A mural artist (also known as a muralist) designs and paints artwork on walls, plaster, tiles, and other surfaces. They often paint murals for businesses, churches, cities, zoos, libraries, and even hotels and apartment complexes. These artists work both indoors and outdoors and may work alone or with a team of people. If you love painting at a large scale and want many people to see your work, this may be your job!
How to Become a Mural Artist
A mural artist may have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in fine art. Colleges offer courses in art history, architecture, visual art, and drawing. They also have classes in studio art, illustration, computer graphics, and advanced painting techniques. Using various methods, art students learn about different paint applications, like acrylic, oil paint, and faux finishes. A student of mural art learns about a variety of other techniques as well such as air brush, fresco, messo-fresco, and fresco-secco.
Building a portfolio is essential to demonstrate your artistic abilities and creativity. Getting a job as an intern or as an apprentice with a professional mural artist is an excellent way to expand a portfolio as well. There are other avenues to gain knowledge to paint murals as well such as online courses or private painting classes. Mural artists must have an excellent sense of scale and understand what the painting will look like before the job begins.
A mural artist needs to pay close attention to detail and must be patient and persistent as a painting may take days to years to complete. When working with a team, these artists must also have excellent interpersonal skills as they communicate with their team members, clients, and customers. They also need to be able to work independently and with others.
As mural artist may paint on outdoor surfaces, it’s helpful for them to be knowledgable of various surfaces to paint on and how to make their mural withstand the elements of nature. There are a few organizations that have further information, like the Regional Arts and Culture Counsel’s Public Art Muralist Roster and the National Society of Mural Painters. Now let’s look at what the mural artist does. Keep reading!
Mural Artist Job Description
We have all been in museums, churches, and cities where we have come across walls and streets painted with beautiful art. That is what a mural artist does. They work in urban, suburban, and rural areas. The work for the mural artist begins before the paint hits the wall (so to speak). They must obtain a commission from a client and draw a sample of small-scale designs that will grow into large-scale murals to show the customer.
The artist considers what the mural means to the client or city as well. For example, is it a historical mural that must reference a point in time or must the mural contain elements of the local area. Is the mural meant to attract new local businesses, advertise a store, or beautify the walls and streets of a community. Once they have their concept in mind, they also study the architecture of the area they will paint over to incorporate the painting into the design. They envision what their mural will look like from every angle and viewpoint.
Mural artists select the best paint for the job and consider weather elements, like glaring sun, when choosing what they need to paint the surface. Once the client approves the concept and the weather is nice (if the mural is outdoors), the artist can begin to begin the mural. They may apply a layer of paint primer to the area to make it ready to accept the paint. The area to be painted may also be chalked out with a numbered grid that takes the scaled-down design to the painting site. The artist may also paint on canvas then apply it to a wall. Each mural artist may have a different technique they prefer before starting their mural. These artists may also paint the area with a glazing technique that takes multiple layers of paint to finish the image.
A mural artist adds artistic beauty that is thought-provoking and engaging. The artist helps people develop an appreciation and admiration for artists and art. They have a passion and love for their work that shows through their art. If this sounds like a career you would like to explore, hang in there! You can do it!