Expert Advice: Selecting & Commissioning a Mural Artist with Sam Simon

The mural was the topic of the week last week during #DesignLUX with Laurie Laizure from Customized Walls.  Although the conversation focused predominately on the growing popularity of digitally printed murals and one-off wallcoverings it got us thinking.... What about those one-of-a-kind, bespoke murals painted just for that special room?  It can't be easy to just go gung ho when one is not faced with a  catalog of pre-designed images.

So we asked Sam Simon, a New York based muralist specializing in whimsical bespoke murals for the very very special child, what one should consider when making the choice to go bespoke. 


DCM: When commissioning a bespoke mural, what should the commissioner look for in their selected artist?

SS: I think the main elements that a client should look for in a muralist is the combination of good craftsmanship, skill, and style.  All three elements are equally important.  A mural can be a bit more complex than a traditional stretched canvas piece of artwork that hangs above a sofa...because the mural is not only the artwork, it is also the wall treatment.  I see many murals where the artist is clearly a gifted painted and can render anything, but their eye for color and composition is not strong.  A good muralist will show you spaces where their work looks at home with all of the other decorations.

DMC: What elements are important in a room when creating a custom mural?

SS: I consider all elements of the space, from scale of the walls to the placement of the furniture and the light in the room.  For example, if you create a mural of a 10 foot tree and the bottom half is blocked by a 30" tall dresser, the piece looks cut off or ill thought out.  My goal is to use my artwork to bring every space I work within to a higher level of beauty, function, and design.  My believe is the work should read well if you are viewing it from across the space or 12 inches from the wall.

image courtesy Sam Simon

image courtesy Sam Simon

Nursery in Short Hills, New Jersey, courtesy Sam Simon

Nursery in Short Hills, New Jersey, courtesy Sam Simon

DCM: What do artists look for from their clients in order to produce the perfect end result?

SS: A good sense of style, communication, and trust is key.  It is best if client and artist are on the same page with the art direction for the piece.  I like to set up a basic visual recipe at the onset of a project.  As the project progresses, it's great to have a little freedom to develop the look organically as the artwork comes to life.  Mind you, this does not mean the look changes drastically, it just means [that] all the micro-managing should be done by the artist or a piece can come out looking stiff.  I see myself as kind of a visual chef and it should be up to the chef if the curried vegetable soup needs more salt, pepper, or sweetness.

Gramercy Park Nursery, photo by Mae Lee Hacking, courtesy Sam Simon

Gramercy Park Nursery, photo by Mae Lee Hacking, courtesy Sam Simon

image courtesy Sam Simon

image courtesy Sam Simon

Sam Simon | www.samsimonprojects.com
Sam Simon is a New York based artist and designer specializing in beautiful murals and paintings on canvas with a whimsical edge.  Inspired by mid-century books of illustration, Dolly Parton, Japanese super cute, Art Deco and music, Sam's works have become cherished the world over for their ability to capture a dreamy moment of time. In addition to his works of art, Sam launched a line of limited edition artworks in 2007 followed by a line of lighting in 2009.  He is also a writer for children's design site Project Nursery.


DCoopMedia did not receive compensation for this post.  Photos courtesy Sam Simon and cannot be used without permission.