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An Interview with MMW Piano Teacher & Artist Madison Archer

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What was your "Design Phase" of your process?

Working with Kim, Shelley, and Jess, we decided on a minimalist aesthetic for the mural with imagery of the Sonoran desert of Phoenix as well as some local landmarks. We really wanted to reflect our local community in the art, so I drew some desert plants and animals with musical elements hidden in the design. I started the rough draft using a digital art program called Clip Studio Paint. This allowed me to draw out each individual plant and animal on separate layers so I could arrange them in whichever order I needed.

How long does painting a mural take?

This project ended up stretched out over the first week of the new year. I was able to get the first two layers of paint down on Sunday afternoon using a projector to enlarge my design onto the wall for me to paint. For the rest of the week, I spent a couple hours before teaching each day with a small brush perfecting and smoothing out all the edges.

What kind of paint do you use?

For the minimalist design of this mural,  I really only needed two colors: charcoal gray and off-white. I was able to use regular interior paint from Dunn Edwards since all that I needed was to layer two separate colors. For designs with 4+ colors or more realistic details, acrylic paints would be ideal for creating shadows and depth perception.

How should the wall be prepared?

Depending on how dark or light the color palette of a design is, it’s important to prep a mural wall with a good coat of a neutral color; usually white, beige, or gray.

If the design is more simplistic in nature like this one, I usually start with the predominant color as the base coat and then stencil in the rest.

Tell us about your art experience

I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember. I got my start in sketching first then I moved on to digital art as well as sculpting, painting, and other physical mediums. I’m mostly self-trained but have taken some professional courses during college to improve on what I know. I’ve also been teaching art camps here at MMW during the summers with a wide variety of art projects ranging from shading and texture drawing to paint pouring and mosaics.

What if someone reading this wants you to design & paint mural?

Feel free to contact me if you would like a mural painted! I usually design the entire project digitally before the full painting which is more of a consultation period for your design. The amount of painting time is about 20+ hours depending on the complexity of the design. I pay great attention to detail so please know that I’ll be a bit meticulous with the final product!

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