New Pre-security Mural at San Francisco International Airport Brings Joy to Travelers during Construction

San Francisco-based artist Jason Jägel’s When Pink Elephants Fly mural is an exuberant and light-hearted reflection on modern-day travel

Colorful mural depicting human and non humans at an airport

Starting in early June, travelers passing through San Francisco International Airport’s temporary Terminal 1 will have the opportunity to see acclaimed local artist Jason Jägel transform a blank wall into a work of art. Commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission, When Pink Elephants Fly is a colorful mural that explores the humor and humanity in modern air travel.

“Jason Jägel’s mural is an absolute crowd-pleaser,” says Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission Tom DeCaigny. “Our partners at SFO really understand the power and importance of high quality artwork to ensure a positive passenger experience. We are thrilled to debut this new temporary mural, and we hope travelers will enjoy the added bonus of seeing the artist’s creative process.”

“While Terminal 1 is in the midst of a transformation, the presence of public artwork ensures the space continues to surprise and delight,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “We are proud that our evolving facility can provide a canvas for local artists like Jason Jägel, and we appreciate the ongoing support of the San Francisco Arts Commission.”

When completed, the mural will occupy a 41’W by 25’H expanse located near the security entrance to Terminal 1. The core of the mural’s design is a patterned arrangement of colored shapes. According to the artist, his intention is for the mural to stimulate the senses with an energetic composition that emphasizes color relativity using subtle mixtures of light and dark, saturated and unsaturated hues in a rhythmic and exuberant combination. The design includes a diverse cast of characters, human and non, arranged to reflect the multi-directional movement of airport travelers and to invite broad opportunity for curiosity and identification.

Jägel states, “I am really excited to get started on this mural. It will be such an honor to have an artwork at SFO, where it will be seen by thousands of people on a daily basis. All of these playful and suggestive images are an invitation to the joyful realms of imagination where people may conjure their own stories, ultimately completing the work by making it their own.”

San Francisco International Airport’s public art program, provided by the San Francisco Arts Commission through the City’s “2%-for-art” program, offers a permanent collection of paintings, sculptures and site-specific artworks that reflect the Bay Area’s vibrant and diverse culture. The collection comprises close to 100 objects in a diversity of styles and media by artists of local, national and international acclaim.

Original completed in 1961, Terminal 1 was due for a major upgrade to its operations and passenger experience. The redevelopment plan for Terminal 1 generated several public art opportunities that will be developed in tandem with the new construction. The Arts Commission aims to commission dynamic contemporary art that offers the traveler and residents a powerful and continuous experience with art within the context of the airport environment. The selection of artists to create large-scale, site-specific artworks and installations, architectural integrated pieces, and the purchase of both two dimensional and discrete artwork is currently underway.


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