Frequently Asked Questions

How long does painting a mural take?

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This depends on several variables including size, subject, and whether I will be working on a lift or around other obstacles. 90% of my projects take less than two weeks to complete.

Above is an example of a 0′ x 0′ mural that I painted in six days:

What kind of paint do you use?

  For the base coat and larger areas of color I use Benjamin Moore Aura latex paints. Some of the reasons I love this paint:

Zero VOC. This is espeically important on indoor projects for people who are concerned about the potentially negative heath effects of VOCs.
Extreme hide and coverage. It’s a really thick paint and that helps bridge surface imperfections. Color Lock technology for exceptional color Superior fade resistance Lifetime Warranty Low-temperature application Excellent resistance to paint deterioration. Resists cracking, peeling, blistering and dirt Mildew resistan, Self-priming/ excellent adhesion. For the final coats and details, I use Golden Artists Colors heavy body acrylics. Additionally, Mythic paint makes incredible 100% non-toxic paints that I use upon request. I don’t use them on every project since they are only available online.
Here are the material safety data sheets for the products I use:

Aura Interior
Aura Exterior
Golden Acrylics

How should the wall be prepared?

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If the wall is in poor condition, I will subcontract to a commercial painter to fix the cracks, fill holes, and to apply a primer and deep base coat color.

For new construction, a smooth finish, level 4 is ideal. A primer and base coat should be painted on the wall before the mural work begins.

If it is an existing wall and the wall is in good condition, no special preparation is required.

Here is an example of a before and after image of a close up area on the wall at _____ restaurant in Washington DC.

My wall has a really rough texture. Will that affect the painting?

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I can paint on a rough texture surface, but it does affect the artwork.  In many situations the texture can enhance the artwork; a rough surface allows for interesting textures and layering.  If the mural will be viewed up close, and has a high level of linear details (for example, ------- style murals), you might consider either re-plastering the wall or having the mural painted on panels.

Here are two examples of high detail murals painted on rough surfaces:

Can you paint a mural on panels to be installed on location?

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Yes. I can paint my murals on either canvas or panels. How the canvas or panels are attached depends on the intended longevity of the mural in the space, whether it is designed to be mobile or not.  Panels can be ordered up to 5′ x 10′ in dimension; a large mural may require serveral pieces fitted together.

At Santa Rita Elementary School in Los Altos, the school had a long term plan to build a new multi-purpose room, but were estimating five to ten years off until they would break ground on the project.  In the mean time, they wanted to beautify their existing multi-purpose room and be able to repurpose the artwork when the building came down. I painted the interior murals on lightweight PVC panels and the exterior mural was painted on maximum density overlay (MDO) wood based panels.

Here are images from those projects:

Can you tell me more about the “Design Phase” of your process?

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My painting process is dynamic. The inspiration and beauty that makes what I do a work of art happens when I am onsite, actually painting. This is bad news if you want to know exactly what the artwork will look like before I begin. However, from experience, I know this is great news for my clients. A fundamental truism with murals is that what looks great on a sheet of office paper does not necessarily look good in full size on the wall or on the front of your building. We want to create an integrated experience of the art, considering all surfaces, and how the art will move through and interact with the space, the light, the viewer.

Also true: my clients have a pretty good idea of what is going on that 50′ wall before I begin. There are real life hurdles like city approvals or buy-in for a school community that require a compelling, well-defined design.  I do the best I can with the secondary tools at my disposal to communicate with my clients what the artwork will look like. For example, I have painted over 500 murals, and chances are I will be able to include examples that have some spect that is similar to what I will create for your specific project. Also, I rely on words, and lists, so that the expectations are clear about what will be included. This is Typically more foolproof than a hand drawn design. The short answer is that the level of detail I include in the design I create for each project varies depending on the specifics of that project.

I am not sure what kind of artwork I need. Can you help me figure that out?

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Yes. I usually begin by thinking about the space as a whole:  the angle/s the wall will be seen from, who uses the space, and the “feeling” you want to bring to the space.  The imagery we create, the use of color, dynamic form, and subject are designed to fit your specfic space and audience.