to paint a mural

edited May 2015 in Arts

To paint a proper public mural, you have three demographics, men, women and children. An artist must address all three in an effort toward universal appeal. 100% of men will approve a mural that has wildlife or livestock, anything mechanical (trains ,planes and sledge hammers), pretty women and landscapes. 100% of children will like it if it is big but non-threatening, colorful and easily understood (fun). Photo-ops are big with kids; what little boy doesn't want his picture taken with a friendly bear family or a little girl with bambi's and butterflies. Women are a different story as their taste can't be so easily generalized. I'm certainly not putting down the fairer sex, but it is what it is. Many women like whimzical, abstract, impressionism, cute; some don't. My tactic here is to make the backgrounds impressionistic, have water/sky in the pic looking abstract, throw in something cute and ignore whimsical because I don't know what it is.
It is very important to use the right materials. NO OIL BASE PAINTS OR FINISHES. These paints fade fast and the finishes yellow. I use dull interior house paint because it holds color well and is always receptive to new paint. The last thing you want is for someone to paint a terrible mural that is sealed. It can't be adjusted, restored or painted over. At 3rd and f, that brick wall has suffered damage from water retention. Brick needs to breath (which polymier paints allow). When it is sealed, moisture finds it's way in anyway, but then can't get out (dry). Through the seasons of freezing and steaming The moisture breaks down the brick and mortar. If you go to the terrible mural at 3rd and f and rub your finger along the mortar you'll find it isn't cement any more; it's compact sand.


  • Thanks for the paint lessons Dr. Dave, but your idea of men, women, and children... is 'subjective' as well dude. Stick to paint!

  • The question of materials came up during city council's interviews; I thought I would share what I've learned (I've painted 100's of murals). I'm just saying, it is my opinion that public art should be directed toward universal appeal; it's for everybody ... intentionally.

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