My most recent mural was a really fast-paced project. The second location for the Shop Made in DC store at The Wharf was opening a mere 4 weeks from my initial meeting about the project.
The concept was inspired by my DC Buildings print — and I couldn’t think of a shop more perfect for this mural. So while we already had the inspiration for the mural, I still had to sketch out the building placement for both murals and create color palettes (which usually takes longer than you think to land on).
Personally I love things that are irregular, that look hand-painted. I don’t want my work to look like it could be a printed decal, hence my lines not always being straight, and the color behind the buildings being abstract and not fully going to the edge of each building or being exaggerated outside of the lines.
In addition to the wall mural, I painted these two wood boards that were going in the windows.
I keep track of my hours to see if after the project is over, if I properly bid the project for the actual time it took to complete. Time is only one factor taken into consideration for the cost of the project.
I share these hours sometimes because I think behind the scenes is interesting and also so people understand the amount of time that goes into these types of mural projects.
Other unexpected costs also come into play, for example, just to park at the location for the 3 days I needed to paint this mural cost a total of $105. Yes, you saw that correctly, one hundred and five dollars to park at a project location. So when I bid projects I have to take all of these things into consideration.
Another thing that is deceiving is that the black line work on these types of murals takes a long time, and I have to go over each one twice.
Painting: 23 hours
Driving to & from location and meetings: 4 hours
Schlepping things to/from car/house/location: 2 hours
Selecting/getting paint: 1 hour
Emails & communication with client: 2 hours
Sketching concepts & color palette selection: 2 hours
Total: 34 hours
To put it into perspective, 34 hours is 4.25 8-hour work days, so almost an entire work week for this project. I also painted all day on a Sunday to get it done on the rushed timeline.
I hadn’t painted on wood like this before and with the line work, my hand would grace the wood with almost every stroke. I was not about to get a bunch of splinters, and didn’t have any gloves with me, so I just put painter’s tape on my hand while I painted the wood. I actually worked really well! You never know what types of problems you’ll have solve!
While I thought the mural looked great, once all of the furniture, plants, and products got into the space, it looked even better!
First four photos by Meg Biram, last photo by Mariah Miranda Photography