Unique conversation starters with these free art virtual backgrounds

3 min read

Like you, I’ve had a lot of zoom meetings over the last month or so. I’ve had regular check-ins with family and friends, a few with my support group, and many many business related meetings.

I’ve had fun with some of the built in zoom backgrounds and also used some pictures from various hikes and backpacking adventures. But I thought it’d be more intrigueing to use some of my art as a backdrop.

Virtual backgrounds spark unexpected conversations and often a few laughs or peaked curiosity.

My gift to you! Feel free to download any or all of the below images to use on your next online meeting to provide an interesting and different conversation starter!


Bitty Bowl Dance

yellow, green, and orange bitty bowls to spice up your kitchen table

Want to float among luscious citrus colors? These little bowls (most often used for table spices and salt blends) add lightness and fun to your meeting.

Conversation sparks:

  • What’s the most interesting citrus recipe you’ve tried this week?

  • What favorite colors are you seeing outside as we approach summer?

  • Talk about a pleasing object you’ve been appreciating in your home.

  • (Also a great way to hint to friends and family about a fun gift they can get for you.)


Part You, leaf installation

cascading colorful copper leaves in an art installation

Part You was an interactive art installation I made with hundreds of people in bars, art museums, neighborhood library, art centers, and more. I taught people to form and hammer the copper leaves and in some cases, fuse them with colorful glass enamel. It was a collaboration between myself and community, getting us all out of our normal routine and focused on making something bigger than ourselves.

Conversation sparks:

  • Perhaps you made one of the leaves?! Great segue to talk about your experience making art with others.

  • What’s your favorite kind of leaf? Or tree?

  • Speaking of falling leaves, have you ever tried skydiving?

giant leaf pile made of hammered copper leaves. Part You art installation collaboration between artist and community

Your favorite necklace

silver, pearl, and blue gemstone necklaces. handmade and hammered silver with drippy gems for an alluring look

Love jewelry? Want to give someone a subtle hint about gift ideas? Or maybe you just want to be fancy without having to get dressed up? Perfect solution! This beautiful cascade of necklaces with a peachy gradient will make you glow. And if this background leaves you wanting more, you can find the real thing here.

Conversation sparks:

  • What is your most treasured piece of jewelry and why?

  • What’s the very first item of jewelry you remember wearing?

  • If you had to choose between getting new shoes or jewelry, which would it be?


Constructing Deconstruction

Constructing Deconstruction - an installation of a house made of steel and bronze music box “bricks” that tell the stories that make a house a home.

Last but not least, a few images from my Constructing Deconstruction series. This installation is made of 200 steel and bronze music boxes that float within the walls of a “house”. The music boxes are the bricks that tell the stories that make a house a home. This iteration was shown at Traver Gallery in downtown Seattle. The strong late day light makes for some amazing shadow play.

Conversations sparks:

  • If you were a bird, what kind would you be and why?

  • Since you’ve been home more than usual, what light/shadow patterns have you noticed that you’ve never seen before?

  • If the last 3 months of your life were captured in a music box, what song would it play?

  • What was the last art show you remember attending in a gallery or museum? What piece of art made the biggest impression and why?

bronze bird on steel cube music box - art installation about house and home

Hope this creates a fun distraction for you!

I’d love to know if you use any of these and if they lead to unexpected discoveries, entertainment, or curious conversations.

Comment below to tell us about it!

Catherine Grisez

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