Murals: Painting the Big Picture

If you’ve ever glanced up at a colorful wall painting and wondered how the artist got the design to turn out so well, you’re not alone—it’s one of the most common questions we hear. First, it’s helpful to know that murals (or wall paintings) are the largest of all the painting genres.

A mural is a form of art created by painting, drawing, or applying mosaic on a wall surface. The term “mural” is used to describe a very large painting, one that is often designed to cover an entire wall. These are painted, sketched, stenciled, or engraved on building walls, and also freestanding. It can also be defined as a painting made for a wall or ceiling surface, usually large scale.

Let’s get to know more of this painting genre in the succeeding paragraphs.

Murals of the Past

Murals were common in the early history of Ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome, and the Aztec, Mayan, and Inca Empires.  The earliest murals were found in ancient, primitive structures, such as the Mesopotamian Temple of Ur. The murals Pompeii, an ancient Roman city, buried in the ash of a volcano, are among the best-preserved anywhere.

And such a big part of history, they are often a topic of public debate. Murals have been discovered across the world, from the Lascaux Cave paintings in France to the Sistine Chapel in Italy to the Native American murals at the Lake Tenaya Inn in Buffalo, New York. These days, mural painting is used for more than just decorating buildings. Artists are painting them inside and out to brighten up public spaces.

Types of Mural Art

Mural art has been around for centuries, and it is one of the most popular ways to decorate public spaces. In Spanish, mural translates to “wall,” and that is where most murals can be found. However, new developments in digital technology have given mural artists a lot of new opportunities, as they can now paint their murals on virtually any surface. Want to know more? Check out our list of the different types of mural art:

  • Ceramic Murals – While a mural is typically a wall-sized painting (often with two-dimensional or low relief images), a ceramic mural typically refers to a very large ceramic tile mural that is usually installed on exterior walls of buildings and is generally made up of multiple ceramic tiles. Ceramic murals are used in commercial spaces, such as stores, restaurants, bars, casinos, and hotels, as well as in residential spaces in the form of exterior wall tiles that add color, texture, and substance to a home’s exterior.
  • Abstract Murals – Abstract mural art is a form of art created by painting or through other media. Murals can be either painted or composed of mosaics. This subject matter has been around for years and is being adapted and used by many art students. Abstract mural art is a very large art form that is being used by many to express their feelings and views.
  • Painted Murals – As the name suggests, a painted mural is a wall painting that is created by painting directly onto a wall. There are many, many styles of a mural and many different techniques for creating them. Which one best suits your needs will depend on the wall you want to paint and what you want to create. The main types of murals you will encounter are fresco, oil, and acrylic.

Advice for Beginners

As murals have grown in popularity, even becoming a thing people take pictures of and then upload to Instagram, they’ve become more and more threatened with destruction, as property owners feel the need to replace them with something more profitable, like a bunch of ads. But, as anyone who has ever lost something they love can tell you, replace one mural with another, and you’ll never really get the same feeling you got from the original.

Working on a mural for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you aren’t accustomed to using spray paint regularly. Most of the time, you’ll be working on an outdoor wall, which means anything you spray will be exposed to the sun, wind, and the elements. You need to take precautions to protect your work, your tools, and yourself.

 

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