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08th-Aug-2014

Mural: Relatively effective artwork

By

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :
Basically a mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.
Mural covers a variety of techniques including fresco, encaustic, mosaic, stained glass and photography. In modern times, the term Mural became more well-known with the Mexican muralista art movement. There are many different styles and techniques. The best-known is probably fresco, which uses water-soluble paints with a damp lime wash, a rapid use of the resulting mixture over a large surface, and often in parts. The colours lighten as they dry.
The type of mural of most interest to contemporary artists is either painting on canvas, which is then attached to a wall or painting directly on the wall surface itself.
Some wall paintings are painted on large canvases, which are then attached to the wall. Whether these works can be accurately called Murals is a subject of some controversy in the art world, but the technique has been in common use since the late 19th century.
According to the art historians, many ancient murals have survived in Egyptian tombs, the Minoan palaces and in Pompeii.
Murals today are painted in a variety of ways, using oil or water-based media. The styles can vary from abstract to trompe-l’œil (a French term for ‘fool’ or ‘trick the eye’). Initiated by the works of mural artists like Graham Rust or Rainer Maria Latzke in the 1980s, trompe-l’oeil painting has experienced a renaissance in private and public buildings in Europe.
Today, the beauty of a wall mural has become much more widely available with a technique whereby a painting or photographic image is transferred to poster paper or canvas which is then pasted to a wall surface to give the effect of either a hand-painted mural or realistic scene.
Murals are important in that they bring art into the public sphere. Due to the size, cost and work involved in creating a mural, muralists must often be commissioned by a sponsor.
Murals can be a relatively effective tool of social emancipation or achieving a political goal. Often, the visual effects are an enticement to attract public attention to social issues. State-sponsored public art expressions, particularly murals, are often used by totalitarian regimes as a tool of mass-control and propaganda. However, despite the propagandist character of that works, some of them still have an artistic value.
Often it is the local government or a business, but many murals have been paid for with grants of patronage. For artists, their work gets a wide audience who otherwise might not set foot in an art gallery. A city benefits by the beauty of a work of art.
Murals can have a dramatic impact whether consciously or subconsciously on the attitudes of passers by, when they are added to areas where people live and work. It can also be argued that the presence of large, public murals can add aesthetic improvement to the daily lives of residents or that of employees at a corporate venue.
The world-famous murals can be found in Mexico, New York, Philadelphia, Belfast, Derry, Los Angeles, Nicaragua, Cuba and in India. The Indian state Kerala has exclusive murals. These Kerala mural painting are on walls of Hindu temples. They can be dated from 9th century AD.
The San Bartolo murals of the Maya civilization in Guatemala are the oldest example of this art in Mesoamerica and are dated at 300 BC.
Whether the mural will be indoor or outdoor is a major factor that will affect the artist's methodology.
For an outdoor mural, an artist will need to consider the mural’s potential exposure to light or weather and prepare and protect the substrate accordingly. For an indoor mural, exposure to chemicals, humidity, contact or abrasion needs to be considered and accounted for. Some colours are known to fade rapidly and may only be suitable for indoor applications.
Climate will greatly affect outdoor mural work.
Climate changes can affect the drying rate of materials as well as the mural's exposure to certain types of weather and extreme temperatures.
A mural is intended to enhance an environment, not clash with it or degrade it. If improperly done, the ‘work of art’ can quickly become an eyesore. Many mural sponsors are now requesting that artists guarantee their murals for a certain period (usually 10-20 years). These agreements can be legally binding, which means artists will be held liable for problems occurring with the mural during this time.
Careful planning, thoughtful preparation, and use of quality materials will help finished murals to have an impact that matches the artist's good intentions. n