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Local artist captures ‘The Facebook Effect’

A mural commissioned by Facebook to local artist Ron Raasch now hangs at the Prineville Data Center

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - “The Facebook Effect,” the 8' by 26' painting, painted by Ron Raasch and commissioned by Facebook, now hangs at the Prineville Data Center.

It’s not often that an artist has the opportunity to have their work grace the walls of a social giant like Facebook.
   Powell Butte artist Ron Raasch, whose studio overlooks the historic Three Springs Ranch eight miles away from the Facebook Prineville Data Center, recently completed the mural, “The Facebook Effect.” The 8' by 26' painting now hangs at the data center, after Raasch was commissioned by Facebook to complete the massive project.
   Raasch said on Wednesday that they originally used a photographic process on canvas, which was blown up six times. The original, a 16 x 52 acrylic study for the work, was photographed by Digicraft in Portland and printed on eight canvas panels. Pacific Arts in Redmond took the (eight) 4' x 6.6' panels and stretched them onto custom stretcher bars.
   Raasch built a huge easel and repainted each panel adding the finer details.
   “I had to repaint every panel,” he said.
   Facebook worked closely with Raasch to come up with the final design. He presented six designs before they decided on the layout for the mural.
   “It was a 14-month project,” he added.
   Facebook spokesperson Lee Weinstein commented that Facebook wanted to commission a local artist, and Facebook Pacific Northwest Data Center Manager Ken Patchett approached Raasch.
   “It was a great deal of work for him, but I think it was a fun project for the folks at Facebook and they are really pleased with the outcome,” said Weinstein.
   Raasch commented that the entire project was a challenge, but he enjoyed it thoroughly. The process of getting the mural completed was an evolution in many ways. It required a great deal of collaboration between Facebook and the artist.
    “We hauled the panels over to Facebook and, with the help of the Facebook crew, all the panels were bolted together and hung,” explained Raasch.
   The mural, which was installed in November at the data center, depicts seven cowboys (and a dog and a family of quail) being social. On the left, two young boys, one with a laptop and the other with a smart phone, chat and use Facebook. On the right, three adult cowboys chat — one with a tablet and another giving the familiar Facebook “thumb’s up” or “Like.” In the background, two people in a jeep approach the data center.
   “I’m totally happy with the mural,” says Raasch. “I think it’s amongst my finest work. Every theory of art is in there --all the values.”
   Raash said that he works with all art mediums—including cartoons. He created political cartoons for the Central Oregonian for more than 11 years. He chose acrylic for the Facebook mural because it was the most logical medium to work with. Oils would have been too toxic and would have dried too slow, and watercolors just wouldn’t have worked at all.
   He has attended over 20 workshops given by modern masters of art in varied mediums of his choosing. Being a founding member of PAPO (Plein Air Painters of Oregon) allowed him to hone his skills in varied locations.
   He is a signature member of the (ISAP) International Society of Acrylic Painters, a life member of (WSO) Watercolor Society of Oregon, life member of (NWWS) Northwest Watercolor Society, as well as a member of (NPS) Northwest Pastel Society, (PWS) Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, (NWS) National Watercolor Society and (PAPO) Plein Air Painters of Oregon.
   Ron is deeply appreciative of Patchett for the opportunity.
   “He is a delightful client to work with.” said Raasch. “It was a fun process.”