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10 Steps to Commissioning Your Dream Mural

A vibrant and colorful abstract line-form mural with large white dove with wings spread created on an underpass wall in aerosol paint.
Underpass Mural for the City of Medford Parks and Rec by Bay Area Artist, John Osgood

Commissioning a mural artist requires careful planning and communication to ensure a successful project that you will be happy with for many years to come. Clients may feel unsure or overwhelmed at the idea of getting started and maybe even a little nervous about reaching out to talk with an artist they are not already acquainted with. However, if you take time to prepare for your project, you will be on your way to a successful and beautiful collaborative work of art.

Here are 10 important steps to take when commissioning a mural artist:

1. Define Your Vision and Objectives: Before approaching a mural artist, have a clear vision of what you want the mural to achieve. Define the purpose, theme, style, and specific objectives of the artwork. Consider the location, audience, and any relevant messages you want the mural to convey. Go online and find examples of murals that resonate with your vision.

2. Research and Select the Right Artist: Look for mural artists with a portfolio that aligns with your vision and style preferences. Research their past projects, expertise, and client reviews. Choose an artist who has experience in the type of mural you are looking for and can deliver the level of quality you expect. For example, an abstract artist is not going to be your best choice for a mural design that is expected to be photo realistic.

3. Set-up a Meeting or Consultation: Arrange a meeting or consultation with the artist to discuss your vision, objectives, and any specific requirements. Share any reference images, color schemes, or design ideas you may have. This step is important for ensuring that the artist understands your vision and can provide input and suggestions based on their expertise. Most mural artists are happy to arrange a free consultation for this purpose. In addition, be sure to provide the wall dimensions, texture of wall and whether the mural requires any special equipment to reach it.

4. Request a Proposal and Contract: Ask the artist to provide a proposal that includes the scope of work, project timeline, estimated cost, wall prep, final protective clear coat and any other relevant terms and conditions. Once you agree on the terms, sign a written contract that outlines the responsibilities of both parties, payment terms, copyright ownership, and other important details. A contract is very important to both client and artist to ensure that everyone is on the same page before the project gets underway.

5. Obtain Necessary Permissions: Depending on the location and nature of the mural, you may need to obtain permission from property owners, local authorities, or other relevant stakeholders. Ensure that all necessary permits are acquired before starting the project to avoid any legal issues. Some cities require permits for any type of exterior painting, even if you are the property owner, so be sure to double check with your local city planning department.

6. Set a Realistic Budget: Discuss the budget with the mural artist and be transparent about any financial constraints. A realistic budget will help the artist plan the project accordingly and avoid surprises during the process. Also be sure to get clarification with the artist about how their pricing structure works. Some artists charge by the hour and others charge by the wall size and amount of detailing required for the design.

7. Collaborate on the Design: Work closely with the artist during the design phase. Review sketches, concepts, and mock-ups to ensure that the artwork aligns with your vision and meets your expectations. Be aware that a mock-up is not going to be an exact replica of the mural because digital images translate differently onto the wall depending on the medium the artist is using and the texture of the wall. Provide constructive feedback and be open to suggestions from the artist. The artist can guide you on the best design composition, color scheme and other details that you may not be thinking about.

8. Prepare the Site: Ensure that the wall or surface where the mural will be painted is properly prepared. The surface should be clean, smooth, and free from any damages or debris that could affect the mural's adhesion and appearance. Talk to the artist about the best recommendations for the type of wall you are working with (i.e. cement vs. wood vs. brick). Some mural artists are willing to do the prep work and will give you an estimate of that added cost.

9. Monitor the Progress: Stay in regular communication with the artist throughout the project. Periodically visit the site to review the progress and address any concerns promptly. Don’t wait until the mural is finished and then request the artist to repaint a whole section.

10. Final Inspection/Approval & Clear Coat: Once the mural is completed, conduct a final inspection with the artist to ensure that the artwork meets the agreed-upon standards. Provide feedback and request any necessary touch-ups if needed. Once the mural is approved, a final protective clear coat can be applied. There are several types of clear coat that can be used depending on the type of medium used and whether it is exterior or interior. Be sure to discuss this with the artist before you begin the project as this is an added cost, but well worth preserving the color integrity and longevity of the mural.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth and successful collaboration with the mural artist, resulting in a stunning artwork that fulfills your vision and objectives. If you'd like to learn more about the creative process behind the mural or discuss future artistic collaborations, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

California Mural Art Call or text: (916) 550-3466 Email:


About California Mural Art

Based in Danville, CA, California Mural Art has been a trusted name in the mural art industry since 2016 with 13+years of mural experience. We specialize in creating stunning interior and exterior wall murals and commissioned paintings that grace the landscapes up and down the West Coast. With a passion for artistic expression and a commitment to delivering exceptional craftsmanship, our team has been commissioned by arts organizations, cities, corporations, local businesses and residential clients. We take great pride in our ability to translate the unique visions and aspirations of our clients into breathtaking works of art. From the initial concept and design phase to the final brushstroke, we collaborate closely with our clients to ensure their complete satisfaction. We believe that the success of a mural lies not only in its visual appeal but also in its ability to resonate with its surroundings and engage the local community.


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