Woman painting

Four Muralists to Follow for Major Inspiration

by Dean Jeffery

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve probably noticed the increasing number of vibrant murals popping up on and inside of buildings throughout the U.S. From corporate cafeterias to independent restaurants, the resurgence of murals in public spaces has been a major source of inspiration for us over the years and we wanted to share a few of our favorite artists to follow just in case working from home has you lacking a little creative energy. 

Here are four artists that you should know:

Laura Berger is a multimedia artist that we’ve been a fan of for a few years. Her work is empowering and strong and often explores the theme of connectivity. Her interpretation of the human form has both confidence and vulnerability and her use of rich colors and strong graphic elements feels grounded yet hopeful. 

Laura-Berger-3"Lifiting the Sun" at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs

You can find her on insta at @lauraberger or shop her site, https://www.lauraberger.com/

EmilyEisenhart-Studio-PC-MaxKellyPhoto credit: Max Kelly

Emily Eisenhart is a multidisciplinary artist and designer based in Austin, Texas. Our favorite thing about Emily’s art is the sense of joy that it evokes. Her use of color is so playful and imaginative that it’s nearly impossible not to smile when you walk by one of her large scale murals. She recently teamed up with Madewell to complete a two story, 3600 sq ft mural in NYC that caught our eye.

EmilyEisenhart-Studio-PC-MaxKelly-1Emily in front of the mural she painted for Madewell. Photo credit: Colossal Media

GRCC: You’ve worked with some pretty awesome brands including Madewell, Outdoor Voices, and even Starbucks.  When it comes to these large scale murals, like the one you did for Madewell, where do you find inspiration and how much does the context of the environment or space you’re painting inform your overall design? 

Emily Eisenhart: The context of the environment or space in which a mural will live greatly impacts the overall design. Murals are perhaps my favorite thing to paint because of the opportunity to cleverly play with architecture and the built environment. Site-specific murals take into account the walls, angles, shadows, lighting, foot traffic patterns, and the audience. This might mean a composition that travels across a wall and bounces up to a soffit, or a line that zig zags up a column and sneaks behind a door only to change color once you enter the new space. A memorable mural from last year was a powder room in a private residence here in Austin, where I painted a tribute to native Texas plants and the surrounding landscape. On the sliding door, I painted a half sun, but as you slide the door close, the half sun slowly progresses into a full, bright orange sun, delighting the viewer with an unexpected transformation of the art as they enclose themselves in the room. 

Wired as an anthropologist, I approach many of my projects as an ethnographer, weaving inquiry and research into inspiration for motifs and color palette development. When I begin any new project—whether it’s a neighborhood mural for Starbucks, a custom print for the W Hotel wallpaper, or a book cover celebrating youth writers, I dive deep into the culture of a community and place, working to create dynamic, meaningful compositions. My abstract, stylized work is heavily inspired by the cultures, textures, patterns, shapes, and natural colors that surround me. Most of my murals are directly inspired by the people and places in which a mural will ultimately live—I strive to create work that honors and celebrates a city, its history, and its residents. I believe that public artwork, particularly large-scale murals, have the unique ability to engage people from far and wide in what makes a community and city special, resonating with them on a very personal level. A work of public art is powerful when it encourages passersby to pause and ponder, sparking joy and curiosity. 

Interested in learning more about Emily, follow her on IG (@emily.eisenhart) can see more of her work here.

BettyLarkinCoffee and Tea Collective. Image Credit: Philip Tran

Janie Rochfort has made quite the name for herself over the last few years in the world of interiors and mural design. She’s worked with lululemon, Lonny Mag, and Marie Forleo to bring her inspiring and bold designs to life.

BettyLarkin2Left: Iceskimo, interior design and mural by Betty Larkin featuring our Sherman chair and Hurdle stools.  Image credit: Haley Hill

We first came across her work when we discovered this stunning salon, but since then we’ve noticed her murals popping up in restaurants and public spaces throughout the U.S., most recently in Iceskimo, which she designed (shameless plug, it also has our furniture and a full install story is coming soon). The dreamy mural features creamy neutrals and a rich teal color which is complimented by the furniture in glossy whites and warm wood tones. 

Swoon over her work on Instagram @betty_larkin or her website, bettylarkin.com

EllenRutt2Image credit: Ellen Rutt 

Ellen Rutt is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Detroit, Michigan, and has even done quite a few murals in our hometown of Grand Rapids. She uses overlapping colors, shapes, and patterns to explore the idea of inclusivity and diversity.

Rutt recently described her work in an interview with Shinola, “I’m interested in playfulness as a vehicle for authenticity and using humor to help soften communication around cultural and political belief systems."

See more of Ellen's work in IG at @ellenrutt.

The role murals play in our communities go beyond beautification, they offer a sense of belonging, inclusivity, and creativity. The same can be said about murals in our restaurants and office spaces.

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