A WHOLE WALL JUST FOR ART
Whenever there’s a plain white wall left just like that, the creative synapses start firing off wondering just what to place on such an empty expanse. Blanks are meant to be filled up and artistic genes can’t help but reimagine what could possibly be rendered given an enormous canvas. This possibly could be a plausible reason why murals and wallpapers came about.
What’s it all about, Murals?
Any large flat, convex or concave surfaces provides the ideals space for murals because these large scale paintings are meant to be directly placed on such walls and ceilings. Perhaps when man discovered that he could scribble images on cave walls, we can make an educated guess that this could be the oldest form of art. There are numerous examples that can be culled from archaeological discoveries of ancient human settlements. In that case, any alternative artistic style could well be translated into a mural. Trompe L’oeil murals seem to be the most renown because of its unique combination of realism creating a perspective of scale and depth.
These amazing murals usually have their backers or sponsors. The expense can be quite overwhelming because of the amount of space that needs to be covered. So, patrons, big corporations, government departments or other institutions, become the obvious supporters for these landmark projects. Thus, the placement of such grand works are more commonly found in public and private schools, government sites, or even on the façade of erected structures located in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Diego Rivera among others built their reputation with such impressive works. There’s a certain skill level that needs to be attained in order to accomplish such a daunting task.
The classic application for murals is direct to the prepared surface using the fresco technique. Wet plaster with added pigments becomes the fresco base. When these pigments get dry, there’s a slight fading but the bond to the plaster holds. One notable model is The Sistine Chapel houses which has the precedence of being one of the most admired murals in the whole world. Supposedly, there’s a team effort enforced that must be supported to finish the enormous work, but some artists today also take a solo route.
How did murals end up on walls . . . naturally?
It’s been genetically encoded into us from the time we were little to doodle on walls so there’s that innate transition to naturally making murals. Markings on such surfaces can be etched, scratched, carved, or even painted. Such remarkable murals have been discovered in the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, France, and we remain in awe of what muralists were able to create for the cultures of ancient Egypt, Rome, Mesopotamia, Greece and India.
Taking a closer look, there are some murals that date to Upper Paleolithic times, with some paintings in the south of France found inside the Chevaux Cave, Ardeche that are believed to have existed since 30.000 BC. Egyptian tombs have ancient murals that are circa 3150 BC, some other cultural treasures can be seen in the Minoan palaces from the Neopalatial period circa 1700-1600 BC, and in Pompeii circa 100 BC to 79 CE (AD). They used whatever available materials they had on hand to render magnificent murals and most of their “paints” were of an organic nature.
Art historians believe that mural painting has been around for the past 30,000 years. Cave paintings are hypothesized to be the precursor to such an art form, but there are other historians who think the Minoans and the Etruscans gave it a more formal process. Due to its location inside hard to reach places like caves, thankfully, these priceless works have been well preserved. Much like our modern selfies, the scenes depicted range from hunting and gathering, celebrating family life and commemorating the passing on of loved ones.
There continues to be an interesting development in the field of murals. The commissioning of new works seems to be well supported while there are surprising finds with old works. There are recent discoveries of Mayan wall paintings believed to have lasted since 100 A.D. in the very remote ruins of of El Petén and San Bartolo in Guatemala.
Murals are born out of varying cultural traditions and interpreted by the era that they find themselves in. For those murals in Tibet, they are meant to enhance meditative and reflective Buddhist practices. England, Germany, and France underwent a Baroque period, where those form the upper class aspired to have their likenesses posted on the walls of their vast mansions. These homes of the rich and famous also contained some stories from the Bible depicted on their numerous walls and ceilings.
Aside from these interior and exterior spaces, mural art placements continue to appear in palaces, temples, tombs, museums, libraries, churches, and other public buildings. Modern times have murals popping up in subway stations, mall facades, and in other innovative areas.
Any mural artist worth his or her salt will learn to adapt the commissioned work to the surface presented. The final output should capture that uplifting cultural significance which affects social norms and presents a snapshot of the issues raised by that time.
Updates in Mural Development
The trompe l’oeil is alive and well in today’s mural making, but other oil based mediums are also in fashion to create abstract concepts on a cacophony of surfaces. North America, Europe, and other countries still manage to produce these fantastic murals whether in a public or private milieu. As one witnesses the grandeur of a mural, the viewer is somehow affected whether on a deeper plane or just by standing in plain view of it. Some emotional undertones are brought forth just by how the mural reveals itself to those who are fortunate enough to see it.
Quite a number of private residences have homeowners who need to express their individuality through this art form. Small spaces take on another dimension with the paintings of forests and mountain views within its petite vicinity. Premier cities like New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Rome and the like would most probably have these unique murals in their design portfolio.
Great Rooms, Living Rooms, Bedrooms, Dining Rooms, Bathrooms, Solariums, Breakfast Rooms, Parlors, Private Offices among others are just some of the possible spaces for murals to be present. Feature walls custom made for quite a number of exclusive residences have been on the uptrend for enterprising muralists. These large hand-painted murals remain very flexible and any additions or requested subtractions to the décor can be accommodated as the work progresses. There is a familial bond that develops between the patron and the artist during the course of this project since this is one channel that actively supports the arts.
APPRECIATING HOW PAPER STICKS TO WALLS
Because wallpaper has been found fragile and ephemeral, it has become a poor relation of sorts to the decorative arts. Whatever survives the ravages of time becomes part of the history of wallpaper. Most of these pieces are collected for archives or museums, and if landmark buildings are still left standing, actual or recorded pictures of these interiors are maintained for posterity.
The use of wallpaper has always had that background effect and not quite meant for the foreground. Chinese decorative papers and French scenic depictions form the 19th century may be exceptions to this train of thought. The decorative effect it brings to a room is still regarded since it may affect the choice of furnishings and other home accessories. The function of a particular room, its age, the status or gender of the occupant may be hypothesized by the choice of wallpaper.
There have been differing opinions or contentious aspects with how wallpaper is to be used. It may serve a practical purpose for being attractive, clean and durable. But it may be considered as cheap decorative art because of the nature of the material. Maybe this has been surmised from the imitative quality of the paper. It can mimic other surfaces like tapestry, velvet, linen, wood, masonry work, or even a mural. The affordability seems to have affected the appreciation for its decorative support. You want champagne, but you can only pay for a beer, in some sense.
Since it has been perceived to be a cheap copy of something more expensive, there is a misnomer about wallpaper that unfortunately taints its reputation. In some literary references, those who are found to be substandard or fake can be compared to this substitute home décor. One admires more grand tapestries that line palace walls instead of a facsimile of such. It seems to even connote a decline in values and morals. Such a horrible notion for this innocent wall décor.
The sad assumption is that wallpaper becomes the metaphor for dishonesty and dissembling, something that’s not secure and doesn’t last. The appearance is given more importance than the actual substance. Maybe because of the advent of modern production processes, wallpaper has become more accessible to the mass market. Wall decorations weren’t anymore the unattainable wish reserved for the wealthy and refined. Working class residences could now place these decorative pieces on their own walls.
Even with this unintended sordid following, wallpaper has elevated itself as a proven room transformer. The simplest of venues become more grand with the right color and texture of wall décor added to it. From the most modest of homes to ornate mansions, wallpaper is a must when a certain area needs a quick makeover or a needed touch-up.
Though wallpaper tends to get damaged because of its composition, it sets the mood and time frame for a certain ambiance. Furniture and textiles by the very materials they are made from prove to be more resilient and can last longer. Generations can appreciate these furnishings and fabric for quite a while that even more generations after them inherit these pieces. But, the wallpaper you put up is meant just for that certain phase of life or a finite period only. But, that’s the innate beauty of it because having that wall art up marks a memorable moment. It may be a simple plain look or a more complex pattern, but what matters is the memories it generates of a forgotten childhood or a very significant event. Wallpaper witnesses our growth through our personal history.
PROLAB DIGITAL PUTS THE WOW ON YOUR WALLS
With over twenty years of experience, Prolab Digital knows what’s best to be placed on your available walls. Retail establishments, upscale hotels, premier exhibits, as well as several artists and artistic individuals understand the value of presenting large format graphics in their area. These intrinsic, eye-catching, and not to be missed pieces speak boldly of the organization represented or even the sophisticated taste of the individual who fortunately owns it.
Any digital format from a photograph to various graphic designs, even a corporate brand can be brilliantly transformed into a subsequent wall mural or wallpaper. The material of choice is adhesive vinyl due to its ease of application and is unlikely to be peeled off. There’s a special material that’s 54” wide which comes in various textured surfaces for those looking for the usual wallpaper feel. Regular wallpaper paste is used for the installation since the material has the same quality as readily available wallpaper.
Part of Prolab Digital’s capabilities is the availability of four printers that have the whys and wherefores to complete these wall-sized graphics. These printers are the Lightjet 430 photographic printer, the Epson GS6000 solvent based inkjet printer, the environmentally-friendly HP 25500 latex inkjet printer, and the Scitex XL Jet Grand Format printer. There are accompanying costs for each machine but you will be assisted on which production process can be the most hassle-free and budget friendly for your specific needs.
GIVE YOUR MURALS AND WALLPAPERS THAT PROLAB DIGITAL TOUCH
Why wait? To find out more about how beautiful murals and specially designed wallpaper can brighten up your space.