The Pittsburgh artist created Google Doodle in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday’s Google Doodle was designed to show the duality of history and current events, and to point out similarities and differences in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the movement today.

That’s what the creator of the Doodle says. She is 25 year old Pittsburgh artist Noa Denmon who lives in Wilkinsburg.

“It’s about the way we differentiate and differentiate ourselves from the civil rights movement,” said Denmon. “I think that was the first thing I thought of when we got the project. That was an instant in my mind as a black artist, as a black woman. “

The Google Doodle is a temporary change to the Google logo on its homepage to celebrate holidays, important people and other whims of the team behind it. Denmon said Google reached out to them a few weeks ago to design one for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She immediately wanted to emphasize the relationship between past and present, she said, drawing inspiration from the protests against Black Lives Matter last summer and her own experiences as a black woman and artist.

“It’s been a pretty hot, politically intense year for blacks in general,” she said. “I wanted to use this as an opportunity to talk and reflect on how we are going through similar moments in our politics.”

After playing with a few different ideas, Denmon created a split view: one side of the design is black and white and shows a lot of people gathered to watch King speak. The other, full of red and orange colors, shows a group of people working together on a mural depicting some of the civil rights events that King was involved in. The mural includes a bus depicting the Freedom Riders, an organized protest against separate bus terminals; and a bridge similar to that of Selma, Ala., where King marched in 1965 to register the black voters.

Denmon wanted to highlight the multi-generation movements, including people of all ages. On the modern, colorful side, she wanted to make sure people were far apart while they worked on the mural to reflect the reality of social distancing from Covid-19.

Most of their work is very colorful and human. She said she loves to draw people interacting and include ornate details like leaves, flowers, and patterns. She takes inspiration from fashion, jewelry and retro art. While her style is certainly reflected in the Google Doodle, Denmon said the assignment is a “transition piece” for her as she wants to create more work that reflects her perspective and the experiences of the black population in the US

She has designed art for some successful children’s books, but Denmon said Google Doodle will likely be her most watched project yet.

The doodle is certainly a “good career moment”. But beyond that, she said it was an honor to design the Doodle for this special day.

“I was just thrilled, very excited to be a part of this special day,” she said. “It brings another level to my artwork that I was looking for.”

“I wanted to do work that is important for the moment,” she said. “There are many sad moments that are happening right now. … I hope people see it as some kind of bright, exciting, motivating piece. “

Denmon grew up in Greenfield and graduated from Pittsburgh CAPA, the school for creative and performing arts, in 2014. She left Pittsburgh to attend college at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After graduating with a BFA in 2018, she stayed in Philadelphia for a while, but her love for Pittsburgh eventually brought her back.

Denmon looks forward to continuing to explore black perspectives and stories in her artwork. She is in the process of designing some new children’s books, and she hopes the Google Doodle will open doors for more opportunities to design art related to black experiences.

Teghan Simonton is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680,, or on Twitter.

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