Connecticut Artist To Help Others Achieve

The Faux Finisher by Diane Capuano - 07/01/2005

faux_finisher_cover.jpgFor nearly a decade, decorative artist Patrick Ganino has beautified homes and businesses as the owner of Creative Evolution in Madison, Conn. His murals in restaurants and other high-profile locations throughout Connecticut have made him one of the most visible and sought-after decorative artists in the entire state. Now, Ganino is focusing on helping other artists experience their own “creative evolutions” by launching his own school: The Institute of Decorative Painting.

Ganino launched Institute of Decorative Painting in late April at a 1,000-square-foot facility that serves as both a classroom setting and a showcase of various finishes and techniques. Classes at school cover a wide range of subjects, including glazed finishes, decorative plasters, murals, trompe l’oeil, color and design. Most classes last one or two days and are affordably priced at under $1,000, including a catered breakfast and lunch.

In addition to classes on faux-finishing principles and techniques, there also is a one-day class that focuses on the business side of faux finishing. This class is designed to help budding faux finishers take their talents and parlay them into a thriving decorating painting business. “Focusing on the business side is essential,” Ganino explains. “You can have all the artistic talent in the world, but if you don’t know how to manage your business, you won’t succeed. A lot of what we teach is common sense, but many artists need someone to tell them how to price, how to create a portfolio and how to market themselves.”

Located throughout the school are large-scale samples and photos of Ganino’s work, which are meant to serve as an inspiration for students as they move forward with their own decorative painting careers. The school also features of a store of decorative products, which includes glazes, plasters, brushes and Ganino’s own custom stencil line. The custom stencil series has been specifically designed for use with glazing and plaster techniques.

A self-taught artist who has been painting murals and other decorative finishes since 1996, Ganino is the primary instructor at the Institute of Decorative Painting. Other instructors at the school are: Mike Sundell, who been responsible for Creative Evolution’s faux department for the past two years, and Sharon McCormick, the owner of Fairchild House Interiors in Durham, Conn.

Much of the curriculum will focus on Ganino’s proven methods for speeding up decorative painting projects, thus enabling faux finishers to make more money while still giving their clients a beautiful finish. “We show how you can simplify a project and eliminate the steps that slow you down,” Ganino reports.

As an example, Ganino teaches a method for creating faux stones with freeform grout lines. He also shows students how they can work efficiently with quick-dry glazes. “We show them various ways to be fast and efficient,” Ganino explains. “That has been the secret to our success. We’ve been able to charge less, but because we work twice as fast, we actually make more.”

Ganino stresses that the class sizes will be limited to a maximum of eight to 10 people to ensure that each student gets personalized attention and plenty of hands-on experience. In the technique classes, students will take home eight completed sample boards. In the mural and trompe l’oeil classes, students will go home with one to two completed works. The goal is to make sure students leave with the feeling that they learned something truly worthwhile that they can put to use in their careers. “I want them to feel that they had a truly high-end, awesome experience,” Ganino reports.

For more information about Creative Evolution Institute of Decorative Painting, call (866) 775-FAUX, or visit online at

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