Chicken of the Woods (Oakland YMCA)

As an urban forager, I am interested in the edible flora and fungi of Northern California. One such is chicken of the wood, an edible and rubbery mushroom that can often be found on the eucalyptus trees that line some of the Bay Area’s most popular trails. The part of the fungi we can see, the fruiting body, has a striking appearance. The yellow-orange meat fans in large, shelf-like layers. Its delicate horizontality and naturalistic form contrasts with the robust, vertical geometry of the host tree’s trunk. The mushroom’s layers are especially bright against dull bark.

This bold contrast catalyzed this project’s genesis. I experimented with applying a whimsically naturalistic form to a harsh, rectilinear, urban structure. Using the Downtown Oakland YMCA parking lot, I played with freeform visual and form logics to create an urban green space among skyscrapers.

Process Collage