We’re shining a spotlight on our Cleveland roots in a colorful way! Sherwin-Williams partnered with local muralist, Evan Laisure, to commission a mural at our newly opened Ohio City store. Get to know more about Evan’s work and how murals make the community a shade brighter in our Q&A.
Q: Thanks for helping us bring a colorful new look to our Ohio City neighborhood! Can you tell our readers a little bit about you and how you got started in creating murals?
A: Thank you for providing me with the opportunity! My name’s Evan Laisure and I reside in Lakewood, Ohio. I graduated from Kent State University with a degree in Visual Communication Design. I have been painting murals throughout this area for the last six years as well as running my silkscreen printshop, engaging in a variety of freelance work and vending in my food truck. I got started in murals through practicing on old drop cloths and sheets of drywall until I was confident enough to paint my first wall.
Q: Why are murals so important to communities?
A: Public art is important to communities for a variety of reasons, but I have always particularly loved how the people who live closest to the artwork admire it. Murals have a way of improving the unassuming moments in a community like on a daily drive to work, or when taking a daily dog walking route. Hearing neighbors get excited about how their routines were improved is one of the most rewarding feelings a muralist can get.
Q: Our hometown is full of inspiration – can you share how Cleveland inspired your final design?
A: The goal for the artwork was to create a “From Cleveland” mural without focusing too much on any one part of the city. My conceptual approach was to make a giant deconstructed postcard featuring a variety of different Cleveland landmarks. These all are contained within a stamp-like, wavy border reminiscent of the postal service. There was a variety of subject matter to choose from, but we focused on elements that were most recognizable and unanimously admired.
Q: Can you walk us through the mural planning process from start to finish? And do you have a favorite part?
A: My process for painting murals always starts with priming the wall, so I can ensure maximum adhesion between the surface and the paint. Next, I trace the design in small sections using a projector for the imagery, and the traditional chalk pounce method for the typography. The stamp-like framework of this mural was traced using a small cardboard template to ensure that the lines were properly oriented and parallel with each other.
Once the tracing is done, I start with painting each of the individual colors first, and then come through with the navy background so that we can clean up any inconsistencies along the way. Lastly, I coat the entire mural in an anti-graffiti coating to ensure its protection and longevity. This mural took a total of 433 hours to trace and paint. My favorite part of the mural process is painting the dark color at the end because it reveals the greater image that the color sections are a part of.
Q: What was the color selection process like for this mural? And what kinds of colors helped bring it to life?
A: My process for color selection starts with comparing the artwork on screen with paint swatches in hand. Next, I paint a small section of the wall to see how the colors look next to each other after they dry and spend a day in the sun. The style of my artwork often incorporates a dark background, which means that the colors have to be extra light so that we have maximum contrast.
Q: What’s your favorite Sherwin-Williams color to use in your art?
A: Oh, no question, it’s Naval.
Q: Do you have a dream location where you’d love to paint a mural?
A: My dream location to paint a mural would be on a skyscraper or water tower.
Feeling inspired? Channel that color inspiration into your next DIY with some of our favorite painting projects that help you create a special wall of your own at home.