At Larger Than Life Murals, we have a zest for learning. Through the years, we have compiled a list of helpful resources which cover a wide range of topics related to public arts and culture, including economic and educational impact.
There is a wealth of information and opportunity out there. This list is not exhaustive, just a collection of some we’ve found useful. We hope you do also.
If you are a working or aspiring public artist…one of the best things you can do for yourself is educate yourself.
Public arts and culture is a growing industry. And if you want to be a part of it, the more you learn about the industry the better. You can research and study successful public arts programs, join support organizations, find many educational and working opportunities, grants, residencies, and the list goes on.
Visit some public art spaces in person, and if that’s not possible, visit their websites. Ask yourself, what makes them successful? What appeals to you most? Who is considered the top artists in their disciplines? What would be your best contribution to the public at large?
See what’s out there, not so that you’ll copy someone else’s work or style, but rather be encouraged, inspired, challenged to really dig deep, and bring forth your inner most dreams and aspirations as an artist. Check out our Inspiration page for some very cool public art. Dream big! No limits. If you could create anything… what would it be? (Then do it)
If you’re on a cultural arts council, or want to help start/develop a public arts program but don’t know where to begin, this is a pretty good place. Again, educate yourself.
The good news is, the real work has been done for you. There are links below to comprehensive studies, compendiums, reports- with real data for the numbers guys- to help you win your case for public art and art in schools, as well as so many other tools and opportunities to help you grow your public arts program.
Please note: Linda Shrader and Echo Westover of Larger Than Life Murals are sharing this information with you to for the benefit of public art everywhere. We base our opinions on our own personal experiences. Your own experience may vary.
If Graffiti Happens… call Larger Than Life Murals to restore your mural 760-413-2116
It’s one of the biggest fears of public art councils, city officials, school boards, business owners… to spend hard earned money on a beautiful mural, only to have it destroyed with graffiti. Truthfully, very few murals actually get graffitied, compared to the number that are out there. So take breath and relax a bit.
For example, in the 12 years we’ve been painting murals, only one we’re aware of has been graffitied. Maybe we’ve been fortunate, but our experience shows us that most communities, including schools, take great pride in their murals. Even most “street artists” show respect and don’t touch the murals.
A disgruntled 8th grader graffitied this middle school mural:
To make matters worse, he used heat-resistant engine paint, leaving the empty cans behind. This mural is 30’ x 15’ and he sprayed as much as he could reach from the ground. We’re only showing a portion here, to avoid displaying profanities that were also sprayed on the wall. The school principal was horrified… school was starting in a week, AND the district school board was coming for a tour of the newly remodeled school, complete with the new mural they were excited to see in person.
Like all Larger Than Life Murals, this mural was painted with Nova Color artist grade mural paint, and this mural was NOT coated with anything afterwards. At that time, we were not 100% confident with any particular mural coating, and trusted the highest UV rated Nova Color paints we used, to hold up. Which they do, and most of our murals are in the high and low deserts of So. Cal., with intense sun and often blowing sand.
After extensive research, we found what we believe is the very best graffiti remover. In fact, it’s the World’s Best Graffiti Remover, by Urban Restoration Group. The testimonials on their website at http://www.graffitiremovalinc.com are quite impressive. Quite a claim. We believe it.
We called Urban Restoration Group and followed up with a visit to their LA office. Adam Kopcho, Director US Operations, was very helpful and informative. We purchased their Sensitive Surface remover, which is designed to use on painted surfaces. Applying the remover as directed, wiping it off with a damp cloth, repeating as necessary, the spray paint came off very easily and removed very little mural paint in only the toughest areas.
From a distance, the mural would have looked fine without touch-ups to the artwork, but we did touch it up, knowing it would be scrutinized up close by the touring school board, we wanted it to look it’s best!
This is how the mural looked when we were done.
In addition, Adam gave us a sample pack of various World’s Best Graffiti remover products, which we really appreciated. As a gesture of gratitude to the school district for their repeated business, we gave them some of the Bare Brick remover, designed to use on unpainted surfaces like block or concrete walls, because we noticed some “tagging” graffiti on some sidewalks in front of the school. The school maintenance staff was thrilled, and later said they couldn’t believe how wonderfully it worked, and stressed the time and money they saved using the Bare Brick Graffiti Remover.
Disclaimer- Larger Than Life Murals is not associated in anyway with Urban Restoration Group, nor is Larger Than Life Murals compensated by them any way. We are simply sharing our experience for the greater good of public art everywhere. Claims are based on our experience. Results may vary. Please use all products as directed by the manufacturer.
Larger Than Life Murals is proud to announce their new studio will be open both weekends of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council Open Studio Art Tours, Oct. 25-26 and Nov. 1-2, 2014. Location and hours information soon forthcoming.
In addition to murals, Linda Shrader and Echo Westover will be exhibiting fine art oil and acrylic paintings, graphite drawings, photography, and sculptural pottery.
“This is a first for us, and we’re very excited,” says Linda Shrader, artist/muralist, and co-owner of Larger Than Life Murals.
Linda recently returned to the high desert, after living in Riverside for the past 5 years, and bought another home in Yucca Valley. “It’s good to be back in the Morongo Basin, we’ve been busy in our new studio and we’re very excited about finally being able to participate in the MBCAC Open Studio Art Tours this fall. Our new studio has a 16′ ceiling, so we can showcase some murals in studio.”
A life-long artist, Shrader has been painting murals over 12 years, and started Larger Than Life Murals in 2007. She and her co-owner and daughter, Echo Westover, have painted several murals in the Morongo Basin, including the Patriotic Mural on the Glen Realty building in Yucca Valley, and two murals in Joshua Tree, the Respect/Protect Tortoise Mural on the Joshua Tree Laundry building and Welcome to Joshua Tree on the Natural Sisters Cafe building.
In 2001, Linda served on the first Board of Directors for the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council. One of the board’s early visions was to create an Open Studio Art Tour. They did, and with the efforts of successive boards, many volunteers, and support of the patrons, the Hwy. 62 Open Studio Art Tours has become a big success here in the Morongo Basin, and continues to grow each year. Read more on www.mbcac.org
The Hummingbird Mural is approx. 6′ x 4.5′, Acrylic on interior wall. Commissioned by Yucca Family Medical Care, Yucca Valley, CA.
Here’s the story of this mural… The Office Manager, Jenifer, who commissioned us to paint several murals, had already adorned many of their halls and patient rooms with beautiful art and large framed desert photography. She wanted something more… she really wanted their office to aesthetically have the “wow” factor. Echo and I jumped at the chance to aim high and “wow” her! The staff loves desert landscapes, plants, and animals, so subject matter is plentiful, we just needed some great designs and photo references.
I set out on a mission in the Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) to take some fresh photos with Starlin and Blaze. But it was mid-May, and the wildflowers were scarce. Remembering the garden at the Hi Desert Water District office, we headed across town and got there just before the sun went down, and indeed, there was a variety of plants still blooming. Just as I was about to snap a shot of this purple flower, a hummingbird buzzed right into the frame! It darted around a bit, pausing as if posing, letting me get several shots, and then was gone again. How cool was that!?
So here is the design we presented with my original photograph:
The room was painted this beautiful green after our presentation, we we adjusted the colors of the mural to work with the room.
Here is the finished painted mural:
“Larger Than Life Murals exceeded our expectations from beginning to completion. Professional and dependable, Linda and Echo went above and beyond to complete 4 murals within a very tight schedule. We love our murals, and confidently recommend Larger Than Life Murals.”
Jenifer Batin, Office Manager, Yucca Family Medical Care 2014
I also shot a time-lapse video of this mural painting, so I’ll get that up asap!
Joshua Tree, CA. Private Commission. Acrylic on stucco. 40′ x 5′
Close-up of Quail
Echo Westover with Cory Hamilton Assisting
Desert Oasis Panorama
The home where this mural is located is near the beautiful Joshua Tree National Monument. The homeowners love the desert landscape, and wanted to be able to see it even while in their pool. Working with some photos the homeowners had taken of some favorite hiking trails, plants, rocks, views, and the request to add a watery desert oasis complete with a quail, we designed a mural to fit the space and manifest their vision.
“From the design phase to completion, working with Larger Than Life Murals was a pleasant experience. Our expectations were met or exceeded, and we are very happy with our finished mural.”
Their beautiful pool area was created to enjoy with their children and grandchildren, so we added an extra element of fun to the mural by painting all 15 of their names into the mural, very small and only visible up close. We heard they had fun searching for their names, like a big page of Where’s Waldo? 😉
Welcome to Joshua Tree Mural is a community mural in Joshua Tree, CA. The 21′ x 9′, mural was painted in acrylic on stucco.
Sponsored by many local businesses in the Village of Joshua Tree, and painted by Echo Westover and Linda Shrader of Larger Than Life Murals. It’s on the East-facing wall of Natural Sisters Cafe on Hwy. 62., a gracious contribution from building owner, Linda Perry.
Designed by Echo Westover, the jack rabbit on the right, also painted by Echo Westover, is a Larger Than Life version of Marcia Geiger’s original small painting “Surprise Jack,” which was recreated in the mural with her permission. You can see her reaction to seeing it finished in the video below.
We had a lot of fun painting this mural, and because of the family-friendly atmosphere in Joshua Tree, Echo and I were assisted by my other 3 daughters: Piper Robison, Starlin and Blaze Shrader. And by my sister, Jody Person. We were also honored by the assistance of the famous Aaron Hansen on the lettering.