Instructables

HELP!!!! I need to rescue my mural!!!

My husband and I donated time to a friend's business to paint a huge mural on the interior of their restaurant. It looks like the business might have to shut down, and we are trying to figure out if there's any way to rescue pieces of the mural. It was painted with acrylic paint, over plaster, which is over brick. There are some portions painted on plywood -- those will be easy to save. It's the stuff painted on the plaster that I am concerned about. I have considered transfer medium as an option but I don't know what kind would work best, and I've also considered wall surgery, but it seems like the plaster would just crumble. HELP!!!! Link to pics of the mural below. It took FOREVER to do.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thetomatopizza/sets/72157629193389337/

it MIGHT work to get the plaster off if you can figure out how the plaster is attached to the brik. plaster won't just hang on to the brick by itself so there's probably some wire lathe between the brick and the plaster. what i would do is brace some plywood over the plaster wall (the smoother the better, maybe put some cardboard over the plywood to keep it from scratching the plaster) then do some exploration around the edges...preferably somewhere that doesn't have any art on it. the lathe should be consistent across the whole wall. basically if you can disconnect the lathe from the brick the plaster sheet should just fall away from the wall. which is where the plywood comes in...it would be there to support the plaster as it releases from the wall and you can just lay the plywood down.
lemonie1 year ago
If you donated the piece to the business, it was of that time. Let it go with the business, it becomes a nostalgic "lost work" rather than a museum-piece out of it's place & time.

L
KedaDibandion (author)  lemonie1 year ago
Yeah "don't try" doesn't really jive with my life philosophy.
I think that may be explained by your past being more important to you than mine is?

L
I think that may be explained by your past being more important to you than mine is?

L
As the kind of person I am, I can understand that and know how you feel. But as a signwriter, I would let it go. Just take lots of pictures.
It's in the nature of murals that they don't live forever.

Sorry that I can't give you any practical tips here.
Hey, if the business does close, they could have a "farewell" party, and get lots of friends / ex-customers etc to have their photos taken with the mural, and to take photos of the mural as a whole, or of their favourite parts.

Put all those images together into an album, or single large image (like a digital collage) as a whole new work of art, commemorating the lost image.

Put enough images together, they can make a 123D Catch thingie, for anybody to enjoy or even recreate.
Now those are some nice ideas!
One tries...
Thrasym1 year ago
Sometimes you just have to let them go. Artists often feel attached to their creations but we all have to learn to cope with the loss.

I'd suggest making sure you've got some good photos before you attempt to reclaim the mural (or the new occupant paints over it). Consider, destroying the walls may significantly impact the resale value or your friends security deposit.
Kiteman1 year ago
Is there something transparent you coould glue or paint over the surface of the mural, then sort of saw awat at the plaster behind to free up the actual image?

I'm thinking something like sticky-backed plastic, or some sort of magical resin you can paint onto the surface to make it all one sheet you can peel off?

KedaDibandion (author)  Kiteman1 year ago
That's what I'm hoping to identify. I know Omni Gel is a transfer medium for print, I'm hoping I can find something that would work for acrylics.
Oh, have you thought about asking an art gallery or museum? They might have experts that do this sort of thing every day.
There's a good video at this website about the conservation and removal of large murals and paintings. It doesn't look like a very easy (or cheap) process.

You may also want to read the information at The American Institute for Conservation, and consider hiring a conservator as a consultant. That way you do all the work, they just lend their expertise and advise on materials and techniques to use before you start.