How mural commissions work.
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
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 your 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.
- Design alterations proceeding finalization
- Signed Estimate
- Finalize Schedule
- Equipment needs
- Interruptions could extend project
- Expectations (respecting “the process”, communicating expectations for dress code, work area cleanliness/organization, client interactions, food/drink restrictions, smoking/vaping, property limitations (parking, restricted areas, etc.) etc.)
- Provide necessary security codes, keys, parking passes, etc. prior to start. Exchange phone numbers or alternate contacts for after hours, questions, or emergencies.
- Change orders
- Communicating muralist needs (sink, restroom, dirty water disposal, ladder, extension cords, ability to control lights, etc.)
- Opportunities to promote live painting demonstration on social media
- Liability Insurance
- Sharing on social media
- Tipping your artist