How to hire a muralist

Commissioning an artist to paint a mural for you can be a fun and rewarding experience, and there are only a few basic steps you need to take before you can sit back and enjoy the work that was created for you.

The steps to hire a muralist are: research artists, vet your muralist list to ensure compatibility, set specifications, and negotiate their commission. You can find mural artists for hire at art festivals, online, via social media, or even by asking your friends, family and co-workers.

 Hiring a muralist to paint a wall for you is one way to add color to your life.
Hiring a muralist to paint a wall for you is one way to add color to your life.

Do your homework

Quite simply, to ensure you maximize the enjoyment you will get from your artwork, you will need to do some research first.

While this is probably the most time-consuming step, taking time for due diligence will help guarantee a gratifying experience. There is a multitude of ways you can go about finding a mural artist for hire.

Unless you have an unlimited bank account that affords you the opportunity to hire and then pay for an international artist to travel from halfway around the world, you will more than likely want to hire a local artist.

There are several benefits to doing this beyond the money you’ll save from “buying local.” Supporting local art and the artists who live in your community is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as an art connoisseur.

Once you’ve made the decision to hire a local artist, you can look online to find local art museums, galleries, and open studios to visit in your town or nearby communities.

This is when the fun begins…

Go see mural art!

Invest some time in visiting one or more of these locations to find what works for you, keeping in mind that you are making an investment in the beautification of your property, whether the mural is to be located indoors or out. After all, if you do not happen to like impressionist art, then you won’t want to hire a painter whose passion is impressionism.

When you do see something you like, get the artist’s name or, better still, their name and contact info, if available.

Here are two pointers to remember: Don’t be afraid to reach out to an artist whose work you’ve seen on canvas. The chances are very good that you can still commission them to create a mural for you. Secondly, feel free to vet several artists during this part of the process.

 The beauty of murals is that they are accessible for the masses to enjoy their beauty.
The beauty of murals is that they are accessible for the masses to enjoy their beauty.

If you’ve run into a brick wall (no pun intended) during this phase of the project, there are other resources you can use to find an artist that’s right for you.

Look online for a local art association in your town. This is an excellent resource that bridges the gap between artists and art enthusiasts. Better still, you can attend a curated show at a museum or perhaps one or more outdoor art shows in your neck of the woods.

Art festivals have many painters displaying their works who also can be commissioned to paint a mural for you. With so many artists together in one location, your options are endless. Keep in mind, however, that the further the distance , the more it will cost you to hire that artist.

If you still are not having any luck landing an artist, then there are a couple of web resources at your “thumb tips.”

Thumbtack, THE MURAL CO. (TMC) and Side Arts are three websites that aggregate artist information so that customers can easily find mural artists for hire.

Thumbtack is an online service that matches customers with local professionals, and currently lists hiring a mural artist among its 1,100 types of services that they offer customers.

A search for artists in our little corner of the world revealed 10 artists who do mural paintings – even though most were not located within our zip code. Again, hiring an artist outside your area will most likely raise the overall cost of the mural project, so be sure to link to their personal website to determine where they live.

The one downside of THE MURAL CO. is that they predominantly focus on 22 cities in the U.S. and others from around the world – although they do claim their artists are available worldwide.

TMC’s website says they are an: “award-winning creative mural agency specializing in commissioned large-scale interior/exterior murals, graffiti art, street art & urban contemporary art installations for offices, businesses, centers, buildings, shops, cafes & restaurants, homes, events, live painting and more. Our passion is to create captivating, culturally relevant murals that enhance & transform spaces, engage audiences, and activate brands.”

A personal favorite is Philadelphia, Pa.-based Side Arts, which is a global community of visual artists who use the website to promote their art and search verified calls for artists, exhibitions and other income opportunities. Posting a call for an artist is all you have to do to attract a qualified artist successfully.

 No matter where you live, there is a muralist near you looking to create art for you.
No matter where you live, there is a muralist near you looking to create art for you.

If you’ve exhausted all of these leads, there are still other social media tools, specifically Instagram and Facebook, to use in your search for a muralist.

Did you know that on Instagram that the hashtag (#murart) contains over 1.16 million posts with that designation? You can also conduct a search for Mural Artist for Hire on Facebook.

Even if you don’t utilize Instagram to hire a mural painter, there is still some pretty badass mural art from around the world that is definitely worth checking out. You can also peruse this page to give you some ideas as to what art you’d like to have on your wall(s).

On Facebook, you can also hit up your list of friends by asking if anyone knows any mural artists for hire. Word of mouth also works with your family and friends and is, if nothing else, a great conversation starter to have over drinks, dinner or in the breakroom at your place of employment.

Take time to talk to the muralists

During the research phase, get to know the artist by asking him or her questions about their craft, their passion for art and what makes them tick as an artist. Not only will you probably learn something new, but the artists will appreciate your interest in their work. A true win-win!

As part of your discussions with potential artists, you will want to ask for references and broach the subject of compensation. You can expect to pay for their labor and associated costs for materials.

Most artist will charge either by the hour or a fee per square foot and then a minimum square footage per project, even for smaller projects. Some artists may charge a little more per square foot based on high-end detail work and a lesser fee for the rest of the project.

This is a conversation you will want to have with the artist so that you are both on the same page in terms of compensation. Additionally, ask about the payment structure. Most artists prefer to be paid half of their fee up front and the balance on completion of the project.

 Take time to vet a muralist before hiring him or her. Learn their style, what makes them tick and why they are passionate about street art. You will also want to discuss the design of your mural as well.
Take time to vet a muralist before hiring him or her. Learn their style, what makes them tick and why they are passionate about street art. You will also want to discuss the design of your mural as well.

Picking a mural design

Now that you’ve done due diligence and have the “hardest” part of the “job” out of the way, now it’s time to have even more fun than before!

Whether you have an idea in mind or prefer to let the artist explore the depths of their creativity by crafting their own design, you will want them to sketch out the artwork for you since this piece will be seen by the public or by your family on a regular basis if painted within your home.

While we advocate the creativity of the artist’s imagination, it is understandable if you have some idea in mind. If so, communicate these criteria to the artist:

  • What you want to achieve with the mural

  • Colors you want to use

  • The theme or subject

  • Things you want to avoid

You will want to sign off on the concept design before the mural is started so you both know what the finished product will look like. It’s much easier to work out any changes on paper first instead of after it’s finished.

Please also keep in mind that the finished hand painted artwork is not going to look exactly like the digital mock-up or sketch when finished, but it’s still the best way to make sure you’re on the same page with the concept, colors, and layout.

Remember that mural artists can paint almost any surface: glass, small objects, sculptures, vehicles, or even whole buildings are a few of the available canvases for your mural art. Some specialized mural artists can even incorporate paintings with installations and have artwork come alive with augmented reality or 3-D painting. There truly is no limit to your imagination with mural art!

Once the artist begins, take time to stand back and periodically check out their work as it progresses. It will definitely give you a better understanding of the mural art process and a deeper appreciation for what it takes to deliver a finished piece.