Commissioning a Hand Painted Mural

How to commission a hand painted mural – frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to a few of the questions clients commonly ask.  Do contact Nick to discuss your ideas or ask further questions.  He is always happy to chat over ideas without commitment. 

How do I commission a mural?

Nick intends that the process of arriving at the perfect design should be enjoyable. Do use this website, books and other visual sources to get an initial idea of the sort of thing you would like.  Another very good way to start is to contact Nick  and tell him a bit about your project.  He is very good at converting scraps of information and preferences into a detailed plan.  

So what is the process for commissioning a mural or tromp l'oeil painting?

Once contact has been made and ideas outlined, usually a site visit is helpful. This is a free service for the local area with a nominal charge to cover expenses for prospective clients who are further afield. 

A site visit is the perfect opportunity for the client and artist to discuss ideas and allow Nick to examine the space, carry out an accurate site survey and firm up design concepts and give advice on associated issues such as any planned building works and issues to be considered with regard to lighting and surface preparation. Careful lighting of a mural can make a huge difference to the impact of a trompe l'oeil.  Uptake of this advice is entirely at the client's discretion of course. 

Following the initial site visit or discussions, Nick will be happy to provide the initial concept as a sketched design and a guide as to eventual costs will also be summarised.  Upon approval, a more detailed design to scale can be drawn before commencement if required. By this stage a financial commitment would be required in the form of an initial payment to allow the commission to be put into the order book. 

What areas of my home or business might a mural be suitable for?

Decorative finishes can be used anywhere in your home or business, in a single room, or a single part of a room, restaurant, entrance lobby or the boardroom! There are few limits in terms of size and scale in any direction. As for the climactic issues, with the sealants and varnishes available now, even a damp and steamy atmosphere such as a bathroom or swimming pool can be the perfect spot for a mural or trompe l'oeil painting, just as long as the surface substrate  the decoration is going onto is reasonably sound and prepared correctly. Murals are very popular for a range of areas in the home or business, from children's bedrooms, to bathrooms, swimming pool areas, entrance foyer, dinnig areas or even lifts!

How much might it cost?

Each commission is priced individually with factors such as distance, time needed, materials used and complexity of design all contributing to the price quoted. As all mural commissions are bespoke an accurate estimate can be ascertained after the initial site visit and designs are complete.

What other issues might have an impact on the budget?

The biggest opportunity to bring an ambitious scheme in on a limited budget is to look at the option of having the commission painted off site onto paper or canvas and then fitted on site afterwards.  This is an appropriate method for almost all commissions and can reduce the cost by around 30% because it takes away the need for the muralist to spend quite so much time working on site with all the costs associated with that.  Of course this method also has the advantage of reducing the length of the period of disruption to the client and also allows the work to be carried out in parallel to any other works in the building, rather than having to wait until other works are completed.  

How long will it take?

The lead time and completion date for a commission can be agreed between artist and client before the order is confirmed.  We appreciate the need for clarity in this area but lead times will vary depending on the amount of work on the books at the time the order is placed, and the size and complexity of the order.  A reasonable average would be four to six weeks from order confirmation to completion. 

What geographical area does this service cover?

Nick is happy to work worldwide and has completed commissions in several countries.  For smaller on-site commissions it is practical to limit his work to the home counties.  However, with the option of bespoke hand painted murals or trompe l'oeil via marouflage, which is a suitable route for almost all of Nick's commissions, he is happy to complete commissions intended for any final destination globally. 

Will the mural or trompe l'oeil painting be durable?

All murals and trompe l'oeil paintings are executed with the highest quality paints and varnishes available. Acrylic based mediums tend now to be the norm. These are more environmentally friendly than the oil based products and also have the advantage of not yellowing over time.  This stability of colour is particularly important where the colour tones in the mural have been created to complement or match soft furnishings and flooring. All works are sealed and protected with acrylic varnishes to allow for years of enjoyment, whilst being easy to clean should any mishaps occur.  This method of protection does not require any maintenance. 

What is marouflage?

Marouflage is the technique of painting murals onto large areas of canvas or paper and then fixing the design onto the surface as a mural. It is a respected and long-used tool in the muralists'  armoury, allowing the design itself to be created in the artist's studio. 

How does a marouflage differ from hand painted wallpaper?

Essentially, the difference is that the popular and beautiful hand painted wallpaper designs produced by such companies as de Gournay or Zuber are, naturally enough, not truly bespoke. The idea, in the creation of these wallpapers, which became popular during the 18th century fascination with all things oriental (Chinoiserie), was to provide a form of decoration which approximated a bespoke finish at a lower cost.  Ironically, many of the wallpapers currently available compare unfavourably with the cost of a bespoke mural from an artist who is able to offer these delightful chinoiserie designs or papiers peints panoramiques, often to better fit the dimensions of the room, at a lower cost than an off the shelf solution. 

What do I do next?

To find out more about commissioning a work, or to discuss your ideas without obligation, contact Nick.