Finding a muralist
April 17, 2005 4:00 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine, who lives in Dallas, is looking for somebody to paint a mural in her home. She needs advice on how to find an artist who has done this type of work before, and who can do a good job. Where should she be looking, and what questions should she be asking?
posted by mosch to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
The best painters to hire are commercial ones that do restaurants etc. They can usually paint anything. Mostly she should ask for samples of their work and know what she wants
posted by lee at 10:44 PM on April 17, 2005

If there's a local community college around, I would ask the art professors if they know anyone willing and able to do the work. They're generally pretty connected in the art community.

Definitely ask for samples, be clear about what you want, and be flexible - after all, the artist has been doing this a lot longer than you.
posted by muddgirl at 11:13 PM on April 17, 2005

Once she has done as recommended above, insist the artist present a small, but fully painted, mock up. If they can paint a mural, they should be able to do a miniature version, and it will help clarify expectations.
posted by samh23 at 11:40 PM on April 17, 2005

my wife used to work in an local art supply store, they tended to know all of the local artists and would keep cards on hand to use for referrals like murals.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:03 AM on April 18, 2005

More specific than general, but here's a business site for two women artists who do murals in Dallas, and here's a portfolio page of two brothers who specialize in this sort of work. They are in Fredericksburg, but perhaps Dallas isn't a big deal for them. Anyway, there are contact forms on both sites offering estimates, so it couldn't hurt to check 'em both out.
posted by taz at 4:08 AM on April 18, 2005

She might also call the Deep Ellum Association - there are some really fantastic murals all over that part of town and they may know who did them, or know someone who knows who did them, etc.
posted by TeamBilly at 5:50 AM on April 18, 2005

Depending what style she wants - Rick Timmons did Matt's and The Corner Tap murals. His work is really good and Rick's a super nice guy. Google Rick Timmons or Loco Gringo Studios.
posted by Zeedog at 6:34 AM on April 18, 2005

Best answer: Hi, I work for a mural painting business.

One thing to consider is that she may not need to have a local artist do the work - or if she does, she may not need to have them in her home painting for the duration of the project.

Most of the work we do, for example, is painted on canvas, and then it can be rolled into a tube and shipped around the world where it is installed just like wallpaper.

This works as long as the surface is flat (no curves like a dome, for example).

1) Absolutely check out the portfolio of the artist, and, if possible, try to visit the site of one of their projects to see the work firsthand.
2) Does she have a design in mind (i.e. reference from an art history book...)? If not, the artist should make her what we call a "maquette". This is a scale drawing of how the artist envisions the finished piece. We usually make a black and white drawing for our clients to approve the composition, and then color it in to give our clients, and our artists a mutually agreed upon road map of how the finished artwork will look.
3) Your friend should figure out the dimensions of the piece she wants, and the total square footage - We usually charge work by the square foot, and murals can run anywhere from $15.00 - $150.00 sq. ft. depending on how tight the artwork is - if our clients are looking for a museum quality reproduction it's going to be the high end, and a simple kids room would be the low end. Your friend should have a clear budget in mind before she starts interviewing artists. Also, most artists are negotiable, so if she finds a portfolio that she loves, but the initial price quote is high, maybe she can bargain. Also, if the mural does have to be designed, that is usually additional to the cost.
4) The advantages to having a mural done off site is that doesn't disrupt the household (some murals we do take weeks or even months) and the canvas can be removed from the wall if you move. However, you do have to install the mural, and this can cost around $3.00-$5.00/sq. ft. for a local wallpaper installer to do.
5) Residential murals are like tattoos in a way - it's artwork you are going to have to live with, so she should spend the time to make sure it is done right.
6) All that said, if she has a very clear idea in mind of just what she wants, and a budget, craigslist is a pretty good place to advertise for artists.

Good luck!
posted by extrabox at 11:55 AM on April 18, 2005

Find Ben Beckendorf from Fredericksburg, Tx. He works all over doing this sort of thing and has the proper genetics to back his work quality up.
posted by pablogrande at 1:51 PM on April 18, 2005

This is a friend of a friend:

She travels around to do jobs, works quickly. The pictures on her webpage speak for themselves. She's currently in L.A., I believe.
posted by zenorbital at 2:35 PM on April 18, 2005

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