Do you have an idea for a custom mural for your facility but aren't sure where to begin?
Hiring a muralist may feel like an overwhelming task, so we've laid out the details below to help ease this process and know what to expect from Kat Geesaman.
Please note, there is no universal, by-the-book, hiring process for muralists. This information should be used as a general guide and does not disregard the professionalism or reliability of any muralist with a schedule that differs from the content below.
- What to know before consulting a muralist
- What to consider about the subject of your mural design
- Design deposits
- Revisions, estimates and design finalization
- Painting begins! Things to know and consider while your muralist is working.
- Project completion - What to expect
- Mural Copyright
Before contacting a muralist, it is important to know where you intend to have the work completed. You'll want to have as much information about the intended location of the mural as possible. These details will be considered when building a quote, so the more information you can provide the more precise the quote will be. It is okay if you are unsure of the exact wall location at the time of inquiry. Your muralist can help you make this decision when it is time. For now, give them any details you can about its' potential placement and/or dimensions.
Be sure to include wall details such as:
- Address of the property
- Interior or exterior wall(s)?
- The dimensions of the wall(s). Include dimensions of any windows or doors that occupy the wall space and indicate if these should be painted or left bare.
- Wall texture (painted or textured drywall, exposed block, stucco, etc.)
- A picture of the wall(s). This will help your muralist determine how much and what kind of preparation is required before painting may begin. Additionally, these photos may be used to transpose the design concept onto the wall to help you visualize what your mural will look like before the work begins!
- Base color. If you do not expect the design to occupy the entire wall space, will your muralist be asked to apply a base color before beginning? Some clients prefer to change the color of the mural wall to an accent color. If you are unsure, you can ask your muralist for their professional opinion on application and color coordination.
Additional details that may help your muralist know what to expect, such as:
- Hours of operation. If this facility is open to the public, your muralist will want to know if they will be able to paint during these hours without interruption. Some muralists prefer to work while the facility is closed and will need access to the building. In order to provide a proper quote, details such as these must be considered when estimating the number of hours it will take to complete the project. If a muralist can only paint during the hours your facility is closed, they may need to extend their stay by a few nights to make-up for the lost time.
- Accommodations. If you're hiring a muralist from out of town, they will need to make arrangements for a place to stay. Some muralists will happily crash in a spare room to help you save on their travel expenses, while others may travel with a pet and require their own space. If you have an alternative to booking a hotel reservation, this is an ideal time to ask your muralist about their accommodation needs and if they would consider other options.
- Deadlines. If you have a specific date you expect the mural to be completed by, it is important to communicate this information as early in the hiring process as possible. Most muralists are juggling multiple jobs at a time and may need to make arrangements with their other clients to ensure they meet your deadline. In some cases, there may be an additional fee for expedited completion or "skipping the waitlist".
Budget. It is very important to discuss your budget with your muralist prior to designing. Muralists use different formulas for calculating the cost of their work and most muralists have a minimum fee for small jobs. It is unlikely that they will be able to provide an accurate estimate this early in the process, however, depending on your budget and the scale of work requested, your muralist should be able to confirm or deny their ability to work within that price range.
Kat’s mural rates start at $500 and are calculated by a square-foot rate based on design intricacy and total dimensions.
It is totally normal to feel unsure about the subject matter of your mural. It can be very difficult for some to visualize a design that doesn't actually exist.
It's okay! You're in luck! Creating something from nothing is exactly what artists, including your muralist, specialize in!
Whether you know every detail or just the color you like, your muralist will want to hear everything you have to say about your mural idea. Don't be afraid to communicate your vision. Your muralist will be imagining design concepts as you describe the details of your own.
Here are some details to consider for your design:
- What is the main purpose of the mural and who is the audience? Is this mural going to be in a surgery suite where it will serve as a reference or have educational purposes for vet staff; or is this a lobby mural where its intended purpose is only to be aesthetically pleasing for your clients?
- Theme and color hues. Consider the theme, or vibe, of your facility when discussing the details of your mural. You may want to use similar color hues to avoid color clashing and to maintain a certain visual flow through the room. Are you looking for a realistic depiction of your subject or a more animated appearance? Your design expectations should align with similar work found the portfolios of the muralists you have considered.
- Sentiment. Is this mural representing or memorializing something/someone sentimental to you? If so, what are some characteristics of the subject or person you are honoring?
- Size matters. Is this design going to occupy the entire wall space or just a portion of it? Mural designs often tend to exaggerate proportions and some subjects are not true to size. For example, in a mural of a bluejay on a 10ft wall, the bluejay will be much larger than a real, live bluejay. Indicate if there is a subject that must be depicted in its' true size.
In many ways, hiring a muralist is similar to hiring a tattoo artist. If you want to hire a tattoo artist, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to schedule your appointment. This is to cover the time the artist invests in you and your design. You are quite literally purchasing their time.
Once the details of the mural have been discussed and your muralist has accepted the job, they will want to collect a deposit (also known as an “installment fee”). These fees may vary, but all are non-refundable. This is because you have reserved their time for a future date, meaning they will not accept any work that would conflict with this schedule. Additionally, your muralist will invest a significant amount of time putting together design concepts for you and should be compensated for such.
The installment fee to hire Kat is $500.00 USD and includes up to three design revisions. Additional revisions may be made for an additional fee at her discretion. Though it is not always the case for every muralist, the installment fee for Kat is applied to your overall balance at the time of final payment.
Though it is uncommon, it is not abnormal for a muralist to decline a design proposition. Indicating the reason(s) for declining a job, however, are not always disclosed. Declining work is often a difficult decision for an artist, of any kind, and should not be taken personally. Reasons a muralist would decline a design proposition may include, but are not limited to the following:
- The style of the requested design does not align with that of the artist’s existing portfolio. Therefore, the artist may feel they are unable to meet your expectations for the piece and might recommend a fellow muralist with a more relatable portfolio.
- Some muralists set a minimum overall budget or dimension for their work and will not accept jobs that do not meet the minimum requirements.
- They are unable to meet your deadline or produce a piece within your budget. If this is the case, the reason will likely be disclosed and the muralist may recommend a fellow muralist that could meet your needs.
- Moral or personal reasons. If a muralist suspects a design proposition violates their morals or may reflect negatively on their reputation, they will likely refuse to accept.
- Liability reasons. Though it is not always the responsibility of the muralist to verify ownership or contract agreements, they may not feel comfortable proceeding without a signed approval letter from a property owner, leasing agent, etc. if you do not own the property you’ve requested to be painted. Additionally, if the property in question is regulated by an agency, such as an HOA or township, the muralist may require written approval before proceeding.
After a muralist has revealed the design they've worked up for you, it is important to respond within a reasonable amount of time. If you need some time to consider any alterations, communicate this with them. They will expect your honest feedback. Their ultimate goal is to bring your vision to life, so do not be afraid to request changes.
When working with Kat, this is the best time to make any alterations. Making changes after painting has begun will result in change-order fees. Therefore, it is very important to communicate any concerns about design concepts as soon as possible.
If you are not satisfied with the direction a concept is going, it may be necessary to ask your muralist to scrap the design and start fresh. A good muralist will want to present a concept that looks identical to the vision they have for the final product. Therefore, it is very important to discuss even minor changes such as overall brightness, color shades and hues, etc. It is risky to assume the final product might appear differently by these minor details without discussing it with your muralist.
Kat will usually include an estimate with every design concept to demonstrate the price variations that coincide with design alterations, as needed. However, some artists will wait until a design has been completely finalized before providing a quote.
Once you are completely satisfied with your design, Kat will require a signature on the estimate she has provided. This signed estimate is not a binding contract and does not represent the total for the completed project. Your signature merely verifies that you were provided a quote to represent the expected total cost of the job as accurately as possible, you have reviewed the quote and verified it is within your budget and that the listed information is accurate so she may proceed with completing the project.
At this time, a specific date and schedule should be determined for completing the mural. Kat will be able to estimate how many days it will take to complete, often including a few days as a buffer for unexpected delays. She will answer any questions you may have about the process and review what to expect.
Your muralist understands that they are temporarily invading your space during this project and will want to respect your rules. It is important to communicate these expectations or any restrictions prior to their arrival.
Topics may include:
- Where to store paint equipment at the end of each day during multiple-day projects.
- Any property limitations (parking, restricted areas, restrooms, etc.)
- Smoking or vaping policies
- Food and beverage policies
• Requirements due to health and safety regulations for your facility.
• Restrictions if work is to be conducted on premises and within public view.
Each muralist has their own approach to starting a mural. Some prefer to outline the design free-hand, while others may use a projector or a technique known as the "grid" method. No matter the approach, your muralist will communicate any needs before they begin to avoid any unnecessary interruptions.
Needs may include:
- Water source (sink or hose)
- Place to dispose of their dirty water
- Electrical outlet and location of light controls
- Phone number or contact information for any after-hours needs or in the event of an emergency
* Minimize interruptions once painting has begun to avoid breaking artist focus or deadline extensions.
* "Trust the process". Remember that you hired this muralist because you reviewed their portfolio and approved a concept design. You chose them because you felt they could achieve a final product that you will be happy with.
* Changes to the original design, also known as "change orders", can usually be accommodated for an additional fee and may affect the overall budget and timeline of the project.
*This could be an excellent opportunity to promote a live painting demonstration on social media to draw in more business. Always ask your muralist for permission before recording them or inviting viewers to come watch. Some artists do not feel comfortable with a live audience and the pressure may affect the quality of their work.
Once your mural is complete, your muralist is going to be anxiously awaiting your feedback. Be sure to tell them how much you love your new mural!
Here are a few ways to show your appreciation:
• It is appropriate to tip your muralist as you would a tattoo artist, hair stylist or fine artist for completing a custom service. (20% is not expected, however, anything within $20-$200 is reasonable for a great experience.)
• Share your experience (include a picture of the finished product) by creating a post on your social media platforms. Make sure to tag your artist or their business page so viewers may contact them!
• Share your post with any groups or individuals you feel would particularly appreciate the work. Groups may include your city's Facebook page, a VetMed page if you are an animal hospital, or a business down the street.
• Refer a friend! If you know someone else that may be interested in a mural, tell them about your muralist or, if you feel it is appropriate, provide your muralist with contact information so they may reach out directly.
Ready to hire Kat to complete your mural?
Click here to get started!
All artists own the copyright to their original work. This includes your mural if it is an original design. This copyright law does not apply to business logos or isolated text. Therefore, though you own the original work, you do not own the right to reproduce the image for resale. Permission to reproduce a mural, is at the discretion of the artist.
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