Murals are all over the news at the moment. If we haven’t got Prince George enthralled by them at his new nursery, then we have the beautiful mural of David Bowie being used as a shrine in his home town of Brixton. So is it hardly surprising that murals are gaining in popularity and with that, new mural artists are popping up like spring bulbs in a warm December. So I thought I would give you a guide on how to select a mural artist. I can not paint them all (much as I would like to), but I believe passionately in murals as an art form, so I want everyone who has a mural painted to have the very best experience possible.
So you have decided to have a mural painted, where should you go and what should you look for in a mural artist?
Well the first thing to say is that it isn’t as easy as just painting a picture on a wall. There is skill involved, not just in getting the scale and dimensions right, but in using the correct colours. This is something that people will have to live with on a day to day basis. A badly done mural can be an expensive not to mention, traumatic experience. So here is what you should look out for when choosing your mural artist.
- Finding them. The best way to find a mural artist is by recommendation. If you have seen one at someone’s house, or in a public place that you like, find out who painted it and check out their website. If not, do a search of mural artists in your area, there is unlikely to be a lot, and have a look at their websites and Facebook pages. This person will be in your home or place of work, it is essential that you feel comfortable with them.
- Insurance. Anyone working in your home or business should have the appropriate Public Liability insurance cover. A minimum of £1M cover for a domestic project and £5M for a commercial project. It is actually illegal to carry out work in a school, hospital or library without that level of cover. If my mural was for a child, I would also want them to hold DBS clearance, and again, in a school, day nursery or library, that would be mandatory. Don’t take their word for it, check!
- Experience. As with any creative or craftsman, experience is key. Ask to see their portfolio if it isn’t available online. Talk to their customers or check out their reviews. They don’t need to have done lots of murals, but what they have done needs to be good. This is one of those situations where the cheapest is very unlikely to be the best. Murals are one area where you get what you pay for.
- Style. If you have a particular look in mind for your mural, then check they have carried out similar work before. Some mural artists have very much a style, and that is great if it is the style you are looking for. If not, try to find an artist that demonstrates they can paint in a variety of styles.
- Originality. I saw a mural on Facebook recently that looked familiar, didn’t think too much
of it. It wasn’t until a few days later, that I found the exact same mural design done by another artist! (Thankfully not me!) The copy was poor by comparison, but the design was almost identical and unmistakable. Contrary to what you might think, it is not a compliment to the original artist, it is theft. Not only does it demonstrate a lack of skill and imagination (two qualities I would want in abundance from my mural artist…) but more importantly, I suspect that the client had been sold the mural as an original design and had no idea they were actually being hood winked. This is completely unacceptable and gives mural artists a bad name. I was recently given a picture by a client and asked to reproduce it, but politely explained that the outcome would be better if it was an original design. It was…by far. Using images as inspiration or to ensure integrity on a familiar character, absolutely, copy someone elses mural design, never.
- Design. Ask to see the design first. Mural design is a consultative process, and you should know exactly what you are getting before they begin. Most artists will produce drawings and a quotation, if they don’t, ask.
- Ask Questions. This is not something that you will be doing everyday. Murals are not cheap and consequently, you want them to look great for a long time. Find out about the preparation of the surface to the painted and ask about the type of paint being used as these are key to longevity.
- And lastly, look after your mural artist. Painting murals is hard work, the occasional cup of coffee and a biscuit goes a long way.
Having a mural painted should be the most exciting process and if you follow these simple steps, it will be.
I was just chatting to my 11 year old son as I was writing this blog, “What is the blog about?” he asked. “How to chose a mural artist.” I replied. “So what are you writing? Go to Google, type in Charlotte Designs and click on contact us? Because that is what they should do.”
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings…..love him.
Till next time.