'Fail Whale' artist stars in first North American exhibition (photos)

Road Trip at Home: Yiying Lu, who made the iconic Twitter image, has a show to help launch her 'art for everywhere' startup, Walls360.


Daniel Terdiman

See full bio
1 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Yiying Lu with Mobile Elephant

SAN FRANCISCO--Yiying Lu may never create anything more famous than the "Fail Whale," the iconic image she designed and that Twitter has for years used to signify that it is down. But now, she is a co-founder of a start-up called Walls360 that hopes to revolutionize the wall graphics market.

The basis of Walls360's business is what co-founder John Doffing calls "premium, self-adhesive, repositionable, fabric paper," which can be placed anywhere without harming the surface it's put on and can be moved around up to 100 times.

Walls360 went live to the public on Wednesday, and to celebrate, the company is hosting a launch party here Thursday night. The party is doubling as Lu's first-ever North American exhibition.

Here, Lu poses during set-up for the exhibition with "Mobile Elephant," a design that mixes the elephant and birds image that inspired the Fail Whale with a depiction of a mobile phone.

Lu is a big fan of mixing imagery of animals and technology.

2 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Fail Whale

The "Fail Whale," the image that helped bring Lu to geek fame.
3 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Pale Whale

To help launch comedian Conan O'Brien's new talk show, Lu was commissioned to create the "Pale Whale," which shows O'Brien riding the famous Fail Whale.
4 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Cog Lion

This is "Cog Lion," another design that mixes animals with imagery of technology.
5 of 25

Cat tangram

One of the things that Walls360 hopes to sell a lot of is tangrams, which are seven-piece designs that can be re-arranged in an infinite number of orientations. This is a tangram fashioned to look like a cat.
6 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Clicking Fox

This is "Clicking Fox."
7 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Lu with Foursquare check-in badge

Here, we see Lu holding up one of the custom Foursquare check-in badges that she designed for the exhibition and launch party.
8 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Double rainbows and animals

This is a Walls360 sheet that features both Lu's double-rainbow design and some of her whimsical animals.
9 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Event sheet

This is a design announcing the Thursday launch party.
10 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Fishy Kitty

This is "Fishy Kitty."
11 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Kissing penguins

This is "Kissing penguins," or "Win Penguins," which Lu designed for the wedding invitation of Dale Larson and Laura La Gassa. Larson said all he asked was that he and La Gassa be able to be the first ones to use the design. Now, Walls360 is selling it.
12 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Flowers on the wall

Walls360 is selling packs of these flowers, which can be repositioned in an infinite number of ways.
13 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET


This is a giraffe design of Lu's.
14 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Graphic mice

This is "Graphic mice."
15 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Guy Kawasaki

After tech icon Guy Kawasaki saw Conan O'Brien's "Pale Whale," he wanted his own personal design. So Lu said she created this play on the "Fail Whale," which depicts Kawasaki riding a hoisted butterfly.
16 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Laughing squid

Lu designed a special version of the Laughing Squid logo for Laughing Squid's 15th anniversary.
17 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Lu placing a tangram

Here, we see Lu placing parts of a tangram on the wall for the exhibition.
18 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Lu with tangrams

Here, Lu poses for a photograph with a sheet of tangrams.
19 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Lu mounting whack-a-mole

Here, Lu s mounting a "Whacking mole" graphic.
20 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET


This is a meta-poster showing Lu holding a "Whacking Mole" sheet.
21 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

No wrinkles

As the Walls360 team mounted Lu's designs for the exhibition, they didn't have to worry that the sheets would get wrinkled. The material Walls360 is using doesn't wrinkle very easily.
22 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Porcupine and flowers

This Lu design features a porcupine watering some flowers.
23 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Space bunny

This is "Space bunny."
24 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Upside down elephant

As the artist, Lu isn't afraid to play with her own work. Here, we see "Mobile Elephant" mounted upside down.
25 of 25 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Walls360 creates

This design explains a little bit about what Walls360 does.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More
John Cena attends Warner Bros. premiere of The Suicide Squad, in costume as Peacemaker.

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

85 Photos
The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

36 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
2023 Toyota Crown Is One Funky Hybrid Sedan
2023 Toyota Crown

2023 Toyota Crown Is One Funky Hybrid Sedan

48 Photos
24 things you should never, ever google

24 things you should never, ever google

25 Photos
DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

10 Photos