Murals With a Different Kind of View

Middletown Press by Bill Earls - 03/16/2000

middletown_03162000_1.jpgWhen Tony and Ann Gagnon talk about why they hired a muralist instead of a house painter or paper hanger to decorate the walls in their kitchen and the childrens' rooms, they say they wanted something different.

"I didn't want regular paint," Ann Gagnon said. "I wanted to liven up the kitchen."

Pat Ganino did that. Ganino calls himself a "muralist" and what he does is paint walls - or, better said, he does painting on walls. The walls of the Gagnon's kitchen spans about 14 feet. Ganino framed it with a panting of lightly leafed trees, bending left and right, to draw the viewer's eye inward. A few feet in are two scenes: a barn in a country field with a road leading up to it; and a tree-surrounded lake with tall, snow capped mountains in the background. Tony Gagnon intends to frame the two pictures with crown molding to match the recently refinished windows.

Ganino from Gales Ferry, said he has been working full time as a muralist for about a year, doing ceilings and walls , working mostly in latex because the colors are bright and because latex doesn't give off the strong fumes that oils would.

"I did this about four or five years ago, including a lot of restaurants," he said.

His portfolio shows everything from flowers, to classical statues, to scenes on the sides of garages. He got away from that for a while and worked in an office.

"I left that a year ago because I knew I could do better doing this," he said.

What made the project work , the Gagnons say are Ganino's ideas. They had seen his work in a friend's house and invited him to do their home. Ganino said he asked them what they wanted, listened to them talk about themselves and their lifestyle, then proposed his own ideas.

"We just put it into Patrick's hands," Ann Gagnon said.

For their 2 year old son Aidan's room, Ganino came up with a little boy theme: "Trucks and tractors in an outdoor setting," Ann said. The Gagnons are expecting a second child in June and for the baby's room, he did a moon and stars and cupids.

Although he's done restaurants and will paint murals for other businesses as well, it's homes that Ganino especially enjoys working in. Many of the people he works for invite friends to see the work and he says 90 percent of his business comes from referrals.

"I love meeting people and hanging out with them," he said.

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