Winds of Change


“For me, art seeks to help us see what scientific understanding truly is: an ode to the beauty of nature.” – Randy Friedl, NASA JPL Manager of Earth Science Research and Mission Formulation.

An exciting collaboration with NASA JPL, creating a large mural for their Earth Science division at the NASA headquarters in Pasadena.

Made of nearly 1000 hand-cut pieces of board painted in a gradient of tones, the installation depicts the infamous Santa Ana Winds which sweep across the coast of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula.

Working together with the team at NASA JPL Owen was able to visualise this complex weather phenomenon using a range of scientific data showing the journey of the winds, their change in strength at certain locations with a dramatic surge at the coast, as well as their increase in temperature as the winds hit the coast and then cool off again out to the ocean.

Often referred to as ‘The Devil’s Winds’ due to the forest fires and mudslides the winds create, there is also a positive outcome with the ash from the fires getting blown into the ocean leading to growth in ocean life and whales migrations. So to help tell this full story Owen also designed some small infographics depicting the effects of the Santa Ana winds on the environment at certian locations. These were then engraved into a selection of the handcut forms by Thomas Forsyth and hand-painted.

Painstakingly installed at the NASA JPL offices over two days, the whole mural was initially grounded by a stark vinyl outline of the coastline created by Puck Studio and then each leaf-like form had to be positioned by hand to perfectly represent the wind direction and strength.

The result is a sweeping infographic installation bringing some much needed life and energy to the NASA JPL Earth Science offices.

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