Los Altos resident Morgan Bricca has turned her unusual talent – transforming walls into stories – into a profession, and now she’s written a book about her career as a muralist.
Bricca recently published “The Mural Artist’s Handbook” in hopes of empowering others to follow their artistic aspirations and turn them into independent businesses.
In 1999, Bricca left her corporate tech job for a slower-paced life and to let her inner “handywoman” blossom. She took on home improvement projects, created mosaic countertops and eventually painted her first full floor-to-ceiling mural in her condo.
“I loved losing myself in the creative process of the labor,” Bricca wrote in the book, which she self-published in November.
Soon after her career change, Bricca began taking on commissioned work and became a self-sustained artist.
“The projects kept coming, and I just pursued that,” said Bricca, who has no formal art training. “I have really experienced a lot of serendipity and synchronistic events. My whole career has been marked by a lot of good fortune and events unfolding that lead me a certain way.”
Twenty years later, Bricca has completed 524 mural projects. Many of them have been in the Bay Area – including locally at Almond, Covington, Oak Avenue and Springer elementary schools – but she has also traveled to Portugal, China, Boston and Portland, Ore., to create her art.
Bricca noted that her most memorable project was painting 15 murals across a small island in Portugal.
“That was really a dream come true for me,” she said. “It’s all about the adventure of mural painting, the unlimited creative license, painting in a beautiful place, the lifestyle. The island only has about a 1,000 people on it and there’s very little art on the island, so I was really able to transform it with my art.”
From painting to writing
Bricca said the idea of writing a book had been on her mind for more than a year, but the project didn’t take shape until she joined a writing workshop during the quarantine. She wrote the first draft in six weeks and published it within four months. The book recounts her personal journey through anecdotes, provides practical advice on materials and techniques, and offers guidelines on how to develop a sustainable career in art.
In addition to the book and a blog she started, Bricca hosts the podcast “If These Walls Could Talk,” which explores other local artists’ work and the mural art community. It is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Pocket Casts.
“I don’t fit into any sort of established real art culture, so I felt like starting my own podcast was a way to share my point of view and promote other artists I wanted to highlight, which has been really cool,” she said. “Also, I feel like I’m forming a community of like-minded artists who, like me, don’t fit into traditional street-art culture but see the value of murals and are working professionals as mural artists, and I love sharing those voices on my podcast.”