7 Tips for Hiring a Mural Artist
Updated: Dec 14, 2022
Are you considering hiring an artist to paint a mural for you? Murals are becoming more and more popular, and for a good reason.
Art is a great way to add beauty to any space, and is proven to improve the value to any property. Businesses in particular benefit greatly by adding art to their space because it adds so much character to a place that was once barren, giving the employees and visitors a unique and pleasurable experience. This contributes to an increase in word of mouth advertising for years and even decades.
It can be difficult to find the right artist for the job when looking to hire a muralist. It is best to do your research before choosing your artist. Below I am going to share with you 7 tips to use when hiring a mural artist.
1. Look Locally
When searching for a muralist, it is best to start locally. There are mural artists in just about every city. Chances are, there might be a local artist who can do the job you are wanting better and for cheaper than hiring an out-of-town artist. When an artist has to travel for the job, you have to account for their travel expenses and lodging.
Great places to look are your local arts council or local art galleries. Or maybe there is a mural in your city that you really love, you could ask the owner of the building who painted it. Many times artists sign their work, so just search their name on Google and you might find them.
2. Peruse the Artist's Portfolio
Once you've found an artist, you need to peruse their portfolio. Peruse just means to look slowly and carefully. Try to answer these questions: What kind of work have they done in the past? Do you like their style? Do they have experience with painting the size of wall you'd like to have painted? Do they have at least 3 examples of past projects? If they don't have at least 3 mural examples, chances are they might not be a very professional muralist.
3. Think in 3s
When looking at an artist's work, you want to use the 30, 3, 3 rule. What it means is does their work look great from 30 feet away, 3 feet away, and 3 inches away. An artist who knows how to do all three will have an extensive knowledge on composing an image. This means they know how to arrange the mural to where it reads well from far away and close up, using the right amount of subjects and details.
Now, this doesn't apply to all situations. For example, if you want a mural painted where it can only be viewed from far away, like high up on a building, it doesn't matter if it reads well from 3 feet or 3 inches away. The viewers won't even be able to see those little details. But you do need to make sure that the artist can compose an image for your specific needs.
4. Select Based on Style
The artist you hire should be able to paint the style that you're going for. Let's say you want a cartoon-style mural. You wouldn't want to hire an artist who specializes in realism for that. Unless they are able to successfully paint cartoon-themed pictures as well. Same for the other way around, if you want a realistic mural, you don't want to hire an artist who paints abstract murals.
If you find an artist whose style you really love, it is best to ask if they are confident painting the subject and style of mural you're wanting. Some artists are very versatile, and are able to make it work for you.
5. Pay Attention to their Attitude
Attitude is so important. Some artists go about conducting their business with a bad attitude. This gives all the other artists a bad name and makes people hesitant to work with artists.
Look out for artists with a sense of entitlement. They expect you to know everything about murals without explaining it. They act like it is a pain in the butt to explain the mural-making process. Or it's a pain to work with you on the design and getting it to how you like it. An artist with a bad attitude will be a headache to deal with all along the way. They might think that because their work is so great, you need to put up with their bad attitude. This is absurd.
If there are red flags pointing towards an entitled artist, it is best to move on and keep searching. You want an artist with a positive and can-do attitude. When problems arise the artist with a bad attitude will make excuses while the positive thinker will be eager to solve the problem. People with a great attitude will always be a pleasure to deal with. They will be happy to help and always want the best for you!
6. Consistent Communication
Make sure that the artist has good, consistent communication. Do they answer their phone when you call? Do they text or email you back right away, or does it take a few days to get a response? If their communication is delayed or inconsistent, this is a major red flag. Murals can be complicated projects, and communication is very important throughout the entire process.
Make sure they are able to communicate with you about your ideas and not just bulldozing the conversation. A great mural artist will be open to receiving any input you may have about the mural, and use your ideas in the design.
You really want to make sure that you are comfortable communicating and having a conversation with the artist. If they have a great attitude, a great portfolio, and they communicate well, that's a sign that you are onto the perfect artist.
7. Seek Simplicity in the Deal
Getting a mural painted for you can be a complicated process with lots of moving parts. The idea is in your head and you have to convey this message to the artist who then has to put your idea onto a wall. It goes from an intangible form to something visual, which can be a difficult thing to do. And this is where all the other tips like finding an artist with a good attitude, good communication, and having a good artistic knowledge will be so useful and make the process much easier.
The only type of artist who makes the deal overly-complicated and makes his/her client jump through lots of hoops to get the deal done is a con artist. If they are not able to explain to you the process in a simple way, then that might be a red flag that they might not be worth dealing with. There shouldn't be numerous unnecessary steps involved to paint a mural.
Good business is simple business, and finding the right artist will mean the difference between having an enjoyable time vs a miserable time throughout the entire project.
If you'd like to learn more, Elijah Thane exlpains these tips in greater detail in the video below: