Learning to Make a Mural

by: Izzy Burkhardt

Professor Antonio Martinez with students in his mural class.
Professor Antonio Martinez with students in his mural class.

At SIU, I have had the privilege of exploring various mediums such as ceramics, aluminum casting, printmaking, and now mural creation. Learning how to mix colors and apply them to large surfaces has been an invaluable skill to acquire.

But Professor Antonio Jacob Martinez has not only taught us the physical process of painting a mural but also the business aspect. We have met with local businesses interested in commissioning murals from our class, discussing requirements and restrictions. There’s so much more to consider during this process than meets the eye like budgeting and time constraints. 

Izzy Burkhardt painting a mural in Life Sciences room 460.
Izzy Burkhardt painting a mural in Life Sciences room 460.

We have been working all semester with the owner of a local business owner to create a mural on the side of the building Carbondeli’s is in. First, we met with him and talked about ideas, he wanted something to celebrate Carbondale and not necessarily just the history of Carbondale. We got to work creating designs with one another to submit. Although we haven’t begun working on it yet, our next step after design approval and ensuring the surface is properly primed would be to project the design on the side of the building at night to trace with charcoal. This process is beyond tedious trying to make sure everything is lined up correctly, but the tracing part doesn’t take long at all. We would then start mixing paint to color match and applying it to the wall. 

Students painting a mural with the design projected onto the wall.
Students painting a mural.

This semester I also was presented with the opportunity to help with the Covid memorial mural on the side of the Student Health Center. It is rewarding to participate in painting these murals, especially ones that are on SIU buildings. I hope one day to visit SIU and get to show my friends/family the murals I participated in making. This class is truly setting us up to become mural artists on our own. I feel honored for this opportunity to leave a lasting mark on a place that has shaped my artistic journey and given me so much.

Want to learn how to do this? Check out SIU’s art program.

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