Monday, July 11, 2011

What Kind of Art Does A Muralist Do?

Murals are generally described as any artwork painted or directly applied, to a ceiling, wall or other permanent service. Murals usually incorporate the actual architectural parts of the given space as well.

Murals are often painted on large surfaces and because of this can actually bring art to the public eye in way other paintings fail. Because of the specialist work needed to carry out the art, and the costs involved most mural art is commissioned by governments or paid for by sponsors or even celebrities.

Murals can be painted in a variety of ways including oil, emulsion or acrylic paints. These can be applied by brush, roller, airbrush or aerosols. Muralists will usually become experts in their preferred medium and application method. However because the clients wishes may differ then their preferred method the artist may have to adopt the appropriate technique.

The work usually starts with a consultation between the artist and the client which will then lead to a more detailed mural design and layout. The artist will give a quote and a timescale for completion and once agreed the muralist then can start the work. Usually the artist will grid the area to match the design which will allow the image to be properly scaled step by step. According to the artist will depend on the technique used for application of the mural with some favouring projecting the image of the design on to a wall and traced with a pencil while some muralists will be far more daring and paint directly onto the surface in a more spontaneous technique.

Upon completion of the mural the wall art can be given a protective coating whether this varnish or acrylic glaze which will help protect the design from UV rays and surface damage.

As an alternative to a hand-painted or airbrushed mural, digitally printed murals can also be applied to surfaces. Already existing murals can be photographed and then be reproduced in near-to-original quality.


One of the favoured techniques of some muralist is called Trompe l'oeil. This translates to ‘deceives the eye' and involves the muralist skilfully creating a three dimensional image of a two dimensional plane. The viewer is deceived from a long distance and it is only upon close inspection that the true reality of the image becomes clear. This muralist technique demands a high technical ability and is only favoured by a few expert artists.

Examples of Trompe-l'oeil can be seen in the use of theatre or films, where the design of the set creates an illusion that the space of the stage is a lot deeper than the actual stage.



About the Author

Neil Maycock writes articles for Wall Murals

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