My first ever mural job was on a 7 story wall. I was hired by a crew from Toronto to help work on a mural for Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza. The first moment I stepped onto the swing-stage (the platform we worked on together for 8 hours plus a day, for about 21 days maybe a couple more), simply put, I was instantly stoked on murals. The rest is history. I would not be making murals today without working with that most amazing team of artists, led by Jamie Osborne, end of story. background link to more of my work called LRG scale
Steps to consider…
From the beginning, the substrate of any mural is key, you want the paint to stick and the colours to work, the blueprint is key, the artwork is your map, trust your drawings, colour matching to the artwork is crucial. Each component important no steps missed, well….no….well on occasion and when in flow I have found that new discoveries through taking some chances is possible, and when it works out, the high likelihood of something extraordinary. This a constant throughout my art pilgrimage. This is as long as you are able to trust your instincts and act on them in flow. If you hesitate, and act indecisive you will lose rhythm. It should be noted that this has been my experience. There is no one book, video, movie, person, etc. that told me that this was how to make murals, it has been in part learning from master muralists, practice and more practice. This is an important note.
Indie vs. Commercial
There are many differences between doing commercial work with a team, and doing the indie projects solo. In the case of the indie work I create the entire project, from design or ‘drawing’ ‘doodle’ ‘composition’ ‘artwork’ to a finished clear coated bright, vibrant, colourful mural. I do have a bit more flexibility when it comes to producing art independently for a client. This is something I do have to be mindful of and it does take some discipline, or rule making in order to complete a job within an agreeable timeframe. If I want to put more into a mural than is in the design than I must be prepared to do more work, thats the way it is. This being said, like nearly everything, there is a basic recipe I follow, and in the time I have spent making murals I have managed to create a fairly decent system, that is my way, making what I think in the end is a quality piece of art for a client. Any mural I make is for the client, the vision I depict is permanent and I take pride in delivering a quality mural that people of the community can enjoy for years to come. I have found that when I make indie murals for communities I am in essence documenting a vision I see of that community, and when painted on site that means I am steeped in it, with it, which is reflected in the art and the final product.
Put the public back into the mural…
Each job is different, and there are a gazillion decisions to be made, that is until you begin to whittle them down to a point where you and the public see a finished product. And I do consider input from bystanders, and all those folks who I talk to while working on these projects, they often bring with them useful suggestions, feedback, food, encouragement and even equipment. On the last project I was on 2 separate individuals brought me lights, so I could work late, and one of them gave me the light outright as his contribution to the arts! This may not happen all the time, but in my experience this does happen and usually right when you really need it. The last day I was putting on the clear coat, which I could not stop because it is time sensitive, a nice lady brought a sandwich. Another lady who takes care of the community garden brought me a huge bag of fresh picked vegetables, the list goes on. I also recently had a young fellow bring me a skateboard, which I appreciated, it helps me move my heavy compressor, and in this line of work efficiency is key.
I have worked for many clients, all with their own uniqueness and set of principles, their is an art to meeting both the client’s needs while making a mural. Some are curious about the process, some will offer suggestions, you name it, it will happen. The client also helps to keep things in perspective, especially on the longer jobs. They are key to the process and a good healthy communication goes a long ways.
I am being hired to use my talents in a way I want to, check, I am in.
That looks easy….
It does not always come easy, there are times when my brain is stretched, yet it always seems to come back, and each job seems to get a bit smoother and less surprises, which is nice on the one hand, although never say never. I do feel at this stage of my career that I have developed a decent working system. There is always room for innovation, I work with technology while utilizing age old techniques that are proven to work and when mastered things like the Sistine Chapel happen.I embrace this kind of thinking because I know that job is in the making, and when it comes my plan is to be ready. I want to make incredible mind blowing heart touching awe inspired art, history has plenty examples, and if my work makes its way into the big story, that would be happily, and gratefully accepted. All the work aside, and once the job is done and the paint settles, and the protective clear coat is on, it is than time to take a step back and enjoy the labour of love. Picasso is said to have said…. that one should never take a step back and look until the job is done, I can’t really say if that is true, I did take some steps back even though I am always in the mode of ‘get it done’ and than and only than am I able to enjoy the fruits of my labour.
I want to dedicate this mural to Rebecca, she was instrumental in getting this one done, thank you with all my heart.
fotoMahaloness -the mural below was a three week project. It was for a community association, I came up with the original artwork design concept, and stuck to the original composition as close as possible, and because this was an independent project and the client gave me fairly free range on the colour, this made my life easier albeit more work, and the result is a beautifully vibrant and colourful mural that the community of Willow Ridge can enjoy for years to come.
Spliced full shot mural
Soccer ball zoom
The colours at sunset also colour this artist’s palette… well there is I admit a strong Hawai’ian influence, and/or South Pacific for that matter, in my work, it just flows out of me, or is it through me….
At sunset and at just the right angle the mural reflects the sunset…
I just wanted to get some key points down for you guys, I do plan on a few more entries on murals, including a time-lapse that I will be working in the very near future , for now this is a nice overview, thank you everyone who helped out on this one: Willow Ridge, Heather, Jay, Dave, Gord and Sam, The Roasterie, Calvin, Ralph, Stan, Aaron, everyone who stopped by, the nice lady who brought me a sandwich and a plum, Michelle, Jim, Nicole, Jamie, Christianno Ivy, Justin, Agent R….and everyone else thank you.