Mural suggestions
June 5, 2019 8:12 AM   Subscribe

I have a seventeen foot diameter dome with a six foot hole down the middle (picture 1, picture 2) that I would like to have a mural inside of. Ideas welcome.

I'm really up in the air about this. The default would probably be a tree filled horizon around the edges with the night sky above with some locally appropriate constellations marked. Or maybe something scientifically or mathematically interesting. Or maybe a reproduction of a Renaissance Europe fresco.
posted by Tell Me No Lies to Media & Arts (16 answers total)
How about something based on this 1888 engraving by an anonymous creator. Note the colored versions.

Which leads me to another thought... are you a Game of Thrones fan? If so, and it's not too commercial for you, maybe something based on the graphics at the beginning of the GoT television series.
posted by XMLicious at 8:36 AM on June 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

What about a series of pictures, like the history of stargazing -- start with homo naledi pointing at the stars and move on to early farmers and the Nebra Sky Disc and then stylized ancient Greek and medieval European star charts and a heliocentric map of the solar system and then Copernicus's version and Galileo's telescope and then the discovery of Neptune and Uranus and then Pluto and then start launching rockets and you could maybe start/end with the moon and man landing on it to end and prehistoric people/animals gazing up at it to start.

Or maybe the four seasons in a circle, with local seasonal markers, particular plants and trees and animals that are around during different seasons. (and maybe local/regional events if you've always got a big Christmas event or midsummer festival or something).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:49 AM on June 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

The Veronese frescoes in the Villa Barbaro, by Palladio, are very inspiring. They combine the fanciful with the everyday in a charming manner. (Obviously the everyday of some 500 years ago, not now)
posted by mumimor at 8:54 AM on June 5, 2019

A realistic starscape with the constellations of different civilizations marked out in different colors would be fun.
posted by eotvos at 8:56 AM on June 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

What about a map?

Figure out a suitable circular projection, so that as you stand in the middle and look out in any direction, the bit of dome above you shows you the places in that direction, from nearest at the top to furthest at the bottom, or vice versa. With some sort of logarithmic scaling you could have it go right to the far side of the world in every direction.
posted by automatronic at 9:13 AM on June 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Maybe underwater with local sealife, going from dark/deep water near the bottom to light/shallow water at the top?
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 9:31 AM on June 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh I like EMcG's idea and it gave me an idea for a simple one if complexity becomes a problem: how about the silhouettes of the Stonehenge megaliths, with the fallen stones intact, against the sun rising at summer solstice or in front of an astronomically-appropriate night sky.
posted by XMLicious at 9:32 AM on June 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

You could do the view from the moon with a moonscape around the edge and Earth suspended against the starry sky.
posted by Botanizer at 10:50 AM on June 5, 2019

I did blue sky and clouds in my bathroom; easy and not terribly exciting.

When I visited the Vatican museum, there's a series of rooms with antique and modern maps, including one of the night sky. I thought it would be google-able and my phone had died, so I have no picture. I would love a poster, would totally paint it on a ceiling or dome.

In your dome, can you place tiny lights for constellations? Glow in the dark embellishment, rhinestones? Lighting makes such a difference.

posted by theora55 at 11:44 AM on June 5, 2019

You could look at star maps and figure out the constellations that sit above roughly twelve sections of the dome. Then you could match what is in the sky, at certain times, with what is on the dome. You could edge the lowest part with what is blooming, growing in your area in the twelve month cycle. They could be lit as if ground lights were illuminating the foliage, at night.

I do some work that includes star fields. I decided to put in the constellations as they are to us, rather than employing random dots. I was pretty surprised when someone came along and identified all the constallations across four works. I diidn't even remember all the constellations, but some people are all about that stuff.
posted by Oyéah at 11:49 AM on June 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


You don't provide any details on what the room structure is for (bathroom? media room? kitchen?) or budget or ambient lighting conditions, but personally I'd look into setting up a nice projection graphics rig in there. It won't be cheap but these days I bet you could set it up with 3-4 good projectors and a control processor for around $6000. Which might even be less than what a pro artist would charge you for a painted mural. With a suitable projection setup, you can turn your dome into pretty much anything.

If this appeals to you and you're in Austin, Texas, send me MeMail and let's talk. Seriously.

If you want to go "traditional media", don't forget out dayglo paints and ultraviolet lights to make those constellations (or whatever) really stand out.

The Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque might inspire you, too.
posted by doctor tough love at 9:54 PM on June 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

You don't provide any details on what the room structure is for (bathroom? media room? kitchen?) or budget or ambient lighting conditions

Sorry. This is my patio. You can figure bright sunlight reflected off nearby white walls and of course whatever comes in through the central hole. However, it will be used much more often at night.

The budget is a little hard to explain as I live in Mérida, Mexico. The 2.5 ft cement foundation, tile floor, and dome will likely run about $3000 USD. A well executed mural maybe $300. A $6000 graphics projection rig will cost $6000. It is a very attractive option though and I might look into building my own for fun.

Thank you all for the suggestions so far and please keep ‘em coming.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:19 AM on June 6, 2019

This is not the answer you're probably looking for, but I think you should ask the artist. Part of being an artist is being trained to think differently and to visually problem solve. Anyone online could say things like "sky", "sea", "stars", but that really doesn't cover what an actual artist would do with it. If I tell you "adam and eve below a tree with birds", that sounds... like it sounds. But if I show you this image, its a very different experience.

But I guess to answer your question, I think you should do a scene that tells a story rather than a landscape. Mexican folk art is some of my favorite and I really think you should try to pay respect to the country by getting an Indigenous artist. bringing in themes from, say, Italy, just sounds like a waste.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:05 AM on June 6, 2019

Doing something local would be nice, but local here would be Mayan, and I just don't care for ancient, traditional, or modern Mayan art. However, if I did a night sky with a landscape horizon I think having the landscape be local, possibly even in the local style, would be doable.

Regardless of that, a night sky would of course be the local view and the constellations would be Mayan.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2019

Dinosaurs and Pterodactyls, maybe also a volcano
posted by Sophont at 2:42 PM on June 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Whoa. We’re in the Chicxulub Crater here. That would be incredibly relevant.

Well maybe not the volcano. But hey, giant meteor.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:40 AM on June 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

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