work together within their own team and with other teams. The challenge behind this project was that the 27 panels were arranged in a non linear fashion. The palette color choices were special pigments by Golden paint that are vibrant. The engineers were encouraged to be creative, expressive and to allow for happy accidents. I made an analogy that the pre-primed dark canvas was like a vehicle and it was up to them to punch out the holes and add the UI/UX. I saw the spark in their eyes as I mentioned this. I talked about the way they touch users through their outward facing interface. A work of art does this in similar ways.

Off they went to their easels rolling up their sleeves. They were eager to dive right into the painting. They painted to Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue”. They had laser sharp focus and jived to the music. I went around and gave each of the 26 engineers individual attention and help. This was a great opportunity to guide them through the creative process where they were given permission to be expressive. This is the opposite of their engineering work, yet the project had a good balance of structure and room for individual expression. It was wonderful to see people opening up and some were conquering their fear of painting.