Monday, February 21, 2011

Murals: an interview by Kayla Mento

Kayla Mento Interviewing Dylan Rooke

K-     When did you paint your first mural and where was it?

D-   I believe I painted my first mural when I was in 9th grade, the year 2000, at Yough High School
K-     When and why did you decide to start painting murals?

D-   Well, our art teacher was pretty enthusiastic about having students paint murals and slowly infecting the halls and classrooms with art. I, being an ambitious young artist, was quickly encouraged to do so in the halls of the school. I embraced the opportunity and I’ve been having fun learning and practicing mural art from time to time amongst other art endeavors over the years.

K-    Have you ever been funded by an organization for painting a mural?

D-   I’ve been personally hired on occasion by individuals desiring art in their places of business and houses, but I never been funded by a group or organization to date.
K-     How many murals have you painted in your lifetime?

D-   Well, I’ll have to estimate this number, because I’m not sure if I had recorded all of them. I did most while in school, and who pays attention in those years, haha. So, if I were to estimate, somewhere near 15 or 20, some of those wouldn’t be strictly murals, but art done and presented in such a way. Not a whole ton, but enough to grapple the concept.

K-     Have you ever had to pay out of pocket in order to paint a mural?

D-   In the murals that I have been hired to do there has been times I’ve had to pay out of pocket for supplies up front, but the payment usually includes a supply list compensation. I have done others for enjoyment, and those, of course, have no outside funding. Though I don’t have personal experience from it, I’m sure when hired by an organization to do a mural, they usually supply the equipment before hand and have it separate from the budget they are paying the artist for. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s something of the sort.

K-    How long did it take you to paint one of your murals and did you have help? 

D-   I’ve had help on occasion, usually my twin brother who is also an artist, since we share similar artistic style. I’ve never had a large-scale mural project under my belt, like on the side of a building for instance; the murals I’ve done usually are on interior walls. The time spent on a mural is very relative; time working on them has generally taken anywhere from 10 to 40 hours, maybe? It’s hard for me to answer that non-generally. A lot of factors play a role: size, detail, medium, and as you’ve asked, team size. But as for one example, I just finished a mural which was two small bathrooms in a restaurant, everything that was wall space, the medium was acrylic and spray paint, I worked alone, and it took me somewhere between 15-20 hours.

K-    How important is it to have team work available during this process?

D-   I believe teamwork is a little more vital the larger the project, especially if there is a time restraint or deadline. The other reason would be to keep excitement on the project. Sometimes if working on a huge project by oneself it can be very overloading and mundane and progress can feel like molasses, but if working with a team, you can see progress happen faster and also, hopefully, have a higher moral from being with other artists, rather than slaving away long hours alone. Then again I’ve also seen distractions arise from being in teams and not being able to focus.  I guess it depends on the team and the ability to be productive and focused together. Again, so many variables.

K-    Have you ever purposefully tried to use different art styles in your murals to give yourself a challenge?

D-   This most recent mural was an experiment on a style I hadn’t really done in a mural yet. I chose to do mostly stencils and spray paint, which took a lot of patience cutting out stencils and measuring them to the size relevance of the rooms. The most challenging part was doing the project in layers rather than from say left to right, because you don’t get a complete idea of the finished product until the last layer. Whereas, if you do a mural a more traditional style, like acrylic paint, you see it piece together a lot more as you go along.

K-     Who was your first inspiration in deciding you wanted to paint murals?

D-   My first inspiration for doing murals would probably be my high school art teacher, Bob Weaver. He’s not only an art hero of mine but a life hero as well.  He was a crucial part of training and encouragement in art expression and motivation.

K-   Do you think painting murals can brighten up a community and pinpoint important issues going on in that neighborhood?

D-   I think public murals are an amazing tool at communicating current issues and goals ,and historical structure and experience. I really enjoy murals that help give an understanding at what a neighborhood embodies or what its aims are. I see a lot that are very historical in nature, which pulls a populace together in a realization of local value.  You could argue that “graffiti” is a sort of public mural as well, I enjoy a lot of socially relevant street art for similar reasons as well, but it’s not exactly legal, but that’s half the fun, right? Haha. Cheers!