How Do I Become a Muralist?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2014
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Murals are large scale paintings that are painted on permanent or movable surfaces for display on the exteriors and interiors of buildings. To become a muralist, you will need some art training or an apprenticeship, determination to succeed, good communication skills, computer proficiency and an evolved business sense. Muralists may work for themselves or with a mural company, and they may take on a variety of commercial, public, educational, political, social and residential mural commissions.

The tradition of mural painting goes a long way back all around the world, beginning with prehistoric cave paintings and progressing to religious and secular murals in religious, royal, aristocratic, governmental and public buildings. In more modern times, mural installation, once rather an expensive enterprise, has extended to the homes of the general public as well. It has become common for people to hire a decorative artist to paint personalized art on their walls. Wall murals can help extend and enhance interior spaces, and this is seen as particularly desirable in modern homes with confining spaces and restricted views.

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You can study mural making techniques by taking the traditional art college route, by taking independent classes in mural making or by apprenticing with an established muralist. It is important to build up a good portfolio of works if you want to become a muralist and to have a well-designed website for displaying the works to prospective customers. Muralists may work in different styles or specialize in certain mural types like children's murals, animal murals and so on. It is a good idea to discover what your strengths are and build on those.

To become a muralist, you will need to know how the market works, how to interact with clients, how to set prices and how to manage your business. Networking with other muralists and researching online can give you a good idea of current trends. Good communication skills are important to understand customer specifications and expectations. Mural work is generally priced according to project, by the hour or by the mural size. The pricing is also dependent on your skills, your customer, the project site, your geographical location and competing bids.

It is vital for anyone who wants to become a muralist to get a work contract before beginning any project. The contract should clearly state all the work and pricing details. It is also a good idea to check out the work site prior to executing the mural design. The location and light can make a difference in how the final work will look.

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