citizen stories: Alexandra Bowman

The news is out. citizenM Menlo Park is now open! To celebrate, we’re meeting three special citizens who embody the energy, ambition and personality of the Bay Area. It’s not all tech bros and Patagonia vests here – although it wouldn’t be the Bay without them! – it’s a hotspot of culture, nature and art that we’re now lucky enough to call home. 

citizenM Menlo Park hotel

Meet Alexandra Bowman, a Bay Area-based artist who citizenM commissioned to create a facade for our Menlo Park hotel. The piece, titled ‘Taking Flight’, towers above the ground with rich, vibrant colours and spotlights the local community of Menlo Park. We chatted about how her environment feeds her craft, involving the viewers in her art and her true thoughts about connecting with others. Say hello, citizens!

First off: tell us who you are.

Hi! I’m Alexandra Bowman. I’m an artist and muralist, based in Oakland, California.


What’s one thing people might not know about the Bay Area?

There’s a very rich history of social and activist movements here. Anywhere from the Black Panther Party to the Free Speech movement that started in Berkeley. There’s so much energy in the Bay Area, a whole lot of innovative, forward-thinking and overall vibrant culture.

What common themes or messages can one find in your work?

My work deals a lot with human connection and diversity that’s inspired by my community. It’s very diverse and vibrant. I like to be able to tell all different types of stories because my goal, when creating work, is to create an experience for the viewer. I value having other people being able to see themselves in what I create, to resonate with it somehow.

What does connection mean to you?

Connection means seeing yourself in other people, to be able to see others in yourself. It’s really just empathy. I believe that art can generate empathy, and that’s very meaningful to me.

How do technology and art intersect in the Bay Area?

They both have quite a presence here. I think that the more we create technology, it shows how important those physical, analogue connections are. There’s an importance in finding that balance, of being online and listening to people’s stories that you might not always have in front of you, but also being able to understand that so much of life happens right in front of us.


What valuable lesson have you learned through travelling?

You can be anywhere in the world and make it feel like home. There are a lot of differences that we have as human beings, but we have so much more in common. It’s a beautiful reminder when travelling to somewhere new. 

What was your path to becoming an artist?

I got started doing art at a very young age. I grew up going to museums, taking figure drawing classes and always carrying my sketchbook around – I was able to find my artistic voice through doing that. It was just the one thing that I was confident doing, made me happy and it gave me an outlet to express myself.

Talk to us about the mural you created for citizenM Menlo Park.

The piece I created is a celebration of the community in Menlo Park, and also our connection to the natural landscape in the surrounding area. We’re sitting right on the edge of a wildlife sanctuary for birds, there’s a ton of different birds flying around and beautiful native flowers and plants. I just wanted to take all these elements and combine them into one huge piece together.

What do you want people to feel when they see your art?

I would like them to experience joy and appreciation for one another. I’d love for them to see themselves in my work – I love creating public art specifically because people can experience that connection to my work just walking down the street.

How do technology and art intersect in the Bay Area?

They both have quite a presence here. I think that the more we create technology, it shows how important those physical, analogue connections are. There’s an importance in finding that balance, of being online and listening to people’s stories that you might not always have in front of you, but also being able to understand that so much of life happens right in front of us.

What valuable lesson have you learned through travelling?

You can be anywhere in the world and make it feel like home. There are a lot of differences that we have as human beings, but we have so much more in common. It’s a beautiful reminder when travelling to somewhere new. 

What was your path to becoming an artist?

I got started doing art at a very young age. I grew up going to museums, taking figure drawing classes and always carrying my sketchbook around – I was able to find my artistic voice through doing that. It was just the one thing that I was confident doing, made me happy and it gave me an outlet to express myself. 

thanks, citizen Alexandra!

You can experience Alexandra’s art at our newly-opened citizenM Menlo Park – a quick 30-minute drive from San Francisco, right on the edge of the Meta campus. Make your Bay Area visit even better with our XL king-size beds and art-packed living rooms in a playful, tech-forward hotel.

book citizenM Menlo Park