Home Sweet Mural

Journal Inquirer by Doreen Guarino - 02/24/2006

worldmap.jpgFor Patrick Ganino, one of the ways to completely transform a room while adding drama, color, style, and even whimsy is with a custom-made mural.

Whether it be on a wall, a ceiling, or the exterior of a building, a mural can breathe new life into an otherwise drab space and transport you to another world

Ganino should know. The 29-year-old father of three young children is an expert muralist, magically transforming rooms in homes, offices, and restaurants using imagination, brush strokes, and a rainbow of latex paint colors.

Ganino is the owner of Creative Evolution in Madison, a decorative painting company he founded in 1999, and he is its much sought-after muralist.

With a waiting list for his services that is three to four months long, Ganino has found a lucrative business in hand-painting a variety of murals at homes and businesses throughout the state and beyond.

For Ganino, who once dabbled in fine art oil painting, being a muralist shows off his artistic talent and brings rewards in a different way.

While an oil painter creates a work over time and tries to find a buyer, being a muralist means clients find Ganino first, then he goes to work bringing their ideas to life, efficiently and quickly. His motto is "If you can imagine it, I can paint it."

Over the years he’s created murals that have ranged from 20- to 150-feet long. The cost has ranged from as little as $500 to as much as $45,000 depending on the mural’s size and complexity.

He credits the popularity of home decorating shows on such channels as the HGTV network with creating a climate where home and business owners are willing to make a mural the centerpiece of a room’s decor.

He says that while older adults might gravitate toward wallpaper to spruce up an area, his generation of consumers love vibrant colors and themes and are more likely to seek out a mural.

In his years as a muralist Ganino has undertaken projects where he’s painted such subjects as the Eiffel Tower on a living room wall, a detailed map of the world on a ceiling, and landscapes showcasing the Italian countryside.

He’s used Trompe L’Oeil, a painting effect that creates the illusion of depth, to create murals featuring such scenes as a faux window with a realistic waterfront view and a lifelike, recessed wine niche complete with wine bottles.

And Ganino is even sharing the techniques he’s mastered. He’s opened the Institute of Decorative Painting at Creative Evolution, where instructors teach how to create murals, Trompe L ‘Oeil, and faux finishes along with how to start your own decorative painting business.

At Murals Your Way, a Minnesota-based company, President and Co-owner Todd Imholte touts the motto: "If you can imagine it, we can print it."

Murals Your Way is among the many companies that can be found on the Internet offering an alternative to having an artist hand-paint your mural.

Murals Your Way sells ready-made murals that can be shipped anywhere in the world and are put up on a wall like wallpaper. The murals are printed on fabric-backed vinyl wall coverings.

With 4,000 images on its Web site, Murals Your Way is sure to have something to fit any decor. Its murals have already been featured on such shows as ABC’s "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and Bravo’s "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

And the company goes a step further, offering a service where you can submit a photograph, slide, negative, and even original paintings or artwork that can then be made into a mural.

Imholte says it all relates to customers wanting something personal.

"There’s been a trend in personalization in murals," Imholte says. "What’s happening is people are wanting to create a mood or a scene in a room, since we’re spending more and more time at home."

Murals at Murals Your Way range from small, which are 6-feet long by 4-feet high, to large, which are 13-feet wide by 8-feet high, but the company can also custom size a mural to your specifications.

One homeowner once had Murals Your Way do a replica of the Sistine Chapel, which was then installed on the ceiling of the homeowner’s dining room, Imholte says.

The ready-made murals sold by Murals Your Way range from $200 to about $1,000. Imholte says his company offers an affordable way for the average person to enjoy a mural if you can’t afford a hand-painted one.

For more information, you can call Murals Your Way at 1-888-295-9764 or visit the company’s Web site at www.muralsyourway.com

For more information about Creative Evolution, contact Ganino at 1-866-775-FAUX or 1-203-421-8423. You can also visit his company’s Web site at www.creativeevolution.net

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