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Angelica Trimble-Yanu BFA’19 brings together tradition and technology for the artwork in Google’s new flagship store

by Linda Lenhoff,

PNCA graduate Angelica Trimble-Yanu BFA’19 is making such a splash with her work that she caught the eye of tech-giant Google. The company recently asked her to design the art for its huge new flagship store in Mountain View, Calif. Trimble-Yanu used an interdisciplinary approach to printmaking and sculpture that highlights the relationship between innovation and sustainability — perfect for Google’s brand philosophy. Her art, including the piece for Google entitled Maka Oniye (Breathing Earth), evokes an ancestral remembrance of her sacred homelands in the Makȟóšiča (Badlands) and the Ȟe Sápa (Black Hills).

Trimble-Yanu believes her focus on Indigenous knowledge and sacred landscape complemented the store’s atmosphere.

“Google approached me mostly because my work is so centered around those things but also because when they were creating the store, they were really concerned with using recycled materials,” she says. “They were interested in this innovative approach to building with sustainability and the local ecology in mind.”

While working on the project, Trimble-Yanu realized that she’d need to incorporate AI into her art. “I’m a very traditional printmaker, so intersecting these two worlds seemed almost impossible at first,” she says. Utilizing a machine learning program called Gigapixel, the artist upscaled an eight-by-eight-inch monotype print into a 107-square-foot piece of wall art.

Google liked Trimble-Yanu’s work so much that they asked her to exhibit some of the original monotypes in the store. In her work, she uses Lakota colors — black, white, yellow, and red — and numerical structures found in traditional ceremonies. “I try and take these traditional shapes and forms and transfer them into my work that is a little more abstract, which at the heart of it has a deep connection to our traditions,” she says.

Trimble-Yanu, whose Bachelor of Fine Art degree focused on printmaking and sculpture, acknowledges that her PNCA courses and instructors supported her passion for exploring Indigenous concepts and culture. She cites her Advanced Processes and Combined Print Media course with Senior Associate Dean Kate Copeland as being pivotal for her thesis project and career, allowing her to push the boundaries of traditional printmaking to express herself. By allowing her to combine video, printmaking, and performance, Trimble-Yanu says PNCA “pushed her to think outside of the box conceptually and also materialistically.”

PNCA’s dedication to community-based practice also fit perfectly with Trimble-Yanu’s own philosophy. Last year, she served as a visiting artist for the Oregon Art Literacy program, sharing her practice with children at the Metzger and Bridgeport Elementary Schools. “I’m trying to work for our future generations,” she says. “I’m thinking about the future community of Indigenous artists and kids.”

The busy artist is grateful to PNCA’s instructors and fellow students for their support.“I just felt like there was such support to really find your voice as an artist,” she says.

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